From baked foods to soups and salads, the flavor of a number of dishes can be enhanced by adding a few pistachios. These delicious and crunchy nuts, loaded with excellent nutrients, are also considered to be one of the healthiest nuts to consume during pregnancy. But, you should be mindful of when, why and how to eat them. Here, MomJunction discusses eating pistachio nuts during pregnancy, and how you and your baby can benefit from them.
Is It Safe To Eat Pistachios During Pregnancy?
Yes, it is safe to include pistachios during pregnancy (1). They are power-packed with protein, fiber, potassium, folate, calcium, and iron, all of which are important for the growth and development of the fetus.
What Are The Benefits Of Pistachios During Pregnancy?
The nutrients present in pistachios are beneficial during pregnancy and aid in the healthy development of the baby. The nutritional benefits include:
1. Aids fetal development
Pistachios contain a good amount of protein that is essential for the development of your unborn baby’s tissues and muscles (2). It also keeps your weight under check (3) by regulating blood sugar levels.
2. Balances lipid levels
The high concentration of monounsaturated fatty acids in pistachios lowers bad cholesterol and increases good cholesterol levels, therefore, balancing lipids (4).
3. Boosts immunity levels
Pistachios are rich in antioxidants including carotene, polyphenolic substances, and vitamin A and E that help boost immunity (5).
4. Prevents anemia
Rich in iron and other essential minerals, which help in the formation of red blood cells. Including these nuts in your diet sufficiently will help towards preventing anemia, especially during pregnancy when your body needs more than the usual amount of blood cells (6).
5. Treats constipation
Being rich in fiber, pistachios aid easy digestion and regulate bowel movements. They can also provide relief from constipation which can develop due to hormonal changes in early pregnancy (7).
6. Anti-inflammatory nature
Pistachios are anti-inflammatory in nature and help in fighting joint pains and swelling that are common during pregnancy (8).
7. Good for fetal brain development
Pistachios contain good amounts of omega-3 fatty acids such as oleic and linoleic acids, which are essential for the brain development of the baby (9).
Keep reading for the complete nutritional profile of pistachios.
Nutritional Value Of Pistachios
Nutrients present in 100 grams of raw pistachios are as follows (10):
|Thiamin (Vitamin B1)||0.870mg|
|Riboflavin (Vitamin B2)||0.160mg|
|Niacin (Vitamin B3)||1.300mg|
|Pyridoxine (Vitamin B6)||1.700mg|
|Folic acid (Vitamin B9)||51mcg|
|Ascorbic acid (Vitamin C)||5.6mg|
|Retinol (Vitamin A)||516IU|
|Alpha-tocopherol (Vitamin E)||2.86mg|
|Total saturated fatty acids||5.907g|
|Total monounsaturated fatty acids||23.257g|
|Total polyunsaturated fatty acids||14.380g|
g=grams; mg=milligrams; IU=International Units
While pistachios are nutritious, their benefits are greater only when you consume them in the right quantity and stick to plain, unsalted pistachio nuts in their shells.
How Many Pistachios Can You Eat Per Day?
You may have up to ½ an ounce or approximately 24 pistachios per day (1). You should not eat more than the suggested quantity as it could lead to excess essential oils in the body that could be harmful to the brain (11).
What Are The Possible Side Effects Of Eating Pistachios During Pregnancy?
Some things you should keep in mind while including pistachios are:
- They have fructans that will cause digestive problems such as constipation, diarrhea, bloating, abdominal pain and flatulence (12).
- Roasted nuts coated in salt can have high sodium content that may elevate blood pressure (13). So it is best to choose the plain, unsalted variety.
A few precautions while including pistachios in your diet can be a good idea.
How To Include Pistachios In Your Diet?
Here are a few interesting ways in which you can incorporate pistachio nuts into your diet:
- Toss some pistachios to the fruit bowl, and consume it fresh.
- Make a rough powder of them, and use as a dip to chicken before frying or grilling.
- Sprinkle finely diced pistachios to oatmeal, yogurt or cereals for a nutritious breakfast.
- Mix in a milkshake along with almonds, cardamom, and saffron for a super-filling beverage.
Do not worry about eating pistachios unless you have been specifically advised not to eat them by your healthcare provider. Include your daily serving of these nuts in whichever variety you prefer. Remember to stick to the permissible limit though.
2. Eating Healthy During Pregnancy; clinicaltrials.gov
3. Bridget Swinney; Eating Expectantly: Revised and Updated; page 50
4. Pistachios; Colorado State University (2017)
5. Mercedes Victoria Urquiza-Martínez & Bertha Fenton Navarro; Antioxidant Capacity of Food; Free Radicals and Antioxidants An Open Access, Peer Reviewed Journal (2016)
6. Iron Deficiency Anemia; Virginia Commonwealth University (2014)
7. Fiber; Oregon State University (2018)
8. Helieh S. Oz; Nutrients, Infectious and Inflammatory Diseases; Nutrients. (2017)
9. Rachel Scherr et al.; Nutrition and Health Info Sheet: Omega-3 Fatty Acids; The Regents of the University of California (2016)
10. Basic Report; Pistachio nuts, raw; USDA
11. Mary Purdy; Your Brain On Food: Nutrition For The Mind; Dietitians in Integrative and Functional Medicine
12. Amy Fedewa & Satish S. C. Rao; Dietary fructose intolerance, fructan intolerance and FODMAPs; Curr Gastroenterol Rep (2015)
13. Understanding the DASH Diet – 9.374; Colorado State University (2018)
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