Eating mango during pregnancy is one powerful nutrition for pregnant women that most people think isn’t. This post will give reasons why eating mangoes should be considered a nutritional benefit for pregnant women.
You’ve just found out you’re pregnant – congratulations! There are probably a million things on your mind right now as you prepare for your new arrival. One of your priorities will be keeping healthy – for both you and your baby. No doubt you’ll receive lots of advice on the dos and don’ts in pregnancy. One thing you might hear is that you should avoid eating mango during pregnancy. But why do people say this and is it true?
Can You Eat Mango During Pregnancy?
Yes, you are allowed to have mangoes if you’re pregnant, and what’s more, they’re good for you! Mangoes contain high amounts of vitamins A, B6 and C, folic acid, iron, and potassium – all essential nutrients for pregnant women. They are also rich in antioxidants, including beta-carotene, and contain plenty of fiber, useful for relieving pregnancy-associated constipation.
But Watch Out for the High Sugar and Calories
Mangoes have one of the highest sugar quantities of any fruit (15g sugar per 100g). This makes them naturally sweet, but they should be avoided if you have, or are at risk of developing, gestational diabetes, where the blood sugar levels increase dramatically during pregnancy. However, if you find yourself craving a sugary snack, mangoes are a much healthier alternative to sweets and pastries.
Unfortunately, some mango preparations, including smoothies, lassies, and mango-flavored desserts have extra calories and added sugar. You’ll also find additional sugars and sweeteners in candied or dried mangoes, murabba, and chutneys, so these are best as an occasional treat.
Some people may be allergic to chemicals found on mango skin when they come into contact with or suck on mangoes. When you have allergic symptoms such as itchiness and rashes, avoid it.
So How Much to Eat?
Mangoes are a good energy source and are high in calories. In your third trimester, you’ll be needing to up your calorie intake, so consuming mangoes during pregnancy in moderation is a good option, as long as you stick to only one or two a day maximum.
What About the Myth of Avoiding Mango When Pregnant?
One common myth surrounding mangoes, particularly in India and China, is that eating a mango during pregnancy will increase your body heat – a process known as thermogenesis or the thermic effect of food. You expend around 10% of your total daily energy digesting and processing food, which generates heat inside the body. This is especially marked after ingesting chilies, spices, ginger, and strong herbal teas, as these types of food and drink boost the metabolic rate and require more calories to process. However, there is no evidence that mangoes increase body heat in any way, so they won’t be harmful to your baby.
Nutrition for Pregnant Women: How to Select Mangoes
To ensure safety nutrition for pregnant women, you should eat healthy mango during pregnancy. When shopping at the market, be careful when you buy mangoes, avoiding those that have been artificially ripened. The chief ripening ingredient used is calcium carbide, which can harm both you and your baby, as it contains arsenic and phosphorous. Luckily, calcium carbide has been banned by regulatory authorities, but some sellers may use this illegally.
If you eat artificially-ripened fruit, you may experience the following side effects:
- Disturbances to your mood
- Upset stomach
- Mouth ulcers
- Tingling and numb feelings in your hands and feet
Watch out for the following signs of artificially ripened mangoes:
- A garlicky smell
- A gray/white or black powdery coating
- A ripe outer appearance, but the mango is unripe on the inside
- No taste, or a strange aftertaste
- Soft to the touch
- They ripen and go off quicker than normal mangoes
To best reduce your chances of buying artificially ripened mangoes, buy them when they are in-season, and choose fruit that are still unripe, allowing them to ripen at your house. You may also want to avoid buying mangoes from street vendors, as you can’t be sure of the hygiene standards. In addition to residues from artificial ripening agents, mangoes also naturally have a resin-type substance on the peel, which can be harmful to your health.
To lower your toxin exposure, especially if you don’t know whether the mangoes you’re eating have been ripened artificially or not, you can take the following steps:
- Thoroughly wash your mango as soon as you can, to rinse off any remaining chemicals or Listeria bacteria (found in soil) from the skin.
- Make sure you peel the mango prior to eating, to avoid contact with its skin.
- Wash anything that touches the mango (e.g. your hands, knives, plates, and chopping boards) with soap and warm water afterwards.
What Others Say About Eating Mango During Pregnancy
“Mango is not one of the fruits you need to avoid when pregnant. However, you should stop eating watermelon in your first trimester, and only eat small amounts for the rest of your pregnancy. I am Chinese and we believe that the womb acts as an incubator for the developing baby, just like birds warm their eggs by sitting on them. There’s a reason why not much grows in cold environments, and it’s the same for people. Therefore, you should make sure your uterus stays warm to support the baby’s growth.
Chinese people believe that in pregnancy, you should avoid all foods believed to be cold, including watermelon, cucumber, and water chestnuts. You should also forgo iced or chilled drinks. Everything you consume should be either hot or lukewarm, and all your food should ideally be at a neutral temperature.”
“It depends on whether you believe in inner energies. Eating certain food at particular stages of pregnancy can cause miscarriage or teratogenesis. For example, papaya is one of the foods you should avoid – especially if it is unripe. Although unripe mangoes are considered unsafe in certain cultures, there’s no scientific evidence behind this belief. Moreover, you’ll probably only eat mangoes when they’re ripe anyway, as unripe mangoes leave an unpleasant taste in your mouth.”
Want to learn more about papaya and pregnancy? Here’s the explanation from webmd.