Consumption of Chia Seeds During Pregnancy – Is it Safe?
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Chia seeds are healthy and are considered as a superfood. They are highly nutritious and are easily available in grocery stores. But can these tiny nutritious seeds be consumed during pregnancy? Pregnancy is a delicate time and naturally, a woman should eat everything nutritious foods that she can while she is pregnant. If you are also expecting a baby, no doubt, you will be curious to know whether or not you can consume chia seeds in pregnancy, especially if you love eating them. So read on before you garnish a healthy dish with a handful of chia seeds.
Are Chia Seeds Safe During Pregnancy?
Chia seeds are safe to consume during pregnancy and can actually boost the chances of a healthy delivery. Around 100g of chia seeds provide 20g of protein approximately. Consuming 1 tablespoon of chia seeds can provide you with 3g of protein. Chia seeds also contain iron and calcium – both of these minerals are essential for a healthy pregnancy.
Nutritional Value of Chia Seeds
Here is a breakdown of the nutrients these seeds offer. Every 100 g of chia seeds has approximately the following quantities of each nutrient. Go through this chart that illustrates the nutritional value of chia seeds
|Nutrient||Amount Per 100 Grams|
|Total Carbs||42 g|
|Total Fat||31 g|
|Vitamin C||1.6 mg|
|Vitamin A||54 IU|
Benefits of Eating Chia Seeds During Pregnancy
Chia seeds are undoubtedly healthy and make for a great addition in our daily diet. But what benefits do they offer to pregnant women? Find out! We are sure after reading the benefits of chia seeds, you will include them in your pregnancy diet more and often.
1. It can help prevent constipation.
Pregnancy can be a tough time for you as the hormonal changes that happen during this time can wreak havoc on your digestive system. As your pregnancy progresses, you will battle with constipation almost daily. However, by eating fibre-rich foods like chia seeds can help with this problem and keep your digestive system healthy and happy. Consuming chia seeds can aid regular bowel movements, thereby preventing constipation and haemorrhoids, which is also common during pregnancy.
2. It can help prevent anaemia.
Iron-deficiency anaemia is another common pregnancy-related complication. While pregnant, your body will need iron in adequate amounts for the production of red blood cells. Red blood cells are required for carrying oxygen around your body and to your baby. Hence, you must up your iron intake. Chia seeds are an excellent source of iron, and you should include them in your diet from the early stages of pregnancy itself.
3. It helps in building strong bones.
Your doctor must have suggested you include calcium-rich foods in your diet for obvious reasons. Calcium helps build and strengthen the bones and teeth of your little one. Now you must be thinking of drinking several glasses of milk to meet your calcium requirements, but you don’t have to do just that. You can consume chia seeds raw or include them in various dishes you make. If you love to drink milk, you can even add chia seeds to the milk and drink it. Calcium will ensure proper skeletal development of your baby and even help build his tooth buds. You can get calcium from fruits, veggies, dairy products, and chia seeds, of course!
4. It can help maintain blood sugar levels.
Hormonal changes during pregnancy can lead to an accumulation of glucose in your blood, which should be controlled in time otherwise it might lead to gestational diabetes. High blood sugar levels affect your health as well as your baby’s health (it increases the chances of birth defects). Furthermore, high blood sugar in the early stages of pregnancy can put you at a risk of miscarriage. By including chia seeds in your diet, you can control your blood sugar levels. The fibre in chia seeds can slow down the absorption of sugar in your blood and keep it stable, thereby lowering the risk of Type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
5. It can help promote foetal development.
Chia seeds are a healthy source of protein, which is an extremely important nutrient during pregnancy as it promotes the development of organs (including the brain) and cells of the foetus. So you cannot just compromise with your protein requirements. Additionally, protein can even help you keep satiated during pregnancy. While pregnant, you will constantly feel hungry but that doesn’t mean you overeat (it is unhealthy). You can eat protein-rich foods like tofu, nuts, meat, and chia seeds.
These are some benefits that you will derive by including chia seeds in your diet. But they do not stop here. Eating chia seeds can provide you with the energy you need for the day and the presence of omega-3 fatty acids in them can also help in the brain development of the baby.
How to Consume Chia Seeds
Chia seeds can be used in a wide variety of dishes. If you are looking for ways to include them in your pregnancy diet, here’s how you can do that.
1. Chia Seeds With Water
Chia seeds can be put in a glass of water for consumption. You can soak chia seeds overnight in water and drink the water during the day. Alternatively, you can even drink the water with chia seeds in them.
2. Raw Chia Seeds
Chia seeds can even be consumed raw. Since these seeds last longer and aren’t perishable, they are great for snacking on the go.
3. Recipes With Chia Seeds
If you’re in the mood for satisfying your cravings, here are some healthy chia seed recipes you can make at home –
Chia Seeds Sandwich
Since chia seeds have a neutral flavour, you can add them to a variety of sandwiches. To make chia seeds sandwich, take two slices of bread. Place 4 cucumber slices, some lettuce, 2 tomato slices, and other favourite toppings on 1 slice of the bread. Sprinkle some chia seeds and cover with another slice, and you are good to go!
Chia Seeds Smoothie
Our most recommended recipe is the coconut yoghurt chia seed smoothie. Here’s how you can make it –
- 3 sliced bananas
- 4 pitted and halved dates
- 2 cups of coconut milk yoghurt
- 1/4 cup coconut water
- 1 small portion of blueberries
- 1/4 cup of chia seeds
Take all the ingredients and put them in a blender. Blend well then transfer it to an airtight container. Keep it in the refrigerator for 20 minutes. Allow the mixture to chill. Make sure to add your favourite toppings before consuming it. Alternatively, you can make chia seed smoothie by using coconut milk, cinnamon powder, maple syrup, and vanilla extract. Blend all the ingredients in a blender and add your favourite fruit toppings or chocolate shavings to make a delicious smoothie!
Chia seeds can be added to a wide variety of salads. Whether it is fruit salad or a salad full of leafy greens, you can add chia seeds to it to enjoy a healthy treat.
Side Effects of Eating Chia Seeds While Pregnant
Although chia seeds are very nutritious, there are a few potential side effects you should be aware of. The rule of ‘moderation is the key’ is what you should follow. Here are some side effects of consuming chia seeds in pregnancy.
Consuming chia seeds in high amounts can lead to gastrointestinal problems. It can cause constipation, bloating, hard stools, and diarrhoea.
Chia seeds are blood thinners and may lower your blood pressure and cause bleeding.
Although chia seeds regulate blood sugar levels, they may interact with certain drugs and medication.
Chia seeds may also trigger allergic reactions like rashes, hives, and watery eyes.
Chia seeds are a necessity for pregnant women due to their high protein content and excellent nutrition profile. We recommend that you speak to your doctor and find out whether they interfere with your existing medications before you begin incorporating them in your diet. As always, add one to two tablespoons of chia seeds a day during pregnancy and you’ll be all set for your pregnancy!
References & Resources: Healthline & Livestrong
Also Read: Consuming Ginger During Pregnancy