Eating Almonds while Pregnant

Eating Almonds While Pregnant

Women need to be careful of what they eat during pregnancy as their bodies are vulnerable at this time and certain foods can cause an adverse reaction. Almonds or badam comprise essential fat, protein and important vitamins that are all required for healthy growth of the baby in each trimester. If the right amounts are added to everyday meals, a healthy pregnancy is sure to follow.

The following are some of the frequently asked topics, questions and their answers regarding the benefits of badam in pregnancy.

Consuming Almonds During Pregnancy

Contrary to the belief that almonds are unsafe to consume during pregnancy, the fact is that they are safe and healthy if taken in moderation. Let us look at some of the benefits of consuming badam in pregnancy. Almonds are rich in all the nutrients discussed below:

  • Fibre is essential for proper digestion while Vitamin E keeps skin and hair healthy.
  • Magnesium, Riboflavin, and Folate (Vitamin B9) are required for proper brain functioning as well as maintaining the nervous system.
  • Manganese regulates body weight in both mother and child.

Nutritional Value Of Almond (Badam)

Raw almonds can be consumed as a snack or in meals, provided they are taken in moderation.

Nutrition Chart Of Almond (Amount Per 100 Gms):

  • Energy – 576 Kcal
  • Carbohydrates – 21.69 gms
  • Fat – 49.42 gms
  • Protein – 21.22 gm
  • Vitamins – Beta Carotene, A, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B9, Choline, E, K
  • Trace Metals – Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, Phosphorus, Potassium, Sodium, Zinc

(Source: National Nutrient Database)

From the above chart, we can see that there are a variety of nutrients packed in the small-sized almond!

Is It Safe To Eat Almonds(Badam) In Pregnancy?

Generally, women tend to abstain from consuming nuts and dry fruits during pregnancy due to their high heat and fat content.

The truth is, almonds are completely safe to consume during pregnancy. Rumours and myths that eating nuts during pregnancy render the unborn baby with nut allergies lack scientific basis. The only reason to avoid them is when you are allergic to them. If you are allergic to almonds or nuts in general, please consult a doctor before adding them to your diet. But if you were not allergic to them before pregnancy, chances are you will not be allergic even during pregnancy.

However, please note that excessive intake of raw almonds has been linked in some reports to premature delivery. Thus, moderation is paramount.

A safe and healthy way to consume almonds is by soaking them in water and peeling the skin before consuming. The skin contains tannin, a compound used to keep the nutrients locked in the almond. Peeling off the skin will release the nutrients. Enzymes useful for digestion are also released when the almonds are soaked.

Top Health Benefits Of Eating Almonds During Pregnancy

Science has backed consumption of badam during pregnancy as safe. Here are some of the main health benefits associated with almonds:

  1. Almonds provide folic acid, an integral requirement for the brain and neurological development of the foetus.
  2. Almonds are a good source of dietary fat and carbs. They also help in reducing oxidative stress, inflammation, and blood sugar. This prevents babies from metabolic disorders later in life, usually in the case of high-risk pregnancies such as obesity and diabetes in the mother-to-be.
  3. Almonds help decrease the hunger hormone ghrelin and increase the appetite-reducing hormone leptin. This helps you maintain a healthy weight. It will also help you later with reducing weight post-pregnancy.
  4. It is rich in iron which helps to develop the baby’s heart and boosts immunity.
  5. Eating 4-6 almonds every morning can improve your memory.
  6. Soak almonds throughout the night and boil them next morning and make a paste. This paste, when used as a face scrub, exfoliates the dead skin cells and gives you radiant skin.
  7. When the almonds are soaked, it initiates the release of an essential lipase which assists in the breaking down of fat. This improves the digestion and absorption of nutrients.
  8. Studies show that almond consumption helps in increasing the amount of alpha-tocopherol, a compound present in blood that regulates the blood pressure.

Precautions to be taken while Consuming Almonds during Pregnancy

1. Vitamin E Overdose

Almonds are one of the best source of vitamin E, providing 48% of the recommended intake in just 1 ounce. Other food consumed during pregnancy like green leafy vegetables and fruits also contain substantial amounts of vitamin E. Too much vitamin E consumption can lead to blurred visions, headaches and diarrhea.

2. Bloating and Constipation

Consuming more almonds than the recommended intake, may cause bloating and constipation. This is because almonds are fiber rich and your body is not used to consume so much of fiber on daily basis.

Best Ways to Consume Almonds

1. Snacking on raw almonds

Dicing them and sprinkling across a variety of dishes such as salads adds a crunchy and rich taste. Eating them raw makes for a quick snack as well.

2. Soaked almonds

Soaking the almonds overnight removes toxins from its coat, decomposes its gluten content and releases phytic acid. This makes it a much healthier alternative to consuming them raw.

3. Almond milk for pregnancy

Though not as healthy as cow’s milk, almond milk is still highly nutritional and provides a great choice for those who are lactose intolerant.

4. Almond butter

Making the almonds into a food paste gives you almond butter. Adding water to it gives almond milk. Almond butter is a great source of proteins, fibre and healthy fats, and also reduces bad cholesterol.

How Many Almonds Should A Pregnant Woman Eat A Day?

A single ounce (28 gram) comprises 23 almonds on an average. Eating one ounce per day has been judged to provide the best benefit without any drawbacks.

In 1 ounce of almonds, there are 164 calories, 14.36g Fat (73%), 5.6g Carbs (14%) and 6.03g Protein (13%).

Mixing almonds with raisins and dates decrease the Pitta aggravation in blood. Pitta is present in the digestive tract and can cause heartburn and acidity when not maintained at the right level.

If you want a schedule on when and how many almonds to consume, 10 in the morning and 10 in the evening can be a good plan. Every individual is different, so build a plan that suits your body in consultation with the doctor.

Conclusion: Considering the numerous advantages that this nut offers, non-allergic pregnant women should definitely incorporate badam into their diets. Make sure to always eat them in moderation, as consuming too much can have bad repercussions. Try leaving the almonds soaked in water through the night. The benefits are much more compared to when they are dry. Space the consumption evenly and enjoy good health and a happy pregnancy.