Once you know you are pregnant, thousand foods suddenly become prohibited to eat. The problem is, while some restrictions like raw fish make sense, nothing good can ever come out of abstaining from healthy fruits like mangoes! Read on to know how this yummy fruit got its bad rep and its benefits.
Nutritional Profile of Mango
Mangoes are low in calories and high in fibre. They have high amounts of vitamins C, B6, and A, along with iron and folates. Mangoes also have smaller amounts of zinc, vitamin E and calcium. They are also a great source of anti-oxidants. Mangoes have held special interest among healthy eaters because of the unique phytochemicals like mangiferin and gallotannins. 2 x 2 slices of mango provides you 11g of natural sugar, 53 calories with around 2g of fibre.
Health benefits of Mango during Pregnancy
Morning sickness can be soothed with the delicious taste of fresh mangoes. The Vitamin B6 in mangoes helps keep away morning sickness and nausea. Also, the electrolytes like magnesium, sodium, potassium and calcium helps you feel refreshed and balance your body fluid after vomiting.
A study by the Journal of Nutrition who tested obese mice with a mango rich diet found that the mice had improved gut flora after the addition of mango. Also, a later 2018 study showed that people suffering from chronic constipation saw significant improvement in their bowel movements after given mango regularly in for 4 weeks. The high fibre content along with other compounds helps regular bowel movements.
Up to 16% of babies are born preemies, before completing 37 weeks. Having mangoes regularly fortifies the mother with around 80 mg of vitamin C, which helps strengthen the amniotic layers and membranes, preventing preterm birth. Also, the potassium is essential for regulating water retention, preventing edema.
The phytochemical present in mangoes offer gastro protective effects, reducing inflammation and oxidation along the digestive tract. Mangoes can be beneficial in healing ulcers and easing digestion when you are pregnant.
The folic acid in mangoes helps the development of nervous system in the growing baby. The Vitamin A (beta carotene) in mangoes helps embryonic growth, promoting healthy placenta and healthy ocular development in the baby. The copper in mangoes promotes healthy bone formation in growing foetus. The folic acid content helps the development of necessary brain, nervous system and spinal cord. Mangoes can prevent spina bifida in unborn babies.
Skin and hair
Mangoes have good amounts of Vitamins C and A.
Vitamin C plays an important role in collagen production. Collagen is the element that gives our skin its youthful elasticity, minimizing wrinkles and fine lines. Vitamin C is also an anti-oxidant that promotes wound healing. It also helps absorption of iron, which is essential for hair growth.
Also, the Vitamin A in mangoes helps regulate oil production to moisturise our scalp and skin.
The combination of iron and vitamin C that helps iron absorption helps boost up red blood cells in pregnancy. Anaemia is a common occurrence that troubles many women during pregnancy – including mangoes regularly in your diet can help prevent anaemia.
The special phytochemical called mangiferin present in mangoes has heart protective effects, including reducing inflammation. The fibres and beta carotene are beneficial in lowering blood pressure during pregnancy.
The magnesium in mangoes helps prevent preeclampsia and also helps in its treatment.
Why were mangoes blacklisted?
You might be wondering why so many people tell you to avoid such a nutritive, nourishing fruit. For many years in India, mangoes were mass plucked from trees when unripe and then ripened artificially for sale with calcium carbide. Ripening fruits with calcium carbide gives off phosphorous and arsenic, two extremely toxic elements for humans. In addition, you could face side effects like extreme sleepiness, dizziness, mental confusions, memory problems and hormonal problems. This could be the reason why many are suspicious of mangoes. However, the Indian FDA has banned the use of calcium carbide (2006) and the FSSR banned it in 2011.
Identifying artificially ripened mangoes
Naturally ripened mangoes are said to sink when placed in a tub of water, while artificially ripened mangoes tend to float. Unnaturally bright yellow colour that looks good, but lack of juiciness, taste or pleasing smell shows that the fruit has been artificially readied for sale. You can also try to set fire to a mango – if it catches fire or has sparks on the surface, this shows the presence of calcium carbide. Do not try this in enclosed spaces, indoors or where large quantities of mangoes are present, or you may have an explosion.
How to remove pesticides and carbide from mangoes?
Baking soda eliminates 98% of calcium carbide from the peel and pulp when soaked for 12 hours. Soak it for a minimum of 15 minutes at least to draw away the harmful elements.
How to enjoy mangoes safely when pregnant?
Taking care of the following would help you enjoy mangoes safely during pregnancy.
- Wash the mangoes, cutting boards and knives thoroughly.
- If you are not sure about the mango, discard the peel and wash your knives and boards after peeling to avoid cross contamination.
- Avoid the temptation to add extra calories to mango by adding sugars, ice creams, heavy cream and similar stuff.
- One mango a day is a good limit for everyone.
- Buy green raw mangoes and ripen them yourself at home rather than picking ready to eat ripe fruits.
- Buy mangoes only in their season.
Who should not eat mangoes?
If you are diagnosed with gestational diabetes or if you developed gestational diabetes in your last pregnancy, you may have to abstain from having mangoes without your doctor’s approval.
The high levels of potassium in mangoes can prove dangerous to heart patients and those with kidney problems. Never have mangoes if you have these conditions.
Can mangoes cause miscarriage?
Mangoes do not trigger miscarriages in any stage of pregnancy. They are safe for consumption throughout pregnancy.
Does mango induce labour?
Mango has naturally occurring bromelain, which tenderizes tissues, forming the basis for this claim. Applying mango directly to the ripe cervix might induce labour, but eating a mango or two will not induce labour.
Which fruits should be avoided during pregnancy?
Dried fruits and fruit juices should be consumed with care during pregnancy, because of their sugar content. Otherwise, there are no particular fruits to avoid during pregnancy. Pregnant women should aim to include at least five portions of different fruits and veggies each day.
Conclusion: Is Mango bad for Pregnancy?
Delicious and nutrient rich mangoes turn into villains only because of shady dealers who artificially ripen them. If you are able to procure fresh mangoes and ripen them on your own, they are some of the best treats you can energize yourself with when pregnant.
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