Pomegranates are popular for their juicy, bursting seeds called arils. This article will cover how to safely have pomegranate seeds and juice during your pregnancy to enjoy all their nutritional benefits.
Pomegranate seeds and pasteurized pomegranate juice are safe during pregnancy and are high in fiber, antioxidants, and more! However, there is little guidance available on pomegranate tea made from the flower or leaves, so it is best to avoid the tea.
Now let’s cover more information about the safety of pomegranates and their benefits during pregnancy. Read on!
Is Pomegranate Juice Safe When Pregnant?
Pomegranate juice is safe when you are pregnant as long as it is pasteurized. Pasteurization is the process of heating the juice to a high temperature that kills any potential bacteria, such as E. Coli (source: United States Food and Drug Administration [FDA]).
Any canned juice, shelf-stable juice not in the refrigerated section, bottled juice, or frozen concentrate juices are all commercially processed, including the pasteurization process (source: Michigan State University). Therefore, the fan-favorite pomegranate juice brand, Pom, is safe to consume while you are pregnant.
However, avoid any pomegranate juice from a juice stand or farmer’s market or needs to be in the refrigerated section of the grocery store or health food store. In addition, unpasteurized juices are required by the FDA to label their packaging with a warning stating that the product may contain harmful bacteria – so always read the label.
Pomegranate juice is very nutritious for pregnant women precisely because it contains antioxidants. Antioxidants are compounds in many foods that help combat the damage from free radicals in the body.
Free radicals contribute to a condition called oxidative stress, which plays a large role in pregnancy. Therefore, antioxidants are essential for maintaining your health during pregnancy (source: Mediators of Inflammation).
However, pomegranate juice often has added sugar which can cause excessive weight gain during your pregnancy. Therefore, look for lower sugar varieties and opt for the whole pomegranate seeds instead — more on the seeds below!
Is Eating Pomegranate Good for Pregnancy? The Benefits
The fresh fruit of the pomegranate, which are the seeds or arils, is also safe and healthy for pregnancy. You can find them fresh or even in the grocery store’s frozen section. In addition, these seeds contain high amounts of fiber, which prevents constipation during pregnancy – something that many pregnant women may find useful to know!
Fiber not only helps to support a healthy digestive system and regular bowel movements, but it also helps to control blood sugar levels when consuming fruit because fiber slows down the digestion and absorption of sugar in the blood (source: Mayo Clinic).
In other words, if you have a fruit with fiber, like pomegranate seeds, it would not spike your blood sugar as quickly as the fruit juice without fiber, for example.
Adding more fiber into your diet can also reduce your risk of developing gestational diabetes (source: Cleveland Clinic).
Pomegranate seeds make a great addition to some savory dishes such as stews, tagines or over a Persian-style salad, if you want to try to include more of them in your pregnancy diet.
Can You Have Pomegranate in Every Trimester?
Pomegranate seeds and pasteurized pomegranate juice are safe in every trimester.
Pomegranates are also rich in folate (source: United States Department of Agriculture [USDA]). Folic acid is crucial before and during pregnancy for reducing the risk of congenital abnormalities in the growing baby (source: American Pregnancy Association).
While adequate amounts of folate should be consumed in all stages of pregnancy, the first 28 days of pregnancy are the most crucial to prevent health abnormalities.
On the other hand, pomegranate supplements should be avoided during pregnancy. This is because dietary supplements are regulated differently than food in the United States. More specifically, they are not monitored by the FDA for safety or effectiveness before they hit the market (source: FDA).
While the FDA monitors for any adverse effects after availability to the public, it is best to avoid supplements while pregnant.
If you still want to take pomegranate supplements, make sure to first speak with your physician.
Can I Drink Pomegranate Tea During Pregnancy?
Pomegranate tea that is made from brewed flowers or leaves should be avoided due to the limited guidance and information available on its safety. It doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s “unsafe” – we just don’t know enough about its safety to be sure.
However, “pomegranate tea” can often mean cooked and strained pomegranate seeds that are sweetened with honey or sugar. This variation is safe for pregnancy because it contains fruit and no herbs. However, avoid consuming too much excess sugar and lightly sweeten it.
I hope this article helped discuss how to consume pomegranates safely during pregnancy, so you can enjoy this nutritious and delicious fruit.