7 Incredible Health Benefits Of Chia Seeds During Pregnancy

Chia Seeds During Pregnancy

Image: Shutterstock

Along with vegetables, fruits, lentils, and dairy, seeds of certain plants also provide the necessary nutrients for us. Among them are chia seeds, which are used in a variety of cuisines. But how good are chia seeds and in what quantity should they be consumed when you are pregnant?

MomJunction tells you about chia seeds during pregnancy, the benefits they offer and side effects if any.

Are Chia Seeds Safe To Eat During Pregnancy?

Yes, chia seeds are safe to consume during pregnancy, but in moderation. They are high in nutrients and can support a healthy pregnancy.

These tiny seeds are often considered a superfood and have been used by the ancient Mayan and Aztec civilizations. However, there isn’t scientific evidence to establish the benefits of consuming chia seeds while pregnant. So it is better to consult your doctor before including them in your diet (1).

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[ Read: Sunflower Seeds During Pregnancy ]

What Are The Benefits Of Chia Seeds During Pregnancy?

Chia seeds are highly nutritious and a good source of healthy fats. Here are some reasons why you should include these seeds in your pregnancy diet.

1. Improves energy levels:

Exhaustion is normal during pregnancy. Consuming a small quantity of chia seeds can help fight that by boosting energy and endurance (2).

2. Omega-3 fatty acids support fetal brain:

Omega-3s are vital for health and development of the baby’s brain. Fish is the major source of omega-3, but its mercury content can be a cause for concern during pregnancy; chia can be a safer alternative (3).

3. Protein assists in muscle growth:

You should require about 70g of protein every day during pregnancy for the development of fetal organs and tissues. Chia seeds contain good protein levels, which make them compliment meat, tofu, poultry and nuts (4).

4. Fiber relieves constipation:

Chia seeds are loaded with insoluble fiber that aids digestion (5). It can, therefore, treat constipation, a common complaint during pregnancy.

5. Iron improves oxygen supply:

Iron is essential for the production of extra red blood cells that carry oxygen to the body system. Chia seeds are one of the easiest ways to get this nutrient in your diet (6).

6. Magnesium eases cramps:

Cramps are common, especially in the third trimester. Sufficient levels of magnesium in the body alleviate cramps and tension in the muscles. Chia seeds are rich in magnesium t (7) and may lower the risk of premature labor by curbing early uterine contractions.

7. Rich calcium:

Intake of calcium is essential for the skeletal development of the baby, particularly in the third trimester. Chia seeds contain five times more calcium than milk and are the best alternatives for dairy-free diet (8).

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What Quantity Of Chia Seeds Can You Have During Pregnancy?

You can have about 25g of chia seeds every day during pregnancy. This will meet about 18% of your daily protein requirement and one-third of dietary fiber needs, besides much of energy requirements (9).

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[ Read: Sesame Seeds During Pregnancy ]

Nutritional Value Of Chia Seeds

According to the USDA, the nutrition present in 100g of chia seeds is as follows (10):

NutrientQuantity
Calories486kcal
Carbohydrates42.14g
Protein16.54g
Fiber34.4g
Fat30.74g
Vitamins
Vitamin A54IU
Vitamin C1.6mg
Thiamine (Vitamin B1)0.62mg
Riboflavin (Vitamin B2)0.17mg
Niacin8.83mg
Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol)0.5mg
Electrolytes
Potassium407mg
Sodium16mg
Minerals
Calcium631mg
Iron7.72mg
Magnesium335mg
Zinc4.58mg
Phosphorus860mg

g=grams; mg=milligrams; mcg=micrograms; IU=international unit

Although nutritious, chia seeds can pose some risks when taken in excess amounts.

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[ Read: Is It Safe To Eat Flax Seeds During Pregnancy? ]

Side Effects Of Chia Seeds In Pregnancy

There are a few risks associated with chia seed consumption when you are pregnant.

1. Leads to gas formation:

Over consumption can increase gas production in the body (11). However, limiting it to the daily recommended amount will not cause any side effects.

2. Causes thinning of blood:

The omega-3 fatty acids can be beneficial, but can also pose risks to the body. They should not be taken if you are suffering from certain blood disorders or if you are under blood thinning medications because chia seeds cause blood thinning (12).

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How To Consume Chia Seeds During Pregnancy?

Chia seeds are available both in raw and roasted forms. They are also found in some packaged foods such as cereals, bread, crackers and granola bars. They hold a very mild and nutty flavor and can be added to various recipes.

