When you’re pregnant, you’ll no doubt want to increase your intake of fruit and veggies. So are kiwi fruits a good choice, are they safe, and what are the benefits?
The good news is that kiwi is safe while you’re pregnant, and has many nutrients that pregnant women need. In fact, kiwis come with lots of benefits such as helping with constipation and are also a great source of vitamin C.
I’ll tell you all you need to know about the different kinds of kiwis, the benefits, and how to enjoy them safely and in healthy ways during your pregnancy.
The Benefits of Eating Kiwi Fruit During Pregnancy
There are lots of benefits when it comes to eating kiwi fruit during pregnancy!
Kiwis are an excellent source of vitamin C (source: Nutrition Data). Ensuring you’re consuming enough vitamin C can help prevent anemia (Source: CSR). This is believed to be because vitamin C goes hand in hand with helping to absorb iron.
Consuming too little and too much vitamin C has been linked with congenital malformations (source: nutrients). Vitamin C is important to developing your growing baby’s teeth and bones while helping to produce your own immunity, producing collagen and wound repair.
Kiwi’s are also a good source of vitamin K which is associated with bone development and the formation of protein in the liver while you’re expecting. Consuming too little of this vitamin has been tied with blood hemorrhages, this was especially noted in newborns (source: NHS).
Kiwis also contain a little folate (source: Nutrition Data). During pregnancy, folate is believed to help protect against premature birth. Folate can also lower the risk of fetal structural anomalies such as congenital heart defects, while also helping to maintain cell function and regular tissue growth (source: Obstetrics & Gynecology).
A 100 gram serving of kiwi has 83.1 grams of water. The amount of water you need to drink increases during pregnancy, and watery fruit like kiwis are helpful for accomplishing this. The increase is to support blood circulation for your baby (source: Journal of Perinatal Education).
While drinking extra water may be difficult for some women, water-dense foods are a great way to get extra liquids into your diet.
Some women suffer from high blood pressure during pregnancy. Chronic high blood pressure can reduce the number of nutrients and oxygen getting through to your baby which is linked to low birth weight.
One study found that when compared to eating one apple a day, eating three kiwis a day had a better impact on lowering blood pressure. This was due to a bioactive substance in kiwis (source: Blood Pressure). If you have high blood pressure, speak to your doctor first.
There are several kinds of kiwi, and they’re all safe when pregnant:
- Kiwifruit (Actinidia deliciosa) which is the common fuzzy kind in grocery stores
- Hardy kiwifruit which are green/yellow (Actinidia arguta)
- Super-hardy kiwifruit (Actinidia kolomikta),
- Kiwi (A. melanandra), and purple kiwi (A. purpurea)
Are Kiwi Fruits Safe for Pregnant Women to Eat?
Unless you have a kiwi allergy, kiwis are perfectly safe to eat when you’re pregnant. Kiwis can be enjoyed by themselves, in a homemade fruit salad, in a smoothie, or in a yogurt parfait with granola.
Keep in mind that some people who are allergic to pollen or latex find that they are also allergic to kiwis.
Good food safety should still be applied to kiwis. This means, washing them thoroughly before eating and removing any bits that are damaged or bruised. Try to eat fruit as fresh as possible. Pre-cut kiwis or pre-made salad with kiwis are not advised while you’re expecting.
This is because salads like this are easily contaminated. If even one piece of fruit with bacteria on the skin is not washed properly, then the knife can transfer bacteria to the rest of the salad (source: PLoS One). Several cases of salmonella have been linked with pre-cut fruit (source: FDA).
All parts of the kiwi are edible, including the skin and seeds, though many choose not to eat the skin. In fact, much of the fiber content is in the seeds and skin. The seeds are also a source of antioxidants (source: Journal of Food Lipids).
Can Kiwi Fruit Help with Pregnancy Constipation?
One of the most uncomfortable parts of pregnancy is constipation. Kiwis are said to help with this, and there’s a lot of reasons why this might be the case.
One study on adults with irritable bowel syndrome, which causes conspiration, found that consuming two green kiwis a day for a four-week period helped. Those who ate kiwis noted a shorter colon transit time, increased defecation frequency, and improved bowel function (source: HEC Press).
Another study, based on supplements derived from kiwis, found that participants increased their bowel movements per day (source: Neurogastroenterology & Motility).
One of the reasons kiwis help with constipation is because of the fiber content. One kiwi contains approximately 2.3 grams of fiber (source: Nutrition Data). Kiwi also contains actinidin. Actinidin is an enzyme suspected to help improve bowel movement and gut motility (source: Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition).
Therefore if you are suffering from pregnancy-related constipation and you enjoy kiwis, then it’s worth a try to see if this might be a natural solution for you. For more on this, check out our list of fiber-rich foods for pregnancy.
Some ideas on enjoying kiwi in healthy ways when you’re pregnant
- Chopped kiwi over yogurt and sprinkled with chopped nuts. Want to know which yogurt is best for pregnancy? Check out our guide.
- As a fruity topping for your cottage cheese.
- In a fruit smoothie (kiwis blend really well)
- Sliced kiwi over top of salads add flavor and color.
- Sliced kiwi over vanilla ice cream (better than syrup because of all the vitamin C!) though always choose pasteurized ice cream.
I hope you found this guide helpful for enjoying kiwi while pregnant and enjoy its many benefits!