When it comes to health and wellness, pregnant women are in a special category. Every little thing that goes inside a pregnant woman’s tummy will have a significant impact on the baby, both physically and mentally. In fact, this is the time of their life when they must consume all of the essential nutrients they require to have a healthy baby, and this is where almonds come into play.
Eating almonds during pregnancy is a great way to ensure proper nutrition for the unborn baby. They’re high in calcium, protein, vitamins, and minerals, all of which are beneficial to fetal development. Plus, they’re delicious!
In this post, I will provide you with 8 powerful reasons why pregnant women should consume almonds. Also, I’ll address some of the most frequently asked questions related to almonds and pregnancy.
Also read: The 11 Best Types of Almonds, You Are Going to Love!
8 Reasons to eat almonds during pregnancy
Almonds have a long list of health benefits, and there’s no time in your life that this little nutritional powerhouse is more beneficial than during pregnancy. Here are eight reasons why a pregnant woman should be snacking on some almonds daily:
Related reading: 10 Best Dry Fruits During Pregnancy For A Healthy Baby
Regulate bowel movements and prevent constipation
Due to the hormone-slowed digestive system and organ-displacing womb, Irregular bowel movements and constipation are frequently occurring problems during pregnancy. According to studies, the primary reason behind these two is the low fiber intake.
Almonds are an excellent fiber source with about 3.1g of fiber in 1 ounce(28gm). Eating almonds helps in the proper digestion, weight control, sugar levels control, preventing constipation, and regulating bowel movements. Moreover, studies have shown that eating almonds regularly helps to reduce the risk of preeclampsia and prevents later childhood allergy developments.
Prevent birth defects
There are a variety of birth defects that can occur in a baby during pregnancy. In fact, about 2% to 3% of all babies are born with a birth defect. The severity of these defects, as well as their impact on your baby’s health, can vary.
However, these birth defects can be avoided if you eat enough almonds in your diet before and during pregnancy.
Almonds are high in folate, also known as folic acid or vitamin B9, that can help prevent a birth defect of the brain and spine called neural tube defects (NTD’s). Furthermore, almonds aid in the healthy development of the fetus during early pregnancy.
Good source of Iron
According to studies, women are most vulnerable to iron deficiency during pregnancy. In fact, during pregnancy, women require twice as much iron as they did before. The body needs this iron to produce more blood to carry oxygen to your baby, and your baby also requires iron to make his own blood.
With about 1.2 mg of iron per ounce, almonds are a good source of iron, ensuring that your baby gets enough oxygen and blood for healthy development. Furthermore, eating almonds keeps you from becoming tired and helps you avoid problems like premature birth and low birth weight.
Prevent pregnancy swelling
Protein becomes increasingly essential from the first to the last week of your pregnancy. According to research, getting enough protein in your diet is critical for a healthy pregnancy.
Almonds are a protein-rich food containing about 5.8gm of protein per ounce, which helps meet the additional protein requirement during pregnancy. Daily consumption of almonds during pregnancy aids in the development of your baby’s cells, skin, hair, fingernails, and muscles. Moreover, Almonds help keep blood pressure in check and prevent pregnancy swelling(edema).
Good source of calcium
Calcium is an essential nutrient for a pregnant woman, along with other vitamins and minerals. If you don’t get enough calcium while pregnant, your body will take it from your bones and teeth to give to your baby, leading to weak bones and osteoporosis later in life. As a result, you’ll need extra calcium to keep your bones and teeth strong while your baby is growing inside you.
Almonds are a good source of calcium than many other foods, such as milk and curd, with 246 mg of calcium per cup. Eating almonds ensures that the little one in your stomach gets all the calcium it needs for future bone and tooth development.
In addition, almonds can be a good option for lactose-intolerant women who can’t drink milk or eat curd during pregnancy.
Ease morning sickness
Morning sickness, also known as nausea and vomiting of pregnancy (NVP), is a common symptom that occurs during the first three months of pregnancy. It affects around 80% of pregnant women.
Almonds are a good source of the nutrient riboflavin, which provides about 25% of the daily value. Riboflavin, also known as vitamin B2, is an essential nutrient that gives your body energy while you’re pregnant. Eating almonds can help you ease your morning sickness and fatigue. It may also help prevent muscle cramps, which are common in pregnant women.
Packed with antioxidants
When the number of free radicals (harmful molecules) in your body rises, oxidative stress occurs. This oxidative stress during pregnancy makes many women suffer from different complications, such as uterine cramps, hypertension, and bleeding. Also, many studies have confirmed that this oxidative stress can be related to adverse pregnancy outcomes.
