Sticking to a pregnancy diet can be challenging, especially if you’re unsure which foods are safe for you and your baby. Fortunately, many wholesome fruits and vegetables are perfectly safe to eat during pregnancy. But is dragon fruit one of them?
Eating small servings of dragon fruit during pregnancy is safe. Dragon fruit is rich in carbs and natural sugars, but it also contains micronutrients and antioxidants. In addition, it is fat-free, sodium-free, and cholesterol-free. Overall, it’s an excellent snack option during pregnancy.
This article will discuss the health benefits and potential risks of eating dragon fruit while expecting. You can use this information to make an informed decision about your diet and better understand your body’s nutritional needs during pregnancy.
Is Dragon Fruit Safe During Pregnancy?
So long as you’re not allergic to dragon fruit, it’s safe to consume during pregnancy. This tropical fruit doesn’t contain caffeine, saturated or unsaturated fats, and it’s rich in a variety of nutrients that pregnant women need to stay healthy.
Generally, most fruits and vegetables are safe to eat while pregnant. The primary caveat to this rule is unwashed produce. Raw fruits and vegetables can carry harmful bacteria or parasites like Toxoplasma gondii (source: FDA).
Unlike other fruits, the outer skin of the dragon fruit is discarded instead of eaten. Therefore, pregnant individuals don’t need to wash it before consuming the flesh inside. That said, it might be best to give it a quick wash to stay on the safe side.
It’s also worth noting that pre-cut fruit may be riskier than whole fruit that’s prepared at home. That’s because pre-cut fruit may be contaminated with harmful strains of bacteria, including salmonella (source: Consumer Reports).
As such, it’s better to purchase whole fruits, then wash and cut them at home. For more on this, see our guide to washing and prepping produce when you’re pregnant.
Still, dragon fruit doesn’t contain fats, sodium, or cholesterol (source: USDA FoodData Central). Consequently, this exotic fruit is a far healthier and safer pregnancy snack than potato chips, pretzels, or processed foods.
What Are the Benefits of Dragon Fruit in Pregnancy?
Eating dragon fruit during pregnancy could provide a small boost of iron, calcium, and antioxidants. The benefits of these elements include improved blood flow and blood oxygenation levels, improved fetal skeletal development, and a healthier immune system.
Eating dragon fruit while pregnant could be a beneficial decision. A single serving of it (approximately 3.5oz/100g) contains 0.74 mg of iron, 2.74% of the recommended daily intake (RDI) for pregnant mothers (source: National Institutes of Health).
Consuming plenty of iron while pregnant is essential. A woman’s blood volume increases during pregnancy, and iron ensures that this blood can carry oxygen to the developing fetus (source: American Heart Association).
Dragon fruit is also rich in calcium, another crucial nutrient needed during pregnancy. A serving of it contains about 18 mg of calcium, which is about 1.8% of the RDI for pregnant individuals (source: National Center for Biotechnology Information).
Remember, you need plenty amounts of calcium (about 1,000 mg or 0.035 oz per day) when pregnant, as calcium is crucial to your baby’s developing skeleton, teeth, and heart. Additionally, the body can absorb more calcium during the later stages of pregnancy, so it’s vital to ensure you’re consuming plenty of it.
Another potential benefit of consuming dragon fruit is a healthier immune system. It contains several antioxidants, including polyphenols, ascorbic acid, and betalains. These substances can combat oxidative stress, helping you stay healthy at a cellular level (source: Pharmacognosy Research).
Dragon fruit’s primary nutrient is magnesium. A serving of it contains approximately 40 mg of magnesium, which is about 10% of the RDI for pregnant women. Getting plenty of magnesium is critical for reducing premature labor risks and avoiding hypertension (sources: National Institutes of Health & Nutrition Reviews).
Are There Risks or Side Effects of Dragon Fruit During Pregnancy?
Too much of any food can result in adverse side effects or risks. When consuming dragon fruit while pregnant, it’s crucial to practice moderation. While it does contain several micronutrients and antioxidants, it’s also relatively high in sugar and carbohydrates.
To avoid blood sugar spikes, individuals with gestational diabetes will want to consume between two and four servings of fruit (3.5 oz/100 g per serving) each day (source: MedlinePlus).
It’s also crucial to diversify your fruit intake while pregnant, as each fruit provides a specific variety of micronutrients.
Consuming dragon fruit once per day is one of the safest ways to enjoy it while pregnant. Any more than that, and you may be increasing your risk of developing gestational diabetes, raising your blood sugar level, or missing out on other sources of essential nutrients and minerals.
Can Pregnant Women Have Dragon Fruit Juice?
Pregnant women can safely enjoy pasteurized dragon fruit juice, but they should avoid unpasteurized juice. Unpasteurized juice may contain harmful bacteria that can cause pregnant women to fall ill.
Dragon fruit juice is a thick, purple-pink liquid dotted with black seeds. Although it’s occasionally sold on its own, it’s more often found in mixed fruit juice blends. But can pregnant women safely drink dragon fruit juice?
The answer depends on whether the beverage is pasteurized, its additional ingredients, and its overall nutritional content.
Unpasteurized dragon fruit juice can be dangerous during pregnancy, as unpasteurized juices may contain harmful bacteria like Escherichia coli (source: FoodSafety.gov).
However, bacteria isn’t the only risk to consider.
Dragon fruit juice cocktails often contain added sugars, making them a poor choice for pregnant women, especially those with gestational diabetes. Another potential drawback is the lower fiber content. Fruit juices may contain some dietary fiber, but it’s often a far smaller percentage than the fiber consumed when eating whole fruits.
Pregnant women may want to make dragon fruit juice at home using a juicer. Homemade healthy fruit juice won’t contain added sugars or preservatives, making it an excellent alternative to store-bought juice blends.
Hopefully, this article has helped you make educated decisions about your nutrition and healthy diet during pregnancy. Be sure to explore our other articles on fruit – including our guide to the best fruits to eat when you’re pregnant, too.