Why read: Wondering if you could snack on raisins during pregnancy and how they benefit your health when expecting? Find all the answers in this article!
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Raisins are often thought of as a healthy snack for kids, but they’re actually a great choice for pregnant women too.
That’s because they offer a number of benefits that can help keep you and your baby healthy throughout your pregnancy.
Pregnancy is a very special time of a woman’s life. So it’s natural that you want to be conscious of what you’re eating and research the benefits and harms of any particular food.
In this article, let’s explore the nutritional value of raisins and why they make a great snack for pregnant women.
What Are Raisins?
Raisins – dried grapes, kishmish or kismis – are small sweet treats that can be eaten raw or cooked, baked, or brewed. There are many different types of raisins, including seedless, golden, black raisins, munakka (brown raisins with seeds).
Unlike fresh grapes, raisins are a concentrated source of sugar and calories. However, they also offer a number of health benefits that make them a great choice for pregnant women.
According to the results of a study based on data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2001 to 2012 involving about 30,000 US adults, 60% of the females in the study who consumed raisins had higher energy levels, better nutrient intake diet quality.
Is It Safe To Eat Raisins During Pregnancy?
If you’re one of those women who can hardly resist the yummy delectable raisins, I have good news for you!
It’s absolutely safe to eat dry grapes during pregnancy. In fact, they offer a number of benefits (which we’ll explore in the next section) that make them a great snack option when expecting.
And while there are no known side effects of eating raisins during pregnancy, as with any food, it’s important to eat them in moderation. Too much of anything can be bad for you.
Because of their high sugar concentration, consult with your ob/gyn if you’re at risk of gestational diabetes and need to avoid sugary food.
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Nutritional Value Of Raisins
1 cup (160 grams) of raisins will add to your daily value of vitamins (vitamin C, B6, K, Thiamin, Riboflavin) and minerals (Copper, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Potassium, Phosphorus). Let’s look at the ones especially important during pregnancy:
Iron is essential during pregnancy, as it reduces the risk of pregnancy-related anemia. Iron helps to build up the blood supply for you and your baby, and prevent fatigue. Raisins are a good source of iron! 100 grams provide 1.79 mg of iron from dark raisins.
Fiber is crucial for our health but its importance increases even more when you’re pregnant. The hormonal imbalances during pregnancy disturb digestion a lot and make it hard to break food normally. Fiber comes to the rescue here and the easily digested raisins work wonders for your digestive system. 100grams will give you 3.3g of fiber for golden raisins and 4.5g for black raisins.
Raisins are also a wonderful source of calcium with 1/2 cup (80 grams) providing about 50-55 mg of calcium depending on whether they are dark or golden, which is 4% of your required daily calcium intake. Getting enough calcium during pregnancy will aid your body in formation of the baby’s bones. Plus, you need calcium for your own health for proper bodily functions such as having good cholesterol absorption and keeping the skin, teeth, and heart in good shape
Top Benefits of Eating Raisins During Pregnancy
With their high nutritional value, dry grapes are the perfect option for healthy snacking.
They give so many health benefits to pregnant women. Here are the top reasons why to make raisins a part of your pregnancy diet.
1. Raisins are packed with nutrients
As discussed in the previous section, raisins are rich in vitamins and minerals that are important for pregnant women. To reiterate:
- raisins are rich in iron, which helps to prevent anemia.
- they’re also high in fiber, which can help to prevent constipation – a common problem during pregnancy.
- additionally, raisins are a good source of potassium, which is important for maintaining healthy blood pressure levels.
2. Raisins can help to boost your energy levels.
Pregnancy can be exhausting, and many pregnant women find that their energy levels start to dip as their pregnancy progresses. Raisins’ benefits during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy is that they can give you a much-needed energy boost. That’s because raisins are a natural source of sugar. So next time you have a sweet craving, reach for a handful of dried raisins as a healthy snack.
