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Is It Safe To Eat Tomatoes During Pregnancy?

Tomatoes have vitamin C and A, the two nutrients needed for a healthy immune system. They help in preventing many diseases, cancer, and the common cold. Vitamin C also improves iron absorption. Tomatoes also have lycopene, a powerful antioxidant that protects your heart. The potassium in tomatoes manages your blood pressure and keeps preeclampsia at bay. Tomatoes are acidic, so eat them in moderation if you are prone to heartburn.

Pregnancy, an exciting and a stressful phase in your life, is when you’re most cautious about what you eat, even everyday foods like tomatoes. Tomatoes are acidic in nature and pregnant women who are already plagued by digestive disorders like acid reflux or nausea may find it commonsensical to avoid tomatoes. However, when taken as a part of a healthy diet, there are multiple benefits to be had from tomatoes during pregnancy.

Expert Opinion

The excellent nutrient content of tomatoes is very beneficial during pregnancy. However, those with a sensitivity or allergy to nightshades should avoid tomatoes as they can affect the gut, neurotransmitters, nerves, immune system, and even lead to death if it is a severe allergy.

Transformational Nutritionist

1. Vitamin C

Vitamin C-rich tomatoes prevent diseases during pregnancy

During pregnancy, your recommended daily intake of vitamin C will go from 75 mg to 85 mg.1 Tomatoes happen to be a great source. One large tomato has 24.9 mg, while a cup of cherry tomatoes has 20.4 mg.2

Since the body can’t make or store vitamin C, you need to eat it every day. It’s necessary for normal growth and immunity.3 These benefits are even more crucial when you’re pregnant.

Pregnancy changes both your body and immune system. You’re a lot more vulnerable during this time, so staying healthy is key. It’s exactly how your body will support a baby’s development.

Luckily, as an antioxidant, vitamin C keeps sickness and disease away. It’s especially useful for preventing and treating the common cold.4 After giving birth, vitamin C will promote proper wound healing.5

2. Improved Iron Absorption

Tomatoes improve iron absorption during pregnancy

Iron is vital during pregnancy. Your daily requirements go from 18 mg to 27 mg.6 In fact, it’s so important that prenatal supplements contain iron.

Vitamin C actually enhances iron absorption.7 So by eating tomatoes, iron will be completely absorbed. You can be sure that the iron you eat is put to good use.

Both the fetus and placenta need iron. Otherwise, you’ll have a higher risk of a short gestation and low birth weight. The chances of iron deficiency are also higher later in pregnancy, so you need to constantly get enough.

The best sources of iron include beef, chicken liver, tuna, raisins, and prunes.8 Tomato benefits your pregnancy by paving the way for optimal iron absorption.

3. Lycopene

Tomatoes prevent heart problems during pregnancy

Tomato is known for its rich level of lycopene. This natural chemical is the reason why tomatoes are so red!9 It’s also a powerful antioxidant that can benefit your health.

Lycopene is amazing for your heart. It positively impacts oxidative stress, inflammation, and blood pressure.10 In turn, you’ll be less likely to have heart problems during pregnancy, which impacts 2 percent of all pregnancies in the Western world.11

You’ll also get an extra dose of cancer protection. Tomatoes are the best source, but you can also get lycopene from red foods like watermelon and grapefruit.12

4. Vitamin A

Vitamin A-rich tomatoes boost immunity during pregnancy

When you’re pregnant, your daily vitamin A requirement changes from 700 mcg to 770 mcg. It keeps your immune system in tip-top shape, just like vitamin C.

Vitamin A also helps cells reproduce normally. As a result, healthy fetal development will be more likely. Wound healing after birth will also be much better.13

One large tomato has 76 mcg of vitamin A. Even cherry tomatoes have a decent amount, at 63 mcg per cup.14 Other sources include bell peppers, sweet potato, and mangos.15

5. Potassium

Tomatoes regulate blood pressure during pregnancy

Your potassium requirements don’t change during pregnancy, but this mineral is still essential. You need it for proper heart function, fluid balance, and digestion.16 In one large tomato, you will get 431 mg of potassium.17

Potassium also keeps your blood pressure in check. It works by reducing the effects of sodium so your blood vessels have less tension.18

If your blood pressure is too high, there’s a higher risk of low birth weight, early delivery, and preeclampsia. You’ll also be more likely to have kidney damage.19

Safety Notes

You can eat tomatoes raw, in salads, cook them, or even go for ketchup. Include tomatoes in your pregnancy diet as you wish, but eat them in moderation. Heartburn and acid reflux are common during pregnancy, and eating tomatoes, which are acidic, can make things worse.20 21 There’s no set limit to how much of tomatoes you can eat. Just pay attention to how you feel and eat it less if it affects your health.

Consuming tomatoes during pregnancy for its vitamin A content is safe – and encouraged! Supplements, however, are a different story. If you’re planning to go for lycopene pills, know that they are linked to prematurity and low birth weight.22 And taking too many vitamin A supplements may cause birth defects.23 Play it safe and stick to the natural source.

References   [ + ]

1. Vitamin C. National Institutes of Health.
2. Basic Report: 11529, Tomatoes, red, ripe, raw, year round average. United States Department of Agriculture.
3, 5, 7. Vitamin C. MedlinePlus.
4. Vitamin C. National Institutes of Health.
6, 8. Iron. Oregon State University.
9. Lycopene. US National Library of Medicine.
10. Burton-Freeman, Britt M., and Howard D. Sesso. “Whole food versus supplement: comparing the clinical evidence of tomato intake and lycopene supplementation on cardiovascular risk factors.” Advances in Nutrition: An International Review Journal 5, no. 5 (2014): 457-485.
11. Lam, Wilson W. “Heart disease and pregnancy.” Texas Heart Institute Journal 39, no. 2 (2012): 237.
12. Carotenoids. Oregon State University.
13. Vitamin A (Retinol). University of Maryland Medical Center.
14, 17. Basic Report: 11529, Tomatoes, red, ripe, raw, year round average. United States Department of Agriculture.
15. Vitamin A. National Institutes of Health.
16. Potassium. University of Maryland Medical Center.
18. How Potassium Can Help Control High Blood Pressure. American Heart Association.
19. High Blood Pressure in Pregnancy. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.
20. Heartburn During Pregnancy. American Pregnancy Association.
21. Eating, Diet, & Nutrition for GER & GERD. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.
22. Lycopene. U.S. National Library of Medicine.
23. Staying healthy and safe. Women’s Health.

Disclaimer: The content is purely informative and educational in nature and should not be construed as medical advice. Please use the content only in consultation with an appropriate certified medical or healthcare professional.