Pregnancy comes with a lot of caution. You become careful of what you do, what you wear, and most importantly, what you eat. Sometimes, pregnancy may not respect your desires, therefore, you find yourself craving foods you can’t eat during pregnancy. In addition, you have to consider the benefits and safety of eating certain things, like walnuts, while expecting.
Now that you’re pregnant, should you eat walnuts?
In this article, you will find an answer to the all-important question about eating walnuts during pregnancy. In addition, you’d also learn about the possible benefits of walnuts in pregnancy and their potential side effects.
Are Walnuts Safe in Pregnancy?
Like a number of other fruits, walnuts can be consumed raw or added to other foods in their chopped form. They are edible and very delicious nuts that belong to the class of nuts such as cashew nuts. Walnuts can be eaten fully, with the skin inclusive.
They help in the development and proper functioning of the brain and also contain a good amount of:
- Vitamins like vitamins E and B
- Essential fatty acids
In addition, walnuts are a rich source of antioxidants.
It is safe to eat walnuts during pregnancy, although they should be eaten in moderation. They provide great benefits to the body during pregnancy. Despite these benefits, you shouldn’t eat more than 3-5 walnuts a day during pregnancy. That being said, what are the benefits walnuts provide during pregnancy?
What are the benefits of eating walnuts in pregnancy?
As we mentioned earlier, this article contains the major health benefits of eating walnuts during pregnancy.
These advantages include:
1. It helps to control blood pressure and blood sugar
Walnuts contain plant sterols which can help in controlling blood cholesterol levels and also increase the high-density cholesterol (HDL, the good cholesterol) levels in the body. They also contain healthy fats and antioxidants that help in reducing the inflammation of blood vessels, thereby helping to control high blood pressure during pregnancy.
In addition, walnuts also help to control your blood sugar by preventing sugar spikes, hence, you won’t binge eat.
2. Walnuts boost the immune system
During pregnancy, your immune system is a little bit suppressed in order to accommodate the new life growing inside of you. Hence, you should eat foods that help to boost your immunity in order to prevent infections, viruses, and others.
Thankfully, the vitamins and minerals found in walnut help to boost your immune system.
Walnuts contain very unique antioxidants. These antioxidants are not really found anywhere else and about 90% of these antioxidants are found in the skin of the walnut. These antioxidants help to boost your immunity during pregnancy.
3. Walnuts help in the development of your baby’s brain and eyes
Walnuts are a good source of folate and good fat such as omega-3 fat and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). These nutrients help in the proper growth and development of your baby’s brain and eyes.
Folate is a crucial nutrient needed during pregnancy. It helps to prevent some birth defects such as neural tube defects (NTDs) and other complications. If you’re trying to get pregnant or you are already pregnant, you can’t be wrong with walnuts.
4. Supports healthy weight gain
It is normal for you to gain a little weight during pregnancy. You need to make sure that your weight gain is healthy so that you won’t be at risk of being overweight after pregnancy. Eating walnuts is a great way to manage your weight gain during pregnancy.
5. It helps to induce sleep
Walnuts are a great source of melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone that helps to regulate sleep, making it a great sleep inducer. Getting enough sleep in your third trimester may seem impossible; hence, it is important to eat walnuts so as to help you get a good sleep.
6. It promotes proper cognitive functioning
Walnuts help to promote cognitive function. This helps to improve memory, increase processing speed and increase mental flexibility for you and your baby.
Also, the polyunsaturated fatty acids, polyphenols, and vitamin E found in walnuts help to reduce oxidative damage and inflammation in the brain. This leads to healthier brain functioning.
What is the best time to eat walnuts during pregnancy?
Walnuts are best during your first and third trimesters. They help to improve neurodevelopment in your baby during the first trimester and also help you get good sleep during your third trimester.
What are the possible side effects of eating walnuts during pregnancy?
There are potential risks associated with eating walnuts during pregnancy.
- Food allergy: if you are allergic to certain foods, be careful and very cautious before adding walnuts to your diet. Doing otherwise may trigger your immune system, leading to allergic symptoms. Introduce walnuts to your dies gradually to know if you are allergic to them.
- Digestive issues: Without proper care, eating walnuts in excess during pregnancy may lead to diarrhea and bloating.
- Iron absorption: eating walnuts may interfere with the absorption of iron, leading to anemia in the long run.
Walnuts are a great addition to your diet during pregnancy. Before adding a new food like walnuts to your diet while expecting, ensure you consult your doctor. This is a safe thing to do as your doctor will be able to guide you on the best foods for you during pregnancy and foods to avoid based on your health record.
Also, go for natural walnuts. Avoid processed walnuts such as sugar-coated, salt-coated, or candied walnuts. These processed walnuts contain some other nutrients which may be in excess for you such as sugar and salt.