Fresh and juicy, a bite of mango is all but enough to transport you straight to the tropics- a welcome feeling for many expecting mothers! Though mango has not been the center of any recent fruit recalls, is foodborne illness still something to consider?
Like many other fruits, mango is a deliciously safe and nutritious addition to your pregnancy diet. As always, food safety is a concern during pregnancy, meaning that thorough washing of fresh mango is important. Dried and frozen versions of mango are both safe and convenient alternatives to fresh fruit as well.
Beyond its delicious taste, mango has some surprising health and nutrition benefits, especially during pregnancy. I’ll break down how to safely eat mango while pregnant, as well as what nutrition benefits you can expect and some other ways to enjoy this tropical fruit.
Is Mango Good for Pregnancy? The Benefits Explained
Fruits are one of the most commonly craved foods during pregnancy, so it is no surprise that many women also report cravings for mangoes. By indulging in mango cravings you are also getting a good source of several important nutrients for pregnancy!
One cup of mango flesh meets 12% of your daily folate need (source: USDA). Folate is especially important during early pregnancy since folate plays a crucial role in the development of a baby’s nervous system and spinal cord (source: NIH).
In addition to the necessary nutrient folate, mangoes are also good sources of fiber and vitamin C. The same 1 cup serving of mango has around 3 grams of fiber, which promotes a healthy and regular digestive system (source: USDA). Many women complain of constipation during pregnancy, and enjoying mango is a delicious way to prevent this.
Not only will the vitamin C in mangoes help strengthen a mother’s immune system, which is naturally lowered during pregnancy, but is also necessary to support the baby’s overall growth and development (source: NHS, BMC Nutrition Journal).
Mangoes are not one size fits all. Many women have questions about any health differences between red, yellow, and green mangoes.
Red and yellow mangoes are the most common varieties sold in grocery stores. The different varieties are also grown in different regions across the world (source: National Mango Board). Red mangoes do tend to be much larger than yellow mangoes, but there are no significant differences in their nutrition or health benefits.
Unripe mangoes, typically called green mangoes, are covered more in-depth below.
Is Mango Safe During Pregnancy?
As a whole, mangoes are perfectly safe to enjoy throughout all trimesters of pregnancy (source: National Mango Board). As with most fruits and other produce, food safety is a concern during pregnancy. Mangoes are no exception.
Precut or sliced mango should be avoided, as should any fresh fruit cups or mixes that contain mango. When fruit is precut the risk of accidental foodborne illness increases. To help keep you and your baby safe, the best option is to buy whole mangoes and slice them yourself at home.
Keep in mind that even if you peel the outside of the mango, it should still be thoroughly washed before slicing to avoid any potential for cross-contamination.
Note: Check out our guide to washing fruits, vegetables, and other produce for more information.
Is Unripe (Green) Raw Mango Safe When Pregnant?
Unripe mango, commonly called green mango is both eaten on its own and used in Asian/Thai styles of cooking. In traditional medicine, green mango has been used as a treatment for GI upset and diarrhea.
Like ripe red and yellow mangoes, green mango is safe to eat, even during pregnancy. Because it is unripe, however, it can be tougher on the digestive system. As fruits ripen, their fibers soften. Since green mango is unripe, the fibers have not had this time to soften.
Occasionally, the skin of green mangoes is also eaten, which adds additional fiber. If your GI system tends to be sensitive to fiber, opt for mangoes that have had some time to ripen or test your tolerance with a small piece of green mango.
Whether you eat peeled or unpeeled green mangoes, be sure to thoroughly wash the skin before eating in order to remove any trace of bacteria.
Can I Drink Mango Juice During Pregnancy?
Along with cravings for mangoes, some women also want to drink mango juice. Many popular juice blends, such as Naked brand Mighty Mango and Minute Maid Mango Passionfruit, contain mango as well.
As with all juices, the main consideration when it comes to mango juice is food safety. Mango juice is safe to drink so long as you stick to pasteurized juices.
If you have gestational diabetes, be mindful of your portion size. Juices are digested and metabolized easily, and therefore can quickly raise blood sugar. It is still safe to drink mango juice even if you have diabetes, but consider having a smaller portion as part of a balanced meal or snack to help avoid a quick spike in blood sugar.
Is Mango Chutney or Pickle Pregnancy Safe?
Mango pickle is typically prepared with a mixture of different herbs and spices, including one spice that is best avoided while pregnant. Fenugreek is a common seasoning in mango pickle but has been shown to affect fetal motor development (source: PLoS One).
Fenugreek-free mango chutneys may be available in some stores. You can also opt to make a homemade version without fenugreek.
Another consideration is jarred versus fresh-made. Because mango chutneys are not typically cooked or heated, it is best to choose jarred versions only.
Similar to pre-cut fresh fruit and deli items, fresh mango pickle carries risk for foodborne illness. Jarred chutneys and mango pickle have been processed to eliminate bacterial growth and contamination.
For more information on pickles and other pickled foods during pregnancy, check out our article on pickle safety.
Can I Eat Dried Mango when Pregnant?
When mango cravings strike, thoroughly washing and slicing a while mango is not always the most convenient option. Dried fruit, mango included, is a great option for on-the-go snacking.
Though dried mango is technically pre-sliced because it is processed and packaged it is still safe to enjoy during pregnancy.
Being that it is dried, a serving of dried mango takes up much less volume than a juicy, fresh mango. For this reason, 1 cup of dried mango is higher in sugar than 1 cup of fresh mango. Unlike juices, however, dried mango still contains all of the beneficial fiber.
Many brands of dried mango are also sweetened or have a sugar coating. For US shoppers, Trader Joe’s sells unsweetened dried mango. Internationally, Aldi and Lidl carry unsweetened dried mango as a seasonal item.
Can Pregnant Women Eat Frozen Mango?
Just as dried fruit is a convenient alternative to fresh versions, so is frozen fruit. In northern climates, frozen mango is a reliable alternative during colder months, when fresh would otherwise not be available. Many women also enjoy their daily morning or afternoon smoothie made with frozen fruits, including frozen mango.
Even though frozen fruit is not typically cooked or washed before eating, it can still be a safe way to get your fruits and veggies in during pregnancy. To keep safety a top priority, be mindful that your frozen mango remains frozen. Do not thaw and refreeze frozen mango, as this can allow bacteria to grow.
All in all, most types of mango and mango-containing foods are safe to enjoy while pregnant. It is important to keep food safety top of mind, avoiding read-prepared mango and opting to thoroughly wash and cut your own.