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9 reasons to eat Australian Bananas when you’re pregnant

A banana that looks like a smileWhen you’re pregnant you know you should be eating well. But if you’re suffering the effects of morning sickness it isn’t always that simple. Your brain might be telling you to eat a nutritious meal but your body is craving sausage rolls!

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if there was a food that could ease your morning sickness symptoms as well as provide essential nutrients for you and your growing baby?

Well, it just so happens that Australian bananas are the perfect food for you and your baby – from the moment you fall pregnant until the time your child as tall as you are, and beyond!

Pregnancy is a perfect time to understand the impact of your eating – and one way to give your diet a boost is to add nature’s non-stop energy snack, bananas. Here are 9 reasons to eat bananas when pregnant, from Accredited Practising Dietitian, Glenn Cardwell.

Here are 9 reasons you should eat bananas when you’re pregnant

1. Relieving Your Heaving

Morning sickness is NOT a nice introduction to pregnancy. You can help to ward off the symptoms by eating dry crackers, toast or a piece of fruit like a banana in the morning before you get out of bed. Also try having small snacks frequently through the day can help as it keeps the stomach from being empty, which can make you feel unwell.

2. Reduce Constipation

Your intestine muscles lose tone in pregnancy, meaning food travels more slowly through the digestive system. The pressure of the baby on the mother’s intestines can also slow the passage of food and waste, which can result in constipation. One way to help reduce the chance of becoming constipated is to make sure your diet contains a lot of fibre, which bananas provide aplenty. Although the banana is an obvious choice to boost your fibre intake, other fruits, wholegrain breads and cereals and legumes are good options. You should also drink plenty of water and exercise regularly.

3. Energy to Burn

Bananas are nature’s non-stop energy snack! They are an excellent source of carbohydrate energy in the form of natural sugars and starch. When pregnancy fatigue starts to set in, reach for a healthy banana!

4. Protect Against Spinal Cord Defects

Folate is vital in the development of a baby’s spinal cord in the womb as an overwhelming body of evidence has linked folate deficiency in early pregnancy to increased risk of neural tube defects, most commonly known as spina bifida, in infants. It is good to know then, that just one banana will provide about 10 per cent of your folate needs every day.

5. Form Strong Gums

Vitamin C (or ascorbic acid) is necessary for forming new blood vessels, skin, gums, and other tissues, and even bones. One or two bananas each day will provide you with vitamin C, as will other fruit, fruit juice and salad vegetables.

6. Absorb Your Iron

When you’re pregnant your body (and your blood) requires about 50 per cent more iron than usual. This helps to ensure that a healthy amount of oxygen is reaching your baby through the placenta. Bananas only provide a little amount of iron, but they offer vitamin C which helps with iron absorption.

7. Strengthen Bones and Teeth

Calcium helps your bones and teeth as well as your nerve and muscle growth – for both for mum and baby. A delicious way to bump up calcium intake is to drink smoothies – just blend a banana with a cup of high calcium milk.

8. Help Babies Grow

And if you need another reason to drink a delicious banana smoothie each day, then think about this – extra protein is needed during pregnancy and breastfeeding to support baby’s growth and to help in the production of breastmilk. A banana smoothie (a medium banana and 200mL of milk) added to your daily diet will help provide you with this extra protein.

9. Boost Your B6

Bananas are one of the richest fruit sources for vitamin B6 – a powerful vitamin that’s important for cardiovascular, digestive, immune, muscular, and nervous system function. New mums and expecting mums need almost 50 per cent more vitamin B6, which makes bananas a great solution.

Recipe: Banana Guacamole

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Recipe: Banana Guacamole

This recipe is rich in fibre and the essential nutrients vitamin B6, vitamin C, folate, magnesium and potassium. The natural fat in the avocado and the natural sugars in the banana make this recipe a perfect dish for good health. The fibre is excellent for your gut, and of course, this recipe is low salt and high in potassium for healthy blood pressure.

Ingredients

  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 2 bananas, diced
  • 1/2 red capsicum, finely diced
  • 1/2 red onion, finely diced
  • 1 lime, zest and juice
  • 1 tbsp coriander, chopped
  • 1 chilli, chopped (optional)

Instructions

  1. Scoop the avocado flesh into a medium bowl and use a large fork to lightly mash or leave it chunky.
  2. Fold in the bananas, red capsicum and red onion until combined.
  3. Add the lime zest and juice. This will keep the avocado and banana from turning brown.
  4. Sprinkle with coriander and chilli, and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Serve with tortilla wraps.
  6. Prep time: 15 mins Serves: 2 adults as part of a meal or 4 as a dip

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This blog post is sponsored by Australian Bananas

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