- Is it safe to eat peanuts and peanut butter when pregnant?
- What are the benefits of peanuts and peanut butter during pregnancy?
- Nutritional value of peanuts
- What are the side effects of peanuts and peanut butter during pregnancy?
- When is it advised to avoid peanuts during pregnancy?
- What are the safe ways to eat peanuts during pregnancy?
- Frequently asked questions
Peanuts or groundnuts, are one of the most nutritious and affordable foods you can buy in the market. But sadly, some people cannot enjoy the benefits of this legume due to its allergen properties.
As incidents of peanut allergy rise in the west, the myths surrounding it become bigger. One such myth is that a pregnant woman should not eat peanuts in any form.
If you too are wary about including these healthy nuts in your diet, then it’s time to know the facts! Read this MomJunction article to know more about the benefits and the risks of consuming peanuts during pregnancy.
Is It Safe To Eat Peanuts and Peanut Butter When Pregnant?
Yes, you can eat peanuts and peanut butter as long you are not allergic to them. Peanuts are highly nutritious and rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids, antioxidants, protein, calories, and folate, and can make your pregnancy diet healthy (1). It is safe to consume peanuts and peanut butter (made of nuts and a dash of salt) in moderation.
What Are The Benefits Of Peanuts And Peanut Butter During Pregnancy?
Here are some of the significant health benefits of including peanuts in your diet.
1. Treat anemia:
All nuts, including peanuts, are rich in iron. Whole peanuts or peanut butter will help you prevent anemia (2).
2. Lower the risk of heart disease:
3. Prevent cancers:
Peanuts are a good source of phytosterols, also referred to as beta-sisterol, which inhibit the development of tumors. Frequent consumption of peanuts can lower the risk of colon cancer (5).
4. Boost memory:
5. Help to gain weight:
If you are underweight during pregnancy, then peanuts are an excellent choice. They are packed with calories that help you achieve a healthy weight (8).
6. Ease constipation:
Pregnant women often complain of constipation. Peanuts are a rich source of fiber and can help ease the problem (9).
7. Fight depression:
Peanuts contain the essential amino acid called tryptophan, which produces serotonin. This is one of the essential elements in regulating mood and helps combats depression (10).
8. Lower risk of peanut allergy:
Consuming peanuts during pregnancy will reduce the risk of peanut allergy in the baby (11).
9. Protein source:
Peanuts contain high amounts of protein that helps in proper growth and development of the fetus (12).
10. Develop bone and tissue:
Ideal amounts of manganese in peanuts aid in the growth of fetal tissue and bone. It is also helpful in preventing premature contraction of the uterus (13).
11. Prevent preeclampsia:
High blood pressure can be catastrophic during pregnancy. Consuming peanuts will prevent preeclampsia as these friendly nuts contain vitamin E, which works to keep your blood pressure under control (14).
12. Manage gestational diabetes:
A healthy dose of peanuts, including peanut butter, can form part of a balanced gestational diabetes diet (15).
Learn more about the nutrition value of peanuts to understand why you must include them