Almonds are high in antioxidants like vitamin C and E, which help to reduce the damage caused by oxidative stress in the body, resulting in a healthy pregnancy. Furthermore, according to the California Almond Board, eating a handful of almonds daily can lower LDL cholesterol by 4 to 5% from baseline.
High in magnesium
According to studies, women are at a higher risk of developing magnesium deficiency during pregnancy, which can have serious consequences for the mother, fetus, and children. Also, calcium deficiency is associated with a higher health risk for both mother and newborn, including restricted fetal growth, intrauterine growth restriction, gestational diabetes, preterm labor, and preeclampsia.
Almonds are a good source of magnesium, with about 80mg in just 1 ounce of almonds, or about 19% of the daily value. If you eat a handful of almonds while pregnant, you won’t have to worry about magnesium deficiency. Moreover, efficient dietary magnesium may also protect the risk of eczema in the offspring.
How many almonds should you consume while pregnant?
According to dietary guidelines, consuming 20-23 almonds is safe for an average person. However, almonds should not be consumed all at once; instead, spread them out throughout the day, such as 5 to 6 in the morning, some in lunch, and then some in the evening.
While pregnant, it is recommended that you consume 6-8 almonds per day. This amount of daily consumption of almonds will be enough to provide you with all the essential nutrients. You’ll also be eating various other foods, or your doctor may advise you to follow a special pregnancy diet. As a result, you’ll have to strike a healthy diet balance. Eating 6-8 almonds a day during pregnancy is pretty fine and enough.
How to eat almonds during pregnancy?
Eating raw almonds
Raw almonds have a delectable nutty flavour that can be enjoyed at any time of day. They can be used as a garnish on various dishes, including salads, puddings, and desserts.
One of the best ways to eat almonds during pregnancy is to soak them overnight and then peel the skin off in the morning. Soaking almonds removes the toxins present on the skin of almonds. It reduces the risk of any almond side effects, as many almond manufacturers now use preservatives to make their almonds look good and stay fresh.
You can also use your soaked almonds in any recipe.
Many people roast almonds to improve their taste, aroma, and crunchy texture. Roasted nuts have more calories and fat per gram than raw almonds, but the overall difference is minor. You can roast almonds with or without oil, but if you do, make sure the oil is of good quality.
You must also keep an eye on the temperature and duration of the roasting process. According to studies, when almonds are roasted at a low-to-medium temperature, the good fats are less likely to go bad. However, the higher the roasting temperature and the longer the roasting time, the more the almonds’ healthy fats will oxidize or turn into harmful fats.
Almond milk is a popular choice when it comes to dairy alternatives. It has a lot of benefits and is safe to drink during pregnancy. Almond milk provides calcium and vitamin D during pregnancy, which aids in the development of your baby’s bones. However, keep an eye on the amount of sugar in flavored almond milk.
If you have a history of allergies, it is recommended that you consume it in moderation to avoid gastrointestinal symptoms.
Almond butter is another way to get the nutritional benefits of almonds while pregnant. It can be a healthy substitute for people who are allergic to peanuts and cannot consume peanut butter.
What is the best time to consume almonds while pregnant?
It would be best to start consuming almonds from the first week of your pregnancy or preferably in the first trimester. When it comes to the best time to eat almonds, you can soak them overnight and eat them for breakfast the next day. You can also add them for lunch, dinner, or evening snacks.
You should avoid eating almonds at night if you’re close to your sleeping time. Consume them 2-3 hours before going to bed; in fact, during pregnancy, you should eat your last meal of the day 2-3 hours before sleeping.
Side effects of eating almonds during pregnancy
There are no side effects of eating almonds unless you consume them in excess. According to research, eating too many almonds can cause breathing problems, nervous breakdown, and weight gain.
Furthermore, almonds are high in fiber, which can cause constipation and make you feel bloated, crampy, or gassy if consumed in excess.
If you have a nut allergy or has any other type of allergy, you should consult your doctor before adding almonds to your diet.
In a nutshell, eating almonds daily during pregnancy can help pregnant women in various ways during their pregnancy, including regulating bowel movement, preventing constipation, reducing pregnancy swelling, preventing birth defects, and easing morning sickness. They also improve a mother’s overall health and her baby’s birth weight.
If you’re pregnant and haven’t yet included almonds in your daily diet, now is the time to start.
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