Can I eat cherries while pregnant?

Quick Answer

Yes, you can safely eat cherries during pregnancy. Cherries are a nutritious fruit that provide vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants that support maternal health and fetal development. They are safe to consume in moderation as part of a balanced diet. Enjoy fresh, frozen, canned, or dried cherries but avoid eating large quantities. Always wash cherries thoroughly before eating.

Benefits of Eating Cherries During Pregnancy

Here are some of the top benefits of eating cherries when you’re expecting:

  • Cherries contain vitamin C, vitamin A, potassium, magnesium, and iron which help support your immune system, promote skin health, and prevent anemia during pregnancy.
  • They are a good source of folate, an essential B vitamin that helps prevent neural tube defects in the fetus.
  • The fiber in cherries improves digestion and prevents pregnancy-related constipation.
  • Cherries provide a boost of antioxidants like anthocyanins and quercetin that can help combat oxidative stress.
  • Some research indicates the melatonin in cherries may improve sleep quality for moms-to-be struggling with insomnia.

Nutrition Facts of Cherries

One cup (154g) of sweet cherries contains the following nutrients:

Nutrient Amount
Calories 87
Carbohydrates 22g
Fiber 3g
Sugar 18g
Protein 2g
Vitamin A 3% DV
Vitamin C 16% DV
Calcium 2% DV
Iron 5% DV
Potassium 9% DV

DV = Daily Value

Cherries also contain small amounts of B vitamins, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, and selenium.

Are There Any Risks or Precautions?

Cherries are generally recognized as safe to eat during pregnancy. However, here are some precautions to keep in mind:

  • Avoid eating large quantities of cherries in one sitting as excess fiber can cause abdominal discomfort like gas or bloating.
  • Be aware of potential pesticide residue and always thoroughly wash cherries before eating them.
  • If you have gestational diabetes, eat cherries in moderation and count them in your meal plan due to their natural sugar content.
  • Don’t eat cherries if you have a confirmed allergy or intolerance.

It’s a good idea to consult with your healthcare provider about any dietary restrictions or concerns you may have related to eating this fruit.

Are Cherries Safe to Eat Raw During Pregnancy?

Yes, raw cherries are perfectly safe to consume when pregnant provided they are washed properly. Cherries sold in grocery stores in the U.S. are unlikely to carry harmful bacteria like Salmonella or E. coli that could cause foodborne illness.

However, it’s still important to rinse fresh cherries under cool running water even if they will be peeled. This helps remove any residual pesticides, dirt, or microbes on the surface.

Pat dry with a paper towel before enjoying them raw or using them in recipes. This additional step takes little effort but lowers infection risk substantially.

Do Cherries Have Mercury?

No, cherries do not contain any mercury whatsoever. Mercury is a heavy metal that can be detrimental in high amounts during pregnancy. It is primarily found in larger, longer-lived fish due to bioaccumulation.

As a fruit grown on land rather than in water, cherries and other produce do not present any risks related to mercury exposure or contamination.

Eat cherries without worry – they are a mercury-free food.

Do Cherries Contain Any Major Allergens?

Cherries are not considered to be a major food allergen. The most common food allergies include cow’s milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, soy, and wheat.

That being said, some individuals may be allergic to cherries. Allergy symptoms could include:

  • Itchy mouth, tongue, lips, or throat
  • Swelling of the lips, face, tongue, and throat
  • Skin reactions like hives, rashes, or eczema flares
  • Digestive issues like vomiting, diarrhea, cramping
  • Runny nose and sneezing

If you experience any concerning reactions after eating cherries, stop consuming them and inform your doctor.

Do Cherries Stain?

Yes, the pigments that give cherries their bright red color can potentially stain. Anthocyanins, which act as antioxidants, are the main compounds responsible for cherry staining.

Take precautions to avoid getting cherry juice on clothes, furniture, carpets, or other surfaces you wish to keep stain-free. Promptly blot any drips or spills.

If you do end up with cherry stains, treat the area as soon as possible. For laundry, soak in cold water or use stain remover then launder. For surfaces, wipe with a damp cloth and baking soda or other cleaning solutions.

Can I Eat Cherry Stems?

While the stems are entirely edible, most people prefer to remove them before eating cherries. The stems can get stuck in your teeth and some report they have an unpleasant, bitter taste.

If you do wish to eat the stems, be sure to thoroughly wash cherries first since pesticide residue may collect there.

You can eat cherry stems in moderation but avoid swallowing large quantities of the fibrous material. The indigestible fibers could potentially cause an intestinal blockage if you consumed enough.

Can I Eat Canned Cherries When Pregnant?

Yes, you can safely eat canned cherries during pregnancy. Look for cans with no added sugar or canned in fruit juice rather than heavy syrup.

Rinse canned cherries with water to remove excess sugar syrup. Be sure to consume them in moderation, as the serving sizes tend to be larger than fresh cherry portions.

Opt for cherries canned in BPA-free linings when possible. Glass jars or pouches are also great alternatives to metal cans.

Can I Eat Maraschino Cherries?

It’s best to limit or avoid maraschino cherries during pregnancy. While perfectly edible, these processed, candied cherries are preserved in sugar syrup and sulfites.

They lack the nutritional benefits of fresh cherries and contain high amounts of added sugars with little fiber. The dye may also be questionable for some.

If you occasionally indulge in a maraschino cherry or two, rinse them first to remove excess sugar. But don’t make them a regular part of your pregnancy diet.

Can I Eat Cherry Pie When Pregnant?

Cherry pie can be consumed in moderation during pregnancy as long as it is made with quality ingredients. Opt for pie with a fruit-filled center and lattice crust rather than dense, buttery pastry.

Check that the filling is made from fresh or frozen cherries, not maraschino. Pie made with whole grain or nut flour crust is preferable over refined white flour.

Limit your portion to one small slice and beware extra calories from whipped cream or ice cream. Cherry pie is a fine occasional treat when pregnant as part of a healthy diet.

Can I Drink Cherry Juice?

Cherries can be juiced or blended into a pregnancy-safe beverage. Look for unsweetened cherry juice with no added sugars. Or simply blend pitted fresh or frozen cherries with water and strain. Here are some tips for drinking cherry juice when pregnant:

  • Have just 4-8 ounces (1/2 to 1 cup) at a time since fruit juice has no fiber.
  • Consume 100% cherry juice – avoid “cocktail” juices with added sugar.
  • Drink in moderation and always combine with water to dilute natural sugars.
  • Rinse your mouth with plain water after to prevent acid erosion of tooth enamel.
  • Pair with protein or fat for balanced nutrition and slower sugar absorption.

Can I Eat Dried Cherries When Expecting?

Unsulfured, unsweetened dried cherries can be enjoyed in moderation during pregnancy. Look for dried cherries with no added oils, sugars, or preservatives:

  • Eat 1/4 cup or small handful per serving.
  • Be aware dried cherries have more calories ounce for ounce than fresh.
  • Drink water with them since the dehydration process concentrates natural sugars.
  • Avoid brands with added vegetable oils, sugars, or sulfur dioxide.
  • Store in airtight container in fridge or freezer to prevent mold growth.

When Can I Introduce Cherries to My Baby?

Cherries can typically be introduced as one of your baby’s first foods, around 6 months of age. Here are some guidelines for introducing cherries:

  • Wait to offer cherries until your baby can sit up and hold their head steady.
  • Begin with a thin puree, then mashed cherries, and eventually soft diced pieces.
  • Mix with breastmilk or formula at first before offering plain cherry puree.
  • Start with just a few drops or teaspoon portion to check for allergies or intolerances.
  • Discontinue immediately if your baby has adverse reactions.

Once tolerated, cherries can become part of your infant’s regular diet. They make a nutrient-packed first food when introduced appropriately.

The Bottom Line

Cherries are a safe, healthy fruit to eat during pregnancy. They provide essential vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber. Enjoy fresh, frozen, canned, or dried cherries in moderation as part of a balanced diet. Be sure to properly wash all cherries before eating. Avoid eating more than 1-1.5 cups at a time. Speak to your doctor about any concerns over eating this nutritious fruit.

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