Health Benefits Of Nuts During Pregnancy & Things To Consider

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Eating nuts during pregnancy may have several health benefits because they are loaded with vitamins, minerals, folic acid, and other nutrients required for the baby’s healthy development.

However, women should be cautious about excessive consumption of nuts during pregnancy as some babies may develop allergies. Therefore, if you have a family history of nut allergies, it is recommended to avoid them during pregnancy. However, consult your doctor before making this decision.

Read this post to understand whether it is safe to consume nuts during pregnancy, the side effects, and some useful recommendations from experts.

Nutritional Benefits Of Nuts During Pregnancy

Nuts contain plenty of important nutrients that are particularly essential during pregnancy. Pregnant women must consume 5 ounce protein on a daily basis. One ounce of nut contains 2 ounce of protein as per USDA.

Here are some facts about nuts:

  1. Nuts are a rich source of vitamin B and E.
  2. Essential minerals such as phosphorous, potassium, zinc, selenium, copper are also present in high amounts that are essential for proper development of the fetus.
  3. Nuts are a good source of fat.
  4. The shelled nuts must be stored in airtight containers or in a fridge to ensure they do not go rancid.
  5. Nuts roasted in oil contain unnecessary calories and high amount of protein.
  6. Nuts when toasted taste good, but reduce the nutrient content.
  7. Nuts such as peanuts, almonds, cashews and walnuts are high in fat and are good sources of minerals and vitamins.
  8. Nuts can be a good choice when you are looking for healthy snacking options.

Dr. Ruchi Gupta working in Chicago, at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, states that pregnant women must incorporate nuts in their diets as these are a good source of protein and folic acid. These essential nutrients helps prevent neutral tube defects as well as nut sensitization in babies.

Important Considerations

You just read about that eating nuts can help your baby. At the same time, the chances of your child getting allergic to nuts or developing problems like asthma are common with high consumption of nuts during your pregnancy.

  • Anything in excess is harmful; this is applicable to nuts too.
  • Children are likely to develop egg or milk allergies, if the mothers consumed nuts during early pregnancy.

According to a study in Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (Oct 2010), if you consumed nuts everyday during pregnancy, there are chances of your child developing asthma compared to the mothers who didn’t consume nuts at all.

Recommendations From Experts

The lead researcher on asthma studies Saskia Willers states that it is not enough to recommend pregnant woman to avoid eating nuts when they are pregnant.

  • In case asthma runs in your family, avoid eating nuts during pregnancy, as the baby in your womb has already developed the risks for the conditions.
  • Willers further say, “It could be that the allergens in nuts are transferred to the baby in the uterus, increasing the risk of sensitization and therefore raising their chances of developing the condition.”
  • The Food Standards Agency also advises pregnant mothers with family history of allergies to avoid eating nuts in pregnancy and while breastfeeding as well.

Leanne Male at the Asthma UK was noted saying, “With one child being admitted to hospital every 16 minutes with their asthma, it is vital for research to consistently identify which foods can help ward off asthma in children.”

The Final Word

According to some experts, amount of nuts to eat during pregnancy should be  limited so that it may lower the risk of your child becoming allergic to nuts.

  • Children, who eat nuts from their early childhood, tend to stay protected from the allergy, though a lot more research is needed on this subject.
  • If you are reluctant to eat nuts or foods containing walnuts, cashew nuts and almonds, you can get in touch with your midwife or GP.
  • If you have allergic conditions running in your family, you must make it a point to consult with the experts.

You already know the vast nutritional benefits of nuts. They provide essential calories and nutrients necessary for pregnant women. However, there may be situations where a pregnant woman may have to restrict or avoid consuming nuts during pregnancy. For example, if nut allergies or asthma runs in your family, you should talk to your healthcare provider before including nuts in your diet. Your nutritionist can review your medical and family history to help you understand the safety and proper amounts of nuts that you can consume during pregnancy.

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Sadiya Qamar

Sadiya is a writer and editor with a passion for writing about parenthood and children. Her focus areas are health, wellness, and beauty. For MomJunction, she writes on kids’ health and nutrition.  Sadiya believes in doing in-depth research and providing accurate information to help parents with concerns on their children’s growth and development.