Here are some ways in which you can include chia seeds in your pregnancy diet.

  • Eat them raw as snacks
  • Add the seeds to everyday meals and snacks
  • Sprinkle over smoothies
  • Add them to yogurt, salad or cereal
  • Add to any pudding or dessert

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Some Chia Seed Recipes To Use During Pregnancy

1. Chia seeds with water

Chia seeds with water

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Soak some chia seeds in a glass of water and leave it overnight. Consume the water the following day. This makes a perfect summer drink.

[ Read: Fennel Seeds During Pregnancy ]

2. Chia seeds sandwich

Chia seeds sandwich

Image: iStock

You can add chia seeds to a variety of sandwiches. You can either add them to the butter on a slice of bread and top it with another slice, or add them to the condiment while making any vegetable, ham or turkey sandwich.

3. Chia seed smoothie

Chia seed smoothie

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You will need:

  • Bananas – 3, sliced
  • Dates – 4, pitted and halved
  • Coconut milk yogurt – 2 cups
  • Coconut water – ¼ cup
  • Blueberries – a few
  • Chia seeds – ¼ cup
  • Berries (strawberries, blackberries and more of your choice) – sliced for topping
  • Hemp seeds – topping

How to make:

  1. Combine the first six ingredients in a blender until you get a smooth consistency.
  2. Store it in an airtight container and refrigerate for about 20 minutes.
  3. Add toppings of your choice, and also hemp seeds.
  4. Serve chilled

4. Coconut chia protein pancakes

Coconut chia protein pancakes

Image: Shutterstock

You will need:

  • Gluten-free all-purpose flour – ¼ cup
  • Coconut flour – 2tbsp
  • Vanilla whey protein powder – 3tbsp
  • Sea salt – a pinch
  • Coconut flakes – 1tbsp
  • Almond milk – 4tbsp
  • Egg – 1
  • Pancake batter – 2tbsp
  • Chia seeds – 1tbsp

How to make:

  1. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl, and mix well.
  2. Take about ¼ cup of it and pour the batter into a non-stick cooking pan.
  3. Cook for a few minutes and flip over.
  4. Cook for some more time and transfer to a serving plate.
  5. You can top with anything of your choice, such as fruit, chia seeds, maple syrup or honey.

5. Chia Fresca

Chia Fresca

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You will need:

  • Water – 2cups
  • Lemon – 1
  • Chia seeds – 2tbsp
  • Sugar or honey – as required

How to make:

  1. Take water and squeeze fresh lemon in it.
  2. Add chia seeds, and sugar or honey to it.
  3. Refrigerate the container for at least two to three hours.
  4. You will observe the seeds forming a gel-like substance around, which you can readily drink.

6. Chia seed pudding

Chia seed pudding

Image: Shutterstock

You will need:

  • Fat-reduced coconut milk – ½ cup
  • Chia seeds – 2tbsp
  • Natvia sugar substitute – 2tsp
  • Vanilla extract – 1/2tsp
  • Berries of your choice – 2tbsp

How to make:

  1. Mix all the ingredients except the berries.
  2. Refrigerate the mixture for at least two hours or you can store it overnight.
  3. Top it with berries before eating.

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[ Read: Benefits Of Dates In Pregnancy ]

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can I eat chia seeds during early pregnancy?

Yes, you can eat chia seeds anytime during pregnancy. They supply the required nutrition and calories.

2. Can you eat raw chia seeds?

Yes, you can eat raw chia seeds, but they could be hard to swallow because of their dryness.

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Chia seeds have been considered to be one of the super foods that offer numerous benefits for the pregnant mother. However, the research about their effect and safety is quite limited. Therefore, it is always good to consult your healthcare provider before including them in your pregnancy diet.

How do you like to consume chia seeds? Share your ideas and recipes in the comments section.

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Rebecca Malachi

She is a Biotechnologist with a proficiency in areas of genetics, immunology, microbiology, bio-engineering, chemical engineering, medicine, pharmaceuticals to name a few. Her expertise in these fields has greatly assisted her in writing medical and life science articles. With 8+ years of work experience in writing for health and wellness, she is now a full-time contributor for Momjunction.com. She is passionate about giving research-based information to readers in need. Apart from writing, she is a foodie, loves travel, fond of gospel music and enjoys observing nature in silence. Know more about her at: linkedin.com/in/kothapalli-rebecca-35881628
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