Tomatoes are not just beautiful but also nutritious. They are red and juicy and full of nutrients. . But are they safe to eat during pregnancy? How much of this vegetable, which is technically a fruit, do you need?
This article discusses safe consumption of tomatoes during pregnancy, the benefits they offer, the risks if any and ways of including them in everyday diet.
Is It Safe To Eat Tomatoes During Pregnancy?
Yes, it is safe to eat tomatoes in pregnancy but in moderate quantities. They contain vitamins A, C, and folate, along with lycopene and iron that keep you and your fetus healthy.
The abundant vitamin C in this vegetable helps in better absorption of iron that pregnant women need. If your doctor has recommended you to take iron supplements, consuming tomatoes helps in better absorption.
But that’s not all. Tomatoes offer more benefits, which we discuss next.
What Are The Benefits Of Eating Tomatoes During Pregnancy?
Tomatoes are tasty and provide multiple benefits when taken as a part of your diet.
Offers essential nutrition
One medium-sized tomato gives almost 40% recommended daily allowance (RDA) of vitamin C and 20% RDA of vitamin A. It also contains plenty of vitamin K, potassium, iron, and calcium, all of which are important for healthy fetal growth.
Boosts energy levels
It is common to feel tired and lethargic during pregnancy, owing to the extra weight you are carrying. The rich calorie count in tomatoes provides enough energy and reduces lethargy.
Tomatoes contain high levels of dietary fiber, which aids in healthy digestion. The fiber bulks up the stools, promotes peristaltic movements of the smooth digestive muscles, and stimulates digestive juices. It, therefore, treats constipation, diarrhea and also prevents conditions such as colorectal cancers.
Regular consumption of tomatoes can reduce the risk of hypertension, i.e., preeclampsia, which is common during pregnancy. The potassium content in tomatoes improves the blood flow and reduces the stress on the heart, thus treating high blood pressure.
Excellent source of antioxidants
Tomatoes contain high amounts of lycopene, an antioxidant that can fight cancer-causing radicals. It is especially helpful in fighting cervical cancer, prostate cancer, stomach cancer, rectal cancer, throat and esophageal cancers.
Lowers cholesterol and protects heart
Lycopene prevents oxidation of the serum lipids to protect the heart. It reduces the levels of LDL cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood.
Prevents congenital disabilities
Folic acid content in tomatoes can lower the risk of birth defects of the brain and spinal cord in babies. Folic acid also reduces your chances of getting heart diseases and cancers.
Manages gestational diabetes
Gestational diabetes is a common condition that increases the risk of developing type II diabetes later. Intake of tomatoes on a regular basis will lower the oxidative stress of diabetes.
Abundant vitamin C
High vitamin C content in tomatoes aids in the formation of healthy skin, teeth, bones, and gums of the baby. It also protects the skin from UV induced erythema (redness of the skin caused by increased blood flow). Topical application of tomato juice, which has vitamin E, works against sunburns as well.
Prevents urinary tract infections
Tomatoes contain excess water content and therefore act as diuretics. Intake of tomatoes can stimulate urination and reduce the risk of urinary tract infections as well as bladder problems.
Remedy for gallstones
Regular intake of tomatoes while pregnant prevents gallbladder conditions such as gallstones.
If you are still not convinced about the goodness of tomatoes or not sure how much to consume every day, read on to know about how nutritious the plum-looking vegetable is.
Nutritional Value Of Tomatoes
The nutrient value of red, ripe or raw tomatoes per 100gm serving is as follows :
Tomatoes are highly nutritious and healthy, but it does not mean you should overindulge in them.
What Are The Risks Of Eating Tomatoes In Pregnancy?
Excess consumption of any food item can backfire. This applies to tomatoes as well. Eating one too many tomatoes can lead to:
- Heartburn because of the vegetable’s acid content (14)
- Digestion problems such as gas and stomach pain (15)
Now that you know why you should eat tomatoes and how much to eat, let’s see how to pick the right tomatoes.
How To Choose A Perfect Tomato?
It is important to choose the right tomatoes to enjoy the benefits they offer.
- Look for bright red colored tomatoes with no bruises, blemishes or black spots. Dull or pale varieties will not have any flavor.
- Go for vine-ripened varieties obtained directly from the farmers or tomatoes that are free of chemicals.
- It should not be either too soft or too hard.
- Go for the heavier and denser tomatoes as they are juicy.
- You can figure out the flavor by smelling the stem. It should ideally be sweet, strong and earthy.
Ways To Include More Tomatoes In A Pregnancy Diet
Tomatoes add a unique flavor to a dish. Here is how you can use them in your diet for taste and health.
- Raw tomatoes can be added to salads.
- They are primary ingredients in many Indian curries and purees.
- Tomato soup can be a healthy alternative to a meal.
- Tomato juice is an excellent snack or breakfast option to keep you fresh.
- Sliced tomato can be used in sandwiches.
- Homemade ketchup with tomatoes can be yummy!
- Sun-dried and grilled tomatoes are a part of continental recipes.
Unlike many other vegetables, tomatoes can be used in multiple ways in most of the dishes that you make. The best part is it tastes good in all the ways. When the vegetable is that tasty and healthy too, why hesitate to eat it? But remember, have it moderately just like any other food during pregnancy.
Would you like to share more ways to include tomatoes in a pregnancy diet? Tell us about it in the comments section.