5 Reasons for Orange Juice and Other Citrus Cravings During Pregnancy
From ice cream to toothpaste; variety of food and drinks; orange juice and other citrus cravings during pregnancy can be unusual and that’s OK!
Most women experience food cravings during pregnancy. Some crave chocolate and ice cream while others look for savory and tangy foods to curb their hunger spells. You may crave something for a reason or none at all.
5 Reasons for Orange Juice Cravings during Pregnancy
Food cravings usually begin during the first trimester. This is the time when the body needs energy for the developing fetus. Eating a balanced diet throughout pregnancy is very important for both mother and child.
But pregnant women may crave something that may or may not have any nutritional value. If you have cravings for orange juice during pregnancy, there can be one or more of these 5 reasons behind it.
1- Nutritional Deficiencies
The nutritional needs of the body change when you get pregnant. Your body requires approximately 300 extra calories every day. Nutritional deficiencies may be a reason behind unusual food cravings during pregnancy. The body expresses its need for lack of nutrients in the form of food cravings. So, if you crave orange juice or another citrus, it might be a sign that your body lacks vitamin C.
2- Hormonal Changes
Food cravings are associated with hormonal changes. Hormonal imbalance can affect your sense of taste and smell. You may develop a strong liking for the food you hated before and vice versa. So, if you are specifically craving for orange juice or other citrus, it’s your hormones at play.
It’s very much normal to feel tired, exhausted, and stressed during pregnancy. Your body is going through a lot and you need to deal with these physical and psychological changes. Vitamin C is known to help reduce stress.
Studies show that sniffing citrus significantly reduces anxiety and depression. So whether you crave the smell or the taste of the citrus, it is good for your mental and physical wellbeing.
4- Fighting Infections
The body is more prone to infections during pregnancy. The body’s defense mechanism looks for ways to fight off these infections. A strong craving for orange juice or citrus during pregnancy could mean your body is trying to fight off an infection.
Vitamin C helps increase the production of white blood cells. These white blood cells makeup body’s immune system and are key to fighting infections. So, eating more citrus or drinking orange juice means a healthier immune system and lesser infections.
5- Gut Bacteria
An imbalanced gut can also be a reason for craving orange juice or citrus. Gut bacteria can influence food preferences. These microorganisms induce cravings for food they love. They also induce a feeling of dissatisfaction until you eat food they crave. So if you are craving orange juice or another citrus during pregnancy, it is because of the gut bacteria.
Can Orange Juice and Other Citrus Cravings mean I am pregnant?
No, orange juice and citrus cravings do not mean you are pregnant. Well, there are several myths attached to pregnancy. According to one myth, if a woman craves citrus, it is a sign she is expecting. This isn’t true of course based! There can be several reasons for orange juice cravings and pregnancy can be one of them. But it is not the sole reason for citrus craving.
Citrus Craving and Gender Prediction
No, that’s not true. Craving for a particular food cannot be associated with the baby’s gender. Yet, in many parts of the world, people believe that if a pregnant woman craves citrus, she is expecting a baby girl. It can be coincidental though but it is not backed with scientific research. So, don’t keep your hopes high because you might end up having a boy after buying all the pinks.
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Benefits of Orange Juice and Other Citrus during Pregnancy
You need a lot of energy to maintain a healthy pregnancy. When I say “a lot”, don’t underestimate it! You are going to need all sorts of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and proteins for not only your wellbeing but for the baby as well. Your balanced diet is incomplete without oranges, lemons, and other fruits of the citrus family.
Here are some health benefits of consuming oranges and other citrus during pregnancy:
- Eating oranges or drinking freshly squeezed orange juice boosts immunity. A stronger immune system means fewer infections and allergies.
- Oranges and other citrus are rich sources of Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, iron, folic acid, and zinc which are essential for the brain development of the baby. Oranges have folate which helps in the development of a healthy placenta.
- Constipation is one of the things you don’t want to have during pregnancy. Oranges are rich in soluble and insoluble fiber which helps cure constipation by regulating bowel movement.
- Oranges have high potassium content that can help regulate blood pressure levels. It helps provide relief from hypertension.
- Craving for orange juice means you will be in taking good amounts of fluids. The fluids will not only keep you well hydrated but will help balance fluid levels in the body.
- The anti-oxidant property of oranges will keep your skin fresh. Your skin will glow even on the worst days of your pregnancy. Eating citrus will keep your skin taut and firm. It will moisturize the skin and will help prevent acne outbursts.
How much Orange is good during Pregnancy?
When you crave something during pregnancy, it can become uncontrollable. You may crave your favorite food in the middle of the night and there is no stopping it. Although orange and citrus consumption is good during pregnancy, anything excessive is bad. So you may ask how much orange or citrus consumption is good for you and your baby.
Pregnant women can consume up to 85mg of Vitamin C daily. Three oranges or their equivalent in the form of juice can be consumed to meet the requirement. Your daily intake of citrus should not exceed the recommended amount as the excess of citrus can cause acidity and you don’t want to go there. If you are taking Vitamin C supplements, you should consume oranges and citrus fruits in moderate amounts. It is better to consult a doctor about the right dosage of vitamin C.
Side Effects of Eating Oranges and Other Citrus during Pregnancy
Pregnancy is a very delicate period and you should be very careful about what you eat . Although fruits are good options as they provide all necessary nutrients, consuming any fruit in excess can lead to complications. Here are some side effects of eating more than recommended or required amount of oranges during pregnancy:
- The citric acid in oranges can cause sore throat.
- Although fiber in oranges is good for constipation, an excess amount of oranges can lead to an upset stomach.
- Oranges are acidic and can be a major cause of acidity and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) in pregnant women.
- An excess amount of vitamin C can lead to premature labor.
Food cravings are a normal part of pregnancy. You are going to remember the midnight drives to a particular store for buying the food you craved. Enjoy the moments and eat whatever you want but with caution.
Have a safe pregnancy!