As a pregnant woman, you tend to take extra care when it comes to diet, exercise and anything else that can affect your baby. You might be sceptical about consuming certain foods because of their safety aspect. One such food that a lot of pregnant women have their doubts on is almond or nuts in general. Is it better to stay away from almonds during pregnancy or do they come with a whole lot of benefits you don’t want to miss out on?
The verdict is out ladies - Almonds are not only completely safe to be eaten during pregnancy but they are also highly recommended as they are a rich source of iron, calcium, folic acid and fiber - Everything that makes for a happy and a healthy pregnancy. However, it is better to avoid almonds if you have a history of being allergic to nuts.
How Do You Consume Almonds During Pregnancy?
Raw almonds are highly nutritious. You can have them as a snack on their own or sprinkle them over your salads, cereals and yoghurt. If you’re baking bread or cake on your own, just add a few almonds to the mix. Just an ounce of almonds has about 1 milligram of iron, 75 milligrams of calcium, 14 milligrams of folic acid, 6 grams of protein and 3.5 grams of fibre.
Are Soaked Almonds Better Than Raw Almonds?
Soaking almonds overnight is known to increase the nutritional value of the nut because of the enzymes that are released in the process.
- After soaking overnight, you can remove the outer brown peel of the almonds that contains tannin. Tannin is known to reduce your body’s ability to absorb nutrients.
- Phytic acid that is present in almonds might cause mineral deficiency. Soaked almonds don’t contain as much phytic acid as raw almonds, so they’re great for your bones and teeth.
- Soaking these nuts in salt can neutralize the enzyme inhibitors especially ones that stop the breaking down of gluten. This means that soaked almonds can help digest gluten easier.
What can one expect from eating soaked almonds during pregnancy?
Benefits of Soaked Almonds during pregnancy
1. Enhances metabolism
Metabolism is really important to make sure you don’t gain too much weight during pregnancy. Women with metabolism issues tend to become overweight or obese during pregnancy, thereby increasing their chances of giving birth to obese babies. Almonds are a good source of healthy carbohydrates that aid metabolism and reduce blood sugar levels and inflammation.
2. Meets iron requirement
During pregnancy (especially first trimester), your iron requirements are higher than usual. As already mentioned above, just an ounce of almonds provides you with 1.1 mg of iron which is equivalent to 6% of your RDA(Required dietary allowance). Combined with healthy diet, almonds are great to make sure you don’t develop an iron deficiency.
3. Protects your unborn child
Since almonds are high in vitamin E and zinc, they are likely to decrease the chances of your child being affected by asthma. Also, eating nuts during pregnancy will prevent your child from being allergic to them when s/he grows up.
4. Helps in digestion
Constipation and other gastrointestinal problems are common during pregnancy because of the pressure on the digestive system. The fibre present in almonds will do half the work for you by easing digestion and regulating bowel movement.
5. Strengthens baby’s bones
The high calcium content in almonds will help in the formation of your unborn baby’s teeth and bones. It also helps fight preeclampsia which is categorized by high blood pressure and protein in the urine during the second trimester.
6. Keeps you strong and healthy
Speaking of protein, you need a good amount of it during pregnancy to maintain your stamina. Eating almonds on a daily basis can prevent fatigue and help in the healthy development of your baby’s weight.
7. Aids neurological development of the baby
Folic acid that is present in almonds is essential for the development of baby’s brains and neurological system. It even helps prevent neural tube defects in the baby.
Almonds, raw or soaked, are extremely beneficial during pregnancy. As with anything, having excess of almonds can lead to premature delivery because of increased body heat and fat. Eat a handful of almonds every day, which would be about 8 to 10 almonds. Do not consume more than an ounce of almonds(approximately 23 almonds).
If you think eating the same old almonds every day might get boring, then you can also drink almond milk. You can substitute cow milk in your diet with almond milk. It is a rich source of vitamins and minerals which not only keeps your heart healthy but is also great for gestational diabetes. Avoid drinking almond milk if you’re prone to allergies or are suffering from thyroid dysfunction.