You’ve heard of all the foods that you are not allowed to eat during pregnancy. But what about the foods that you can eat? There are many that worry almonds are on a banned list, due to the rise in allergic reactions in children. However, unless you are allergic to almonds yourself, there is no need to avoid eating them on a regular basis.
Almonds can be extremely beneficial for your health during pregnancy. Whether you eat them whole or switch your regular milk for almond milk, you can gain many health benefits for both you and your baby.
Here are 10 reasons you need to start eating almonds during pregnancy. Again, this is if you are not allergic or if your doctor has not told you not to eat them for some reason.
You Will Add More Protein to Your Diet
Almonds are an excellent source of protein, and this is a nutrient that you need more of in pregnancy. While protein is usually suggested for your own muscles, there is more to it when you are pregnant. Most of the nutrients you eat will be used by your baby to help with development. Protein is essential for the building of the tissues, muscles, and more within your baby’s body. It is essential for a healthy birth weight, which helps with the survival after the birth.
On top of that, the protein will offer you more energy throughout pregnancy and in labor. Your body must do a lot more than normal when carrying a baby. Being tired is normal, but there is the risk of leaning on sugary foods and caffeinated drinks to get you through the day. Protein offers more longer-term energy boosts.
It takes a while for the body to break down the protein. You end up fuelling the muscles for longer with a smaller amount. While weight loss won’t be on your mind, weight management will. You need to gain a little weight, but that needs to be kept within a healthy window (which will depend on your starting weight). Since protein is low in calories and breaks down slowly, you end up finding weight management much easier.
You Will Get More Fiber Throughout the Day
Almonds are also an excellent source of fiber. This is another essential nutrient for your energy levels. It is another one that breaks down slowly, so you end up feeling more satisfied with your meals for longer.
Fiber is also essential for the digestive system. Whether you eat soluble or insoluble fiber, both will help with the reduction in constipation and digestive complaints, which are common in pregnancy. The intestines do not have as much room due to the growing baby taking up space. It is normal for the bowels to struggle with this and constipation can be an issue.
You will also help with weight management, for the same reasons as eating more protein.
Add More Healthy Fats to Your Diet
Of course, almonds are also packed with healthy fats. There was a time that fats were considered back for you, but unsaturated fats in a small amount are good for you. They help to provide energy, while also supporting the health of your heart.
Almonds are packed with unsaturated fats. They support your liver function while offering good cholesterol. The blood vessels are lined with a smooth cover, making it easier for the blood to flow through. It is easier to keep the blood pressure down, providing a safe space for your baby to grow.
Healthy fat will also help with the development of your baby. You provide the omega-3 fatty acids needed for good brain development. Your baby also gets the fats needed to gain weight in the final trimester. Fat is required to help with temperature regulation after birth.
Make Sure Vitamin E Intake Is Up
While all nutrients are important, getting enough vitamin E is essential. The great news is almonds are full of these antioxidants.
Vitamin E will help with your skin and hair. It supports the cell production and renewal, keeping your body and skin healthy. However, it is not just good for the mother. Vitamin E will also help with the formation of your baby’s skin and hair. Without it, the skin and hair can be dry.
A baby’s skin is already sensitive. You want to help with good formation and structure to support the health of it in later life.
Get Plenty of Folate in Your Diet
Another nutrient that you need to add more of in your diet during pregnancy is folate. This is also called folic acid or vitamin B9. It helps with the formation of the central nervous system and brain and your doctor will usually advise you to take folic acid supplements. You should take them before you conceive, as your baby’s development starts long before you know you are pregnant!
While doctors advise taking the supplements in the first 12 weeks, there is no need to stop adding folic acid to your diet. Adding it throughout will ensure a healthier central nervous system even long after the initial development.
Folate has shown the ability to prevent neural tube defects in babies.
Ensure Strong Teeth and Bones
Manganese is often overlooked when it comes to the nutrients. We take it for granted, as we do not realize how important it is. Calcium is considered the essential nutrient for strong teeth and bones, but that is not actually the case. Manganese also plays a huge part.
Almonds are luckily packed with both calcium and manganese. They work together to ensure your baby’s bones develop strong. Healthy bones will help to avoid many health problems, including brittle bone disease.
However, you will want to make sure you still add vitamin D to your diet. This is often added to cow’s milk, but you can also get supplements that are safe during pregnancy. Sun exposure is also good for vitamin D. This vitamin will help to prevent the calcium crystallizing in the body, making it far more effective for healthy teeth and bones.
Improve the Bowel Movements in Other Ways
While fiber is known for its support with your bowel movements, magnesium is also necessary. This is another nutrient that tends to be overlooked and you only need a handful of almonds to get a good amount in your diet.
Magnesium will help to keep your bowels working effectively. It is not just about pushing the waste through but making sure the bowels can get rid of all the waste from your body afterward.
The nutrient is also important for a healthy central nervous system. It works with the folate to support the development throughout pregnancy, reducing the risk of birth defects linked to the brain and central nervous system.
Improve the Cognitive Development Of Your Baby
While we’ve already seen that almonds are good for brain development, there are other reasons to add almonds. You get plenty of riboflavin, which is a nutrient that supports the cognitive development of an unborn baby. This is more than just helping with the overall brain development, but making sure all the connections and elements form properly.
Your baby will be more alert and have better cognitive functions. Think of the riboflavin like the healthy fats. They do not just support the initial development but the continued development. Babies that get the right nutrients in the uterus have better cognitive functions after birth. They will meet the developmental milestones.
The nutrient is also essential for you. Your energy levels will take a beating during pregnancy. Your baby takes so much from you that it can be easy to forget about your own health. The good news is that riboflavin can offer more energy that doesn’t metabolize in the bloodstream, keeping you and baby healthy.
Can Improve Your Metabolic Response
There are many people who fear that adding more almonds to their diet will see weight gain. This is often linked to the calories in a small handful of almonds. However, the addition of the nuts can help improve your metabolic response.
While they do include fats and some carbs, they are healthy versions of the nutrients. They help to support your metabolism, making it easier for your body to take energy from the foods. The nuts are also excellent for reducing the oxidative stress in your body. This helps to reduce the inflammatory response, so your body works more effectively throughout the day.
Then there is the benefit to your blood sugar. Because of the healthy forms of energy, you do not get the same blood sugar increases that you would eat chocolate bars and refined carbs. Your metabolism continually burns up the food that you are eating, rather than being forced to work on the sugars and store the other calories for later.
This is especially beneficial if you are obese or diabetic. The almonds can help you shed some pounds naturally and healthily throughout pregnancy, while still helping your baby gain weight. Do not focus on losing weight during this time, but do talk to your doctor about what you can do to protect your baby from harm.
Helps to Prevent Allergies in Your Baby
There is no research that supports the idea that almonds will cause an almond allergy in children. Unless you are allergic yourself, there is no need to avoid almonds with the fear of the future. In fact, almonds can help to prevent some allergies later in life.
Studies have shown that eating nuts throughout pregnancy can help to reduce the risk of asthma in infants. There are also studies that show consuming nuts and peanuts can help to reduce other allergy developments later. Your baby’s body gets used to the particles, so has no reason to find them dangerous when getting older.
Some of this is linked to the vitamin E and zinc in the almonds. Both nutrients have shown benefits to protect against asthma in children. Even children as old as five have gained benefits from their mothers eating nuts (and other foods high in zinc and vitamin E) during pregnancy.
You Do Not Just Need to Eat Almonds
There are various ways to get almonds into your diet during pregnancy. While eating a handful of the nuts is common and easy, it is not the only option. If you do not like the taste or texture of nuts while eating, you can always look at the likes of almond milk and almond butter.
Almond milk is one of the best milk alternatives on the market. It is still packed with the calcium and other health benefits that cow’s milk offers, but without the sugars. You will need to make sure your almond milk is unsweetened. If you get a vanilla flavored option, you can get a little sweetness to the milk. At first, it may taste weird in your tea or coffee, but it eventually becomes delicious and normal.
As for almond butter, this is something that you can use. Replace your peanut butter with it for a higher fiber count. Yes, there are some fats in almond butter, but the small amount is worth it for the protein, fiber, and other health benefits. Plus, many of the fats are unsaturated and healthy for you. You will also get the extra vitamins and minerals, including vitamin E, iron, manganese, and more.
There is nothing wrong with adding either of them to your diet. Opt for a mixture throughout your pregnancy. This way you won’t get bored of your diet and you can get all different nutrients depending on your day’s plan.
Add Almonds to Your Diet Now
If you are not allergic to almonds, there is no reason not to add almonds to your diet. Whether you get a handful as a snack during the day or you opt for almond butter on your whole wheat toast on a morning, you and your baby will gain a range of benefits. Not only do you get more energy, but your digestive system will be supported. Your baby’s nervous system, brain, and organs all get extra support during development, too!