Grapes are a sweet and delicious fruit that many enjoy in a fruit salad or just as a juicy snack. However, grapes are often a concern for breastfeeding women. So let’s talk about it!
Overall, eating grapes while breastfeeding is safe and healthy in moderate amounts. Grapes have many health benefits as well, especially for those breastfeeding.
Let’s discuss more information regarding grape consumption during lactation, including resveratrol, grape juice, grape seed extract, and more! Read on!
Are Grapes Safe to Eat While Breastfeeding?
To begin, grapes are safe to eat while breastfeeding. However, the primary concern of breastfeeding women when it comes to grapes is the resveratrol content.
Resveratrol is a species of antioxidant. Antioxidants are compounds that protect cells from damage from free radicals. Free radicals are harmful and unstable compounds that are naturally produced in the body (source: National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health [NCCIH]).
Therefore, a balance of antioxidants in the diet and free radicals in the body can help combat oxidative stress and inflammation.
However, the concern with resveratrol likely stems from the advice to take caution during pregnancy. A study involving non-human primates found that supplemented resveratrol had an alarming effect on the development of the baby’s pancreas (source: FASEB Journal).
Therefore, researchers are beginning to recommend avoiding resveratrol supplementation during pregnancy.
On the other hand, while breastfeeding, resveratrol is relatively free of harmful effects (source: National Library of Medicine). However, there is no research on if resveratrol is excreted into the mother’s breast milk. Therefore, recommendations are to avoid resveratrol supplements and red wine as a source of resveratrol.
Therefore, eating grapes in moderation is safe for breastfeeding women.
As always, make sure to thoroughly wash your grapes under clean and running water to reduce the risk of any foodborne illness.
In addition to the antioxidant content, grapes are a great source of fiber, which supports a healthy digestive system, blood sugar control, heart health, and more (source: Mayo Clinic).
Grapes are rich in many essential vitamins and minerals, including vitamin K and B vitamins, such as thiamine.
Is Grape Juice OK When Breastfeeding?
Consuming grape juice while breastfeeding is okay during lactation in small amounts, such as a four-ounce serving. In fact, a four-ounce serving of any fruit juice counts as up to one serving of fruit in your daily recommendation of five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables daily.
However, grape juice does not contain the dietary fiber that is present in the whole fruit. The fiber helps to slow down the digestion and absorption of the sugars in the juice. Therefore, opt for whole grapes instead.
However, if you do drink juice, choose one that is 100% juice and low in added sugars.
Additionally, many breastfeeding women wonder if the same rules apply to juice when pregnant, such as avoiding fresh juice from juice stands or health food stores (found in the refrigerator section).
In breastfeeding, it is okay to consume unpasteurized versions, unlike in pregnancy. It will not affect your baby but can still increase the risk of foodborne illness for you.
Can I Have Grape Seed Extract When Breastfeeding?
While unlikely to cause any harm, the grape seed extract is a dietary supplement that should be avoided for consumption during pregnancy. This product is a derivative of grape seeds that are thought to reduce inflammation, promote wound healing, and more.
However, while it appears to be safe in general when consumed in moderate amounts, it has not been studied in all health conditions (source: NCCIH).
Additionally, since this is a dietary supplement, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate dietary supplements before they hit the market and appear on your grocery store or health food store shelves.
The FDA does monitor for adverse effects after the fact. However, since you could get the same potential health benefits from consuming whole grapes, it is best to avoid this supplement.
If you do decide to take a dietary supplement, such as grape seed extract, while breastfeeding, make sure to speak with your physician first.
In conclusion, I hope this article helped break down the facts and fiction behind eating grapes during breastfeeding.