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You’ll be given a long list of do’s and don’ts during pregnancy, of which eating habits often form a large part. Pistachios offer health benefits to people in various ways. Delicious and crunchy when eaten raw, these nuts can also be used for cooking. Also commonly known as pista, they grow on small trees and shrubs found in the subtropical and tropical regions of Asia, Africa, and the USA. They are considered one of the oldest nuts known to mankind and are believed to have existed as far back as 6,000 B.C.
Is it Safe to Eat Pistachios During Pregnancy?
It is considered safe to eat pistachios in moderation during pregnancy. Eating too many of them during pregnancy might result in certain side-effects. This is why it should be consumed as per the recommended quantity. There are plenty of nutritious benefits that this nut offers, and knowing about it will help you include it in your pregnancy diet the right way.
The Nutritional Value of Pistachios
Despite being a rich source of energy, pistachios are low in calories and pack a punch with other nutrients. Their high nutritional value can be seen in the fact that approximately 30 gm of these nuts has 6 gm of proteins, 2.8 gm of fibre, and 12.7 gm of total fat. The amount of calories is about 500 per 100 gm.
Benefits of Eating Pista When Pregnant
One serving of pistachios can fulfil almost all your daily requirements of iron, calcium, folate, and potassium when pregnant. These are all essential for the growth and development of your baby, while in the womb. The benefits of pistachios are:
- Pistachios are a rich source of protein, which is essential for the development of baby’s muscles and tissues.
- The monounsaturated fatty acids they contain can help increase good cholesterol levels and lower bad cholesterol, thus balancing lipid levels.
- The presence of antioxidants like Vitamin E, Vitamin A, carotenes, and polyphenolic compounds increases your immunity.
- The copper content in pistachios helps maintain red blood count during pregnancy.
- Their anti-inflammatory properties help combat joint pain and swelling during pregnancy.
- The fibre content of the nuts helps fight constipation that pregnant women are prone to.
- Omega-3 fatty acids in pistachios facilitate the baby’s brain development.
- They contain quite a few B-complex vitamins like riboflavin, niacin, thiamin, Vitamin B6, and folate, which are important for foetal development.
How Many Pistachios Can You Eat Per Day?
It is not advisable to eat more than fifteen pistachios in a day because too much can lead to an excess of essential oils in the body. This can then lead to nausea or headaches, which can be detrimental to the brain. In pregnant women, too much pista can also lead relaxation of muscles that could result in premature birth of the baby.
Harmful Effects of Eating Pistachios
There are certain side-effects of pista and it is advisable to talk to your gynaecologist before including these in your pregnancy diet. They are:
- Pistachios are also categorised as nuts and contain anacardic acid, which is the allergy-causing chemical compound present in nuts. Thus, the possibility of an allergic reaction cannot be ruled out especially if you are allergic to some other types of nuts.
- The presence of fructans in pistachios can lead to digestive issues such as diarrhoea, constipation, bloating, pain in the abdomen, and flatulence.
- These crunchy nuts are best eaten raw, as roasted ones contain more sodium, which can increase blood pressure and are not recommended during pregnancy.
- The nuts are also believed to have heat inducing properties which can have an adverse effect on the health of a pregnant woman.
How to Include Pista in Your Diet
There are plenty of ways in which you can include pistachios in your daily diet during pregnancy. Here are some useful tips:
- You can eat them raw as a snack or choose to include them in dishes you cook.
- Try adding pista to fruit salad for some crunch and variation.
- You can also try making a rough powder of pista nuts to dip chicken breasts coated in beaten eggs in, before grilling or frying.
- Top off frozen yoghurt, oatmeal, or cereals with pista for a nutritious breakfast or dessert after meals.
- Try making a milkshake with pista, saffron, cardamom, and almonds for those times when you are hungry and need something filling.
- Kesar pista kulfi is something you can make in a jiffy when you feel like eating something cool during the hot summer months.
Pistachio Frozen Yoghurt Recipe
This is a healthy dessert that you can enjoy during the summer months, without having to worry about you or the baby’s health being compromised.
- 1 cup frozen yoghurt
- 1/2 cup crushed pistachios
- 2 mashed bananas
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
How to Make
- Add all the ingredients, except the pistachios, into a bowl and whisk until smooth. You can also use a blender, but whisking the mixture will make the frozen yoghurt airy.
- Add 3/4 of the crushed pistachios and mix well, in a ‘figure 8’ motion, to not let much air escape from the mixture.
- Pour the mixture into a pan and sprinkle the remaining crushed pistachios on top.
- Cover the pan tightly with a plastic wrap or cling film to avoid any icicles forming.
- Freeze for three to four hours or until ready to serve.
- Remove from the freezer, scoop, and serve. If the mixture seems too hard, keep the pan out of the fridge for five to 10 minutes and then scoop.
As with most things in life, too much of this nut can be detrimental, especially to pregnant women. By sticking to the daily permissible limit, you can reap the maximum benefits of this nutritive nut and avoid any side-effects. So, unless you have been specifically told to steer clear of pistachios by your doctor, go ahead and relish your daily serving!
References and Resources: Livestrong
Also Read: Eating Cashew Nuts during Pregnancy