Juicy and fragrant lemons, oranges, grapefruits and tangerines have become a significant part of our diet a long time ago. Citrus fruits are a natural source of vitamins that support our immune system at any season.
Today one can find a huge variety of citrus fruits in a supermarket at any time of the year. The availability of the most popular citrus fruits helps us to keep up our health and create a healthy and vitamin-rich diet, also in the most crucial and wonderful time for any woman – during pregnancy.
Are citrus good and healthy for mothers-to-be? Are there some possible side effects? This article will give you all necessary information concerning eating citrus during pregnancy.
Definition of citrus fruits
A citrus fruit is bitter, sour or sweet, mostly round in shape and always has a thick peel with a distinctive rough odor. From the inside, the pulp is juicy and soft, containing a number of stones. There is a list of fruits that are considered to be citrus:
The most popular ones:
Citrus fruits that are not so popular on sale:
- Citrons, etc.
It is well known, that all citrus is rich in vitamin C that is able to build up our immune system protecting us from virus diseases. It is necessary to note, that citrus also bear vitamins A, D, PP, E, B, B1, B6, potassium saline, fiber, B-Carotene, riboflavin, a huge variety of microelements (pantothenic and folic acid, calcium, magnesium, sodium, cuprous, phosphorus, zinc), phytoncides and a unique compound citrin (vitamin P) that strengthens the walls of large and small blood vessels, restores elasticity of tissues.
Eating citrus fruits during pregnancy on a regular basis can produce a number of healthy effects on expectant mothers:
- Citrus help to enhance the protective capabilities of the body due to their high content of vitamin C.
- Fresh juices from citrus fruits (preferably mixed with water) help to reduce the appearance of morning sickness.
- They contain a lot of fiber, useful for the digestion.
- Essential oils contained in these fruits tone up the body, relieve emotional stress, help fight fatigue and sleepiness overcoming pregnant women particularly strong in the first months of pregnancy.
Now, when you have an idea of the connection between citrus fruits and pregnancy, let’s move to another section that will give detailed explanation about why some women are craving citrus during pregnancy.
Why there is a desire to eat citrus?
A strong desire for eating some particular kind of food during pregnancy is a rather common thing. Craving citrus in pregnancy does not necessarily mean that you have some health problems with your body or the body of your future child. Such citrus “obsession” can indicate, that your organism just need some vitamins that are contained in the fruits: vitamin C (the most common), vitamin D, PP, E, B, or some necessary microelements.
Keep in mind that citrus cravings during pregnancy is common thing, so do not worry.
Benefits and advantages
- Vitamin C helps produce collagen, which provides structure and elasticity for your skin and tendons. As an antioxidant, it neutralizes free radicals before they damage healthy cells, which prevents inflammation that can lead to chronic illnesses such as cardiovascular disease.
- Flavonoids that are also antioxidants reduce inflammation and may prevent cancer by helping your body eliminate carcinogens and killing cancer cells.
- Eating a piece of citrus fruit is a sure way to gain dietary fiber, that will provide you with correct digestion.
- Citrus fruits are high in folic acid and ideal for pregnant women – aids in preventing the new-borns from neural tube defects).
- Citrus fruits contain the simple (sugars) like glucose, fructose and sucrose, as well as citric acid which can also provide a small amount of energy to the moms-to-be.
- Collagen is essential for formation and maintenance of strong ligaments, tendons, dentin, skin, blood vessels and bones, and for wound healing and tissue repair.
Citrus fruits are good for pregnancy because as it have been mentioned above they have many vitamins, so do not underestimate them.
Risks and Contra-Indications
Though citrus fruits are full with necessary vitamins, microelements and other healthy substances, they may bear some possible risks for pregnant women. They are:
- Citrus fruits are believed to trigger heartburn and acid reflux in pregnant women during the latter part of pregnancy.
- The (citric)acid content may damage the bone minerals and make pregnant women more prone to tooth ache.
- The pectin in citrus fruits has proven to cause allergic reactions in some pregnant women.
- Over-eating citrus fruits may cause diarrhea during pregnancy due to its fiber content.
Limit citrus part in your daily diet or do not eat citrus fruits at all in case of:
- peptic ulcer;
- superacid gastritis;
- chronical diseases of kidneys and liver;
- allergic reactions on citrus: skin redness, rash, pruritus.
Mixture of citrus with other fruits
To get the full benefit from any type of fruit including citrus, it should be eaten fresh or consumed in form of fruit juice (no more than 10-15 minutes after it is made). Fresh citrus fruits are preferably to eat after your main meal (in 1-2 hours) because of their capability to irritate stomach walls and promote the amount of gastric juice. Citrus fruits are recommended to eat during the daytime (from 12 to 18 p.m.) – in the morning our stomach seems to be too “sensitive” to digest this sort of food.
During pregnancy, it is very important to limit yourself to 1-2 citrus fruit a day (if their weight do not exceed 100 grams). Otherwise, one can have distressing side effects that usually appear in form of allergic reactions or dermatitis. One should bear in mind, that citrus fruits should not be eaten with cereals, dairy products, bread, pasta or vegetables. Since citrus fruits promote the process of digestion, they could be eaten with meat and fish (lemon).
Fruits are an important powerhouse of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that help to up the nutritional intake of an expectant mum. Citrus fruits in particular are beneficial on many accounts during pregnancy.
But one should bear in mind, that surfeit of any food in a daily diet (including citrus fruits) can do harm both for an expectant mother and a baby. If you have some contraindications that were listed above, please, consult your doctor first!