Avoiding certain foods and behaviors during pregnancy is common for most women. After all, all women want to make sure that they are doing everything they can for the optimal health of their growing baby. And while avoiding alcoholic beverages and tobacco is generally agreed to be a good thing during pregnancy, avoiding certain fruits may not have a basis in reality according to research. Pineapple seems to be one of those fruits unfairly stigmatized as far as pregnancy is concerned. So why do some women fret pineapple during pregnancy? Keep reading to find out more.
According to a survey that included literate women from Bangladesh, 77% of the women avoided pineapple during their pregnancy although studies on high doses of pineapple juice did not find any effects on pregnancy outcomes. While papaya was found in some studies to contain constituents that may cause uterine contractions, pineapple does not have a potential to cause uterine contractions even in large doses. But on the other hand, bromelain which is a mixture of different enzymes found in pineapple may cause uterine contractions in very large doses. However, as explained on the website, in order to achieve uterine contractions, a woman would need to eat seven large pineapples in a day. Since this amount of pineapples is likely to cause diarrhea, it is highly unlikely that anyone would be able to eat this amount of pineapples.
Health Benefits of Pineapple
Consuming fruits is considered one of the best things you could do for your health. This is mainly because fruits such as pineapples are a rich source of vitamins, minerals, fibers, and antioxidants. Furthermore, studies on vegetable and fruit-based diets show that they decrease the risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. Pineapple is unique among fruits as it contains an enzyme complex called bromelain. A systematic review of the therapeutic effects of bromelain found it was beneficial for cardiovascular health, the immune system, and blood coagulation. It was also effective in treating osteoarthritis, diarrhea, and inhibited cancer cell growth. However, the health benefits of eating pineapple during pregnancy were less studied.
Studies on Pineapple and Pregnancy
A study published in The European Journal of Contraception and Reproductive Health Care examined the effects of unripe pineapple juice on pregnant rats. The rats consumed either water for control or different doses of pineapple juice for 7 days during pregnancy. The compounds in the juice were cardenolides, tannins, cardiac glycoside, dienolides, and flavonoids. The researchers examined the fetuses and pregnancy outcomes at the end of the study. According to the research findings, no dose of pineapple juice seemed to have any negative effect on pregnancy outcomes and maternal health. So, as far as this study is concerned, eating pineapple should be considered safe during pregnancy.
Another study which was published in Food and Chemical Toxicology found that the leaves of the pineapple fruit were also safe for use during pregnancy. The extract of pineapple leaves is used for their anti-diabetic and lipid-lowering effects. The study at hand examined the effects of pineapple leave extract on pregnancy in order to provide evidence for its safety. The extract was tested on female rats in the first stages of pregnancy. According to the study’s findings, no effects on rat fertility, overall body weight, organ weight, and fetal development were observed. The researchers concluded that the extract from the pineapple leaves could be considered safe for use during pregnancy. However, according to an article about the health effects of different foods avoided during pregnancy, some isolated chemical compounds from the pineapple leaves were found in studies to induce abortion in rats.
Bromelain extracts are used in the treatment of various health problems. It is approved by health experts in the treatment of inflammation after surgery. Although this enzyme complex is extracted from the pineapple fruit, it is generally considered to be at too low dose in a single pineapple fruit for it to work as medicine. However, as far as the University of Maryland Medical Center is concerned, pregnant women, as well as people with certain medical disorders, should avoid using bromelain extract. This is mostly because bromelain has a powerful effect on blood coagulation and may raise the risk of bleeding which pregnant women need to avoid.
Researchers believe that avoiding pineapple during pregnancy is not really in any way beneficial. Women avoid eating pineapple during pregnancy believing it has the potential to induce abortion or affect a baby’s development. However, studies show that this is probably not true and that abnormally large doses of pineapple need to be eaten in order to induce abortion. On the other hand, the health-supportive benefits, as well as nutrient content of pineapples, should not be overlooked by pregnant women who should consider including pineapple in their diet for optimal health and pregnancy outcomes.