Nuts and seeds during pregnancy are a good source of essential fatty acids, fiber, protein and minerals including calcium. Some nuts are also a good source of folate. Nuts also contain useful plant chemicals. During pregnancy nuts and seeds become a healthier alternative form of snacking.
Facts about Nuts and Seeds during Pregnancy
- Nuts are a rich source of vitamin E and the B vitamins, a whole host of minerals such as magnesium, manganese, selenium, zinc, copper, potassium, phosphorus and iron – all important for the developing fetus.
- Similarly seeds are rich in EFAs, B vitamins, protein and minerals.
- True, nuts are high in fat, but it's the good kind. However do not overdo the nuts as you will pile on the pounds.
- To derive the benefits of nuts, consume them raw. Shelled nuts should be stored in airtight containers or in the fridge to prevent them from going rancid. High oil content makes some nuts go rancid fast.
- Oil roasted nuts contain more unhealthy calories; also more likely to be high in sodium.
- Cold pressed oils of seeds and nuts are good alternatives.
- Although toasting enhances the flavor and makes it more palatable, it depletes the nutrients.
- Pregnant women following a strict vegetarian diet should include ample amounts of protein-rich nuts and seeds.
- Protein from vegetable sources such as nuts and seeds do not contain all the essential amino acids but if you combine your foods well you can meet your daily protein needs.
- Nuts such as almonds, cashews, peanuts, walnuts or pistachios are high in fat but provide a hefty dose of vitamins and minerals. They are okay in moderation. The same applies to seeds such as pumpkin, sesame or sunflower seeds.
- Consider snacks as part of your total diet as they are a perfect way to meet your daily quota of nutrient-rich, low fat and low sugar foods. Nuts and seeds form one of the alternatives of healthy snacking.
Nutritional role of NUTS
||Good source of iron, protein, niacin, minerals and vitamin E
||Eat in moderation; it is a common allergen. This oil is good for cooking since it is heat-resistant. An all-time favorite, peanut butter makes an excellent spread.
||Contains vitamin A and is an excellent source of protein
||The greener the variety the better the grade.
||One of the most nutritious nuts; high in calcium and the B vitamins and vitamin E
||Available as an oil.
||Contains vitamin C
||May trigger allergy.
||One of the few non-fish sources of omega 3. A tasty source of protein, fiber
||Oil form can be used on salads.
||A good protein-rich nut. Contains fiber, selenium and other useful minerals
||Best for snacking. They go rancid rather quickly
||Low in fat and high in carb
||Best cooked to reduce tannic acid
||Richest nut source of protein
||Best consumed when lightly toasted
||High in saturated fats.
||Lowest fat content of all the nuts. High in calcium, contains vitamin E and folate
||Also available in oil form
||Contains protein and minerals like calcium
||High in fat, especially monounsaturated fat which is useful in lowering cholesterol
Nutritional role of SEEDS
||Protein-packed, rich in minerals such as calcium, EFAs and vitamins A & E
||Seeds are used in some bread. Oil stores well but is not heat-tolerant -best used as a flavoring at end of cooking. May trigger allergy.
||High in vitamin E, B vitamins and minerals
||Again, used in some breads. Oil is good for cooking.
||Good source of dietary fiber, protein and B & E vitamins and minerals such as copper, iron etc
||Usually roasted. Eat as snacks or with salads.
||Source of minerals and B vitamins
||Use oil sparingly in salad dressings or at end of cooking.
||High in omega 3 EFA. Has lots of fiber
||Also known as flaxseed, it has a nutty flavor. Take as a supplement by grinding them or buy them ground and add to foods e.g. cereals
Expectant mothers with food allergies or a history of eczema, asthma, hay fever and other allergic reactions (rashes etc) should avoid highly allergenic foods such as peanuts during pregnancy. The allergy can be passed on to the child. If you have nut allergies, it is advisable to skip peanut products during pregnancy and the breastfeeding phase. Consult with your doctor if you or your husband has any such history.