When you become pregnant, there's a long list of foods you have to avoid (deli meat, sushi, etc). There's a long list of the foods you probably crave (ice cream, french fries, etc). Then there are the foods that will give you the best nutrients for you and your baby while you're pregnant — good 'ol fruits and veggies. The truth is, not all healthy foods are made equal and some are better for you than others. Thankfully, the one fruit that you should eat every day when pregnant is pretty simple and versatile. It can be eaten alone, thrown in a blender for a smoothie, or can even be used as a healthy dessert topping.
Say hello to bananas. These yellow beauties are considered the holy grail of fruit for pregnant women because of the nutrient they're famous for: potassium. Potassium is super important for pregnant women. According to the Baby Center website, pregnant women need 4,700 milligrams of potassium per day. The mineral helps maintain balance of fluids and electrolytes in your body's cells. As explained on the site, your blood volume expands by up to 50 percent during pregnancy, so you'll need some more electrolytes to keep everything in balance. If your fluids are not in balance, you get the dreaded swelling. Though it is pretty normal during pregnancy, but excessive swelling could be a sign of potassium deficiency, or hypokalemia as noted on WebMD.
Potassium also helps to send nerve impulses to your muscles and aids them in contracting, according to the aforementioned WebMD post. If you start to experience leg cramps during pregnancy, extreme fatigue, or an irregular heartbeat, it's recommended that you talk to your medical provider to see if low potassium is the culprit.
So how many bananas should you eat a day? It's really up to you, but at least one will be sufficient. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), one medium banana packs about 422 mg of potassium.
That might not seem a lot, considering how much potassium a pregnant person needs per day (chipping away at the recommended 4,700 is admittedly a tall order). The big thing here to remember is that if you're already eating a balanced diet, you probably are consuming adequate potassium from various sources. According to Women's Health, sweet potatoes, avocados, white beans, yogurt, and spinach are potassium rich as well, if not more than bananas. Basically there's no need to eat a bazillion bananas (unless you want to), because you're probably rounding out your potassium intake in other effective ways.
Not only are bananas appealing for their mineral content, they are also touted as the everyday fruit for pregnant women because of how easy they are to snack on. They can be eaten on the go, without being washed or cut up. You can throw them in a blender for a smoothie or even top off some ice cream or fro-yo for a yummy banana split. Bananas are also relatively inexpensive and they're available in many areas.
It's safe to say that pregnant women are going through a lot while building eyeballs and arms for a baby. Many mamas know that eating healthy is really important, but so is convenience. Having an easy go-to food that can be eaten on-the-go is a win-win. So pregnant mamas, feel free to snack like a monkey, while making your little monkey.