3. Raisins can help to alleviate morning sickness.
Morning sickness is a common problem during pregnancy, and many women find that snacking on raisins during the first trimester of pregnancy can help to alleviate their symptoms. The reason why raisins may be effective at combating morning sickness is that they can help to settle your stomach and calm your nausea.
4. Raisins are a good way to get the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables.
Pregnant women need to eat at least four servings of fruits and vegetables per day. However, it can be difficult to meet this recommendation. Adding raisins to your diet can help you to reach your daily fruit and vegetable goals. One quarter-cup serving of raisins counts as one serving of fruit.
5. Raisins are good for your teeth
The hormonal imbalances during pregnancy may damage your teeth and give you bleeding gums. Raisins are a great natural source of fluoride and oleanolic acid that aid with giving protection to your teeth and gums. It’s better to combine raisins with other foods so that they don’t stick to teeth or brush thoroughly afterward.
6. Raisins Improve your digestive system
During pregnancy, the need increases to have a well-balanced healthy diet and include superfoods for pregnancy in your meals. But this is only possible with a strong digestive system. Snacking on kishmish during pregnancy helps to improve digestion.
7. Raisins are a healthy and convenient snack option.
During pregnancy, you might feel the urge to snack more frequently than you did before. Raisins make a great snack option because they’re easy to take with you on the go and they don’t require any preparation. Plus, they’re a healthy snack choice that can help you to meet your nutritional needs.
How Many Raisins You Can Have During Pregnancy
With a healthy diet low in sugar, you can aim for 1-2 handfuls of raisins per day.
There will be times throughout your pregnancy when you might start having crazy sweet cravings – or not, every pregnant woman is different! – so it’s better to turn to naturally sweet foods like raisins.
Especially, in the third trimester when your baby starts to gain more weight – and you too if you’re not conscious of what you’re eating – try to avoid refined sugars as much as possible.
Raisins and other dry fruits are a great alternative!
How To Eat Raisins During Pregnancy
There are many ways to incorporate raisins into your diet during pregnancy. You can sprinkle them on desserts, your breakfast cereal, porridge, or oatmeal, top off a salad or yogurt with a handful, or snack on them throughout the day.
Raisins are also a great addition to baked goods like muffins, cookies, and bread.
Boiling munakka (large brown raisins with seeds) in milk and having it before bedtime helps in relieving pregnancy-related constipation. Do this for several days as a natural relief.
Benefits of soaked black raisins During pregnancy
Did you know that soaking raisins in water overnight and consuming both the soaked raisins and the water increases their health benefits even more?
This is because minerals and vitamins present on the outer skin of raisins dissolve in water. This helps with the absorption of all the nutrients by your body. Plus, soaking black raisins that have seeds ensures that seeds do not pass through your digestive system but are also absorbed.
The best and easiest way would be soaking black raisins overnight and having them along with the water in the morning on empty stomach. This will boost their antioxidant and iron content which is of paramount importance during pregnancy.
Are There Any Side Effects To Eating Dry Grapes While Pregnant?
If you already have diabetes before pregnancy or develop gestational diabetes during pregnancy, it’s better to avoid raisins. Consult your doctor to check if small amounts of raisins would be fine and get recommendations for the alternatives.
While there are no known side effects of consuming raisins during pregnancy, moderation is key. Always aim for a variety of foods in your diet for a healthy pregnancy!
One Last Thing
If you’re looking for a healthy and convenient snack to eat during pregnancy, reach for a handful of raisins. As we’ve discussed, raisins are packed with nutrients that are important for pregnant women and they offer a number of benefits that can help keep you and your baby healthy.
Do remember though that raisins are high in concentrated sugar. So do include raisins in your diet during pregnancy but only in adequate amounts.
What is your favorite way to snack on raisins during pregnancy? Share with us in the comments for other pregnant moms to try!
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Disclaimer: This is just general information, consult your doctor for getting any further guidance.
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