Is It Safe To Eat Jackfruit During Pregnancy?

Apples, strawberries, and bananas may be among some of your favorite fruits, but have you ever tried jackfruit? This special fruit originates from tropical trees in Asia, Africa, and South America, according to Cleveland Clinic. It's becoming increasingly popular because of its unique ability to be substituted for meat in vegan dishes. Gillian Culbertson, R.D., told Cleveland Clinic that unripe jackfruit, in particular, can be used as an ingredient in savory dishes to replace pork, chicken, tofu, and chickpeas. Even so, jackfruit may not be suitable for everyone, and you'll want to know whether it's safe to consume jackfruit during pregnancy.

Pregnant women have to be more mindful of what they put into their bodies, which could mean sacrificing some of their favorite foods. A 2019 review published in The Malaysian Journal of Medical Sciences describes one popular belief that originated in India and Malaysia suggesting that the consumption of papaya, jackfruit, bitter gourd, and pineapple during pregnancy can lead to miscarriage. 

This widespread belief may make pregnant women shy away from consuming jackfruit altogether. However, eating jackfruit during pregnancy is believed to be safe as long as it's in moderation. "[An] expectant mother can consume it in small amounts. Overdoing it is not a good idea, because it could lead to health issues for both the mother and baby," Dhwani Priyesha, a gynecologist, explained to HealthShots

For some women, eating jackfruit in moderation may carry health benefits. For others, choosing a different fruit may be a better option.

Benefits of eating jackfruit in moderation during pregnancy

Appropriate amounts of jackfruit can be an excellent source of health benefits for pregnant women. Consuming jackfruit in moderation may decrease a woman's risk of pre-eclampsia, strengthen her immune system, and relieve pregnancy symptoms like fatigue, nausea, and vomiting, notes MyLittleMoppet. The fruit is high in vitamin A, vitamin C, and antioxidants like zinc, while also being low in calories and cholesterol. When reasonable amounts of jackfruit are consumed, the growth and development of an unborn baby can benefit from these vitamins and nutrients. Vitamin A, in particular, supports eyesight development for a fetus in utero, according to MomJunction.

With jackfruit's high fiber content, it can improve constipation and other digestive issues that an expectant mother might be experiencing. The significant amount of fiber in jackfruit can also help preserve the health of a pregnant woman's uterus. In addition, the fruit is a good source of potassium and magnesium, which can protect against heart disease and prevent osteoporosis. 

Along with eating jackfruit, you could try jackfruit seeds. As explained by FirstCry, jackfruit seeds can be used to treat viral infections, and the minerals inside them promote healthy skin and hair. Foods high in iron, like jackfruit seeds, can also reduce the risk of iron deficiency during pregnancy. 

While these benefits sound impressive, eating jackfruit when pregnant isn't safe under every circumstance. Consuming jackfruit during pregnancy can sometimes have side effects, so it's important to know when to avoid it. 

Who should avoid eating jackfruit during pregnancy?

There are instances where pregnant women should steer clear of jackfruit and jackfruit seeds. For example, it's safer for pregnant women who are allergic to latex and birch pollen to refrain from consuming jackfruit, according to Pregnancy Food Checker

To ensure that jackfruit seeds are safe to consume, they must always be boiled or roasted/toasted, as mentioned by Being The Parent. The consumption of raw jackfruit seeds can impair the body's ability to digest protein. It's recommended that pregnant women who take anticoagulants, NSAIDS, aspirin, and antiplatelet medicines do not consume jackfruit seeds.

It's important to remember to not consume large amounts of jackfruit while pregnant, as it can trigger nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain, as explained by MyLittleMoppet. Women with gestational diabetes want to avoid jackfruit because too much of it can increase blood sugar levels in the body. In addition, jackfruit consumption can be dangerous for pregnant women with blood disorders, as it may trigger blood clotting. Eating too much could also induce diarrhea.

Despite the notion that eating jackfruit leads to miscarriage, MomJunction notes that there's no scientific evidence this is true in cases of moderate consumption. Nevertheless, each person's response to food is different, so it's crucial to consult your primary care physician and obstetrician-gynecologist to determine whether jackfruit is right for you personally.