Can you eat the seeds of a pomegranate while pregnant?

Eating pomegranate seeds during pregnancy is generally considered safe and healthy in moderation. Pomegranates are a nutritious fruit that provide many benefits for both mother and baby. However, some important factors to consider are portion sizes, potential risks, and preparations methods when eating pomegranate seeds while pregnant.

Quick Answers

Here are quick answers to common questions about eating pomegranate seeds during pregnancy:

  • Yes, it is safe to eat pomegranate seeds while pregnant in moderation.
  • Pomegranates provide many nutrients beneficial during pregnancy like folate, vitamin K, vitamin C, fiber, and potassium.
  • Stick to a serving size of around 1/2 cup of seeds or 1 small whole pomegranate.
  • Avoid eating seeds from underripe or spoiled pomegranates which increase risk of illness.
  • Be sure to remove inedible peel and bitter inner membranes to access the sweet ruby seeds inside.
  • The juice and arils can be used fresh, frozen, dried, or juiced into nutritious drinks.

Nutrition Profile of Pomegranates

Pomegranates are packed with vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, fiber, and potassium. Here is the nutrition breakdown for a 1/2 cup serving of pomegranate seeds (arils):

  • 72 calories
  • 1.5g protein
  • 0.4g fat
  • 16g carbohydrates
  • 3g fiber
  • 12g sugar
  • 12% DV vitamin C
  • 8% DV vitamin K
  • 7% DV folate
  • 5% DV potassium

Pomegranates also contain antioxidants like anthocyanins and ellagic acid that may help reduce inflammation in the body. The fiber, potassium, folate, and vitamin K in them are especially important for pregnant women.

Key Nutrients for Pregnant Women

Here is more on the key nutrients pomegranates provide during pregnancy:

  • Folate – Essential for fetal brain and spinal cord development. Helps prevent neural tube defects.
  • Vitamin K – Important for proper bone development and blood clotting in baby.
  • Fiber – Relieves pregnancy constipation and supports healthy digestion.
  • Potassium – Helps maintain fluid balance and manage low blood pressure in pregnancy.
  • Vitamin C – Boosts the immune system to fight infections during pregnancy.

Benefits of Eating Pomegranate Seeds When Pregnant

Here are some of the top benefits of adding pomegranate seeds to your diet during pregnancy:

  • Fetal Development – Supply key nutrients like folate, calcium, and zinc that support a healthy pregnancy and proper growth.
  • Pregnancy-Related Discomfort – May reduce nausea, vomiting, cramps, and leg cramps due to mineral content.
  • Heart Health – Rich in antioxidants that promote circulation and blood flow for mother’s changing cardiovascular system.
  • Immune Support – Contains vitamin C, vitamin E, and antioxidants to boost immunity against illnesses.
  • Digestion – Fiber prevents constipation and aids digestion which often suffers during pregnancy.
  • Blood Pressure – Potassium helps balance electrolytes to maintain healthy blood pressure levels.

Pomegranate’s nutritional profile makes it an excellent choice for a well-balanced diet during pregnancy and overall maternal health.

Are There Any Risks or Precautions?

When eaten in moderation, pomegranate seeds are considered very safe during pregnancy. However, here are some precautions pregnant women should take:

  • Avoid eating seeds from underripe, overripe, bruised, or spoiled pomegranates. This increases the risk for dangerous foodborne illnesses like listeria or toxoplasmosis which can cause pregnancy complications.
  • Be sure to fully remove the peel, pith, and inner membranes to get to the edible arils inside. The peel and membrane can be bitter and difficult to digest.
  • Don’t eat pomegranate seeds in excess. Stick to about 1/2 cup serving per day. Too much fiber from seeds may cause gas, bloating or diarrhea.
  • Drink plenty of water when eating seeds to help digest the fiber and prevent constipation issues.
  • Talk to your doctor before taking pomegranate seed extract supplements for medicinal purposes while pregnant.

Always thoroughly wash pomegranates before consuming them. Follow basic food safety practices like washing hands and cutting boards to avoid any risks from bacteria.

What is a Healthy Portion Size?

When eating pomegranate seeds during pregnancy, it’s important to stick to a healthy portion size. The recommended serving is about 1/2 cup of seeds or arils.

This equals around:

  • Seeds from 1 small pomegranate (about 4-5 inches wide)
  • 1/2 cup of prepared pomegranate seeds
  • 1-2 ounces or 30-60 grams of seeds

Larger pomegranates may have up to 600-800 seeds total. Limit portion sizes to avoid overdoing it on natural sugars and fiber in the seeds which can cause GI issues if consumed in excess.

Portion Size Recommendations

Form Serving Size
Whole pomegranate 1 small (4-5 inches wide)
Seeds (arils) 1/2 cup
Seeds (arils) 1-2 ounces or 30-60 grams

Sticking within these portion recommendations makes pomegranate seeds a healthy, safe addition to your diet while pregnant.

How Should Pomegranate Seeds Be Prepared When Pregnant?

Pomegranate seeds can be eaten raw or prepared in several ways. Here are some recommended preparation methods while pregnant:

  • Raw – The juicy arils are entirely edible raw. Simply remove seeds and enjoy them whole.
  • Juiced – Seeds can be juiced alone or with other fruits into a pregnancy-friendly beverage.
  • Frozen – Seeds maintain their nutrition well when frozen for later use in smoothies or recipes.
  • Dried – Dehydrate seeds to concentrate their sweetness and make a healthy snack.
  • Added to dishes – Sprinkle seeds on salads, yogurt, oatmeal, cottage cheese, etc.

Avoid eating pomegranate seeds unwashed or spoiled. Only eat seeds removed from the inner peel and membrane to prevent digestive issues. The seeds can be prepared plainly or creatively in various recipes.

Healthy Pomegranate Recipes for Pregnancy

Here are some nutritious recipe ideas for eating pomegranate seeds during pregnancy:

  • Pomegranate Avocado Salad – Toss pomegranate seeds with spinach, avocado, red onion, lime juice, and olive oil.
  • Yogurt Pomegranate Parfait – Layer Greek yogurt with seeds, chia seeds, honey, and cinnamon.
  • Pomegranate Smoothie – Blend seeds with milk/yogurt, banana, honey, and ice.
  • Chicken & Quinoa Salad – Mix quinoa, chicken, seeds, feta, veggies, and balsamic vinaigrette.
  • Chia Pomegranate Energy Bites – Form balls with chia seeds, oats, honey, coconut, and pomegranate seeds.

Should Pregnant Women Drink Pomegranate Juice?

Pomegranate juice makes a great pregnancy-safe beverage. It provides hydration along with key nutrients like vitamin K, potassium, vitamin C, and folate. There are some tips for drinking pomegranate juice when pregnant:

  • Choose 100% pure, unsweetened pomegranate juice with no added sugars.
  • Drink only pasteurized, commercially packaged juice to decrease infection risks.
  • Limit intake to 4-8 ounces per day as part of a balanced diet.
  • Avoid homemade or unpasteurized juice which could contain bacteria.
  • Stay hydrated by pairing juice with equal amounts of water.

Pomegranate juice is refreshing and nutritious during pregnancy when enjoyed in moderation as part of a healthy diet. The key is choosing a safe, high quality juice and controlling your portion sizes.

When is it Best to Avoid Pomegranate Seeds?

Pomegranate seeds are perfectly safe when handled properly, but here are some times when it’s best to avoid them during pregnancy:

  • If you have a pomegranate allergy – Avoid seeds if you have a known allergic reaction to pomegranates.
  • With food poisoning risk – Don’t eat seeds from damaged, underripe, or potentially contaminated pomegranates.
  • If seeds aggravate GERD – acidic nature may worsen pregnancy reflux symptoms.
  • After oral surgery – Skip seeds for a few days after procedures like tooth extractions.
  • With digestive issues – Wait until constipation, diarrhea, nausea, etc resolve.

Talk to your doctor before making any major dietary changes while pregnant, including avoiding certain foods. In most cases pomegranate seeds are a nutritious food to include during a healthy pregnancy.

The Bottom Line

Pomegranate seeds are packed with beneficial vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants. Eating them in moderation provides nutrition for mom and baby without significant risks. Focus on safe preparation, proper portion sizes, and balancing seeds with other nutritious foods in your diet. Talk to your doctor about any concerns. Overall, pomegranate arils can be a tasty, healthy addition to your pregnancy diet.

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