During pregnancy, there is a lot of advice that a woman receives from friends, family, and even strangers! Everyone seems to know what is best for her and for the baby she carries, although unfortunately not all the information she receives is true and many of them also do not have scientific evidence to support them. For example, pineapple is one of the foods that, according to gossip, is prohibited during pregnancy, what is true in this recommendation? Is the consumption of pineapple for the baby and the pregnant woman dangerous? Let's get out of doubt!
The true part of this recommendation, the one that is scientifically based, is that fresh pineapple contains an enzyme known as bromelain, but only fresh pineapple, since any heat treatment destroys it, including the treatment to which pineapple is subjected prior to canning.
In various scientific studies, bromelain has shown maturation effects on the cervix, in addition to stimulating the production of prostaglandins, so, in theory, pineapple would have the ability to induce and accelerate labor. Additionally, and according to these studies, in the first weeks of pregnancy, bromelain could cause abortions by producing contractions in the woman's uterus.
However, and here is the information that does not support its prohibition during pregnancy, although the effect of bromelain was real, the amount of this enzyme that pineapple contains is so insignificant that you would have to consume incredibly high amounts of the fruit for bromelain had any effect on the maturation of the cervix or started uterine contractions.
Additionally, bromelain is found mostly in the heart of pineapple, something that is not usually consumed, while the meat contains a tiny percentage of the total that the fruit contains.
While is true that a normal consumption of pineapple is totally safe during pregnancy, concentrated bromelain pills, sometimes recommended to trigger labor, should not be used as a supplement in late pregnancy, given their ability to break down certain proteins in the blood that could trigger abnormal and excessive bleeding during labor.
During pregnancy, the normal consumption of fresh pineapple (no more than 2 slices a day) has nutritional benefits for mother and baby:
- To get started, pineapple is a source of vitamin C (depending on its state of maturity, a serving of pineapple can cover the daily needs of vitamin C in pregnant women), which improves the functioning of the immune system and contributes to the protection of cells against oxidative damage or aging cellular. In addition, vitamin C contributes to the formation of collagen, necessary for the formation of structures in the fetus and its proper growth.
- It is also a source of iodine, a mineral of great importance during pregnancy and lactation, as it helps the proper functioning of the thyroid gland and the production of thyroid hormones and participates in the neurological development of the fetus, at the same time that it contributes to normal energy metabolism, a metabolism that can be affected in pregnancy.
- Pineapple also provides B vitamins, including folic acid, and other minerals such as magnesium, manganese and potassium.
- Among other benefits during pregnancy, pineapple helps prevent fluid retention, a frequent and very uncomfortable situation that the pregnant woman suffers especially when reaching the last trimester of pregnancy.
- Lowers blood pressure, being able to prevent the appearance of gestational hypertension and pre-eclampsia, which, although closely controlled, are not necessarily serious, could become so for both the mother and the baby.
- Helps prevent constipation thanks to its water content and its contribution of fiber.
- Curiously, the presence of vitamin B6 in pineapple could be useful for relieve morning sickness that frequently appear in the first trimester of pregnancy.
Finally, it should be noted that canned pineapple, although it retains some micronutrients from fresh pineapple (except for bromelain), is bathed in syrup, which, given its content in simple sugars, makes it much more caloric than fresh pineapple . For this reason, it should be consumed in moderation during pregnancy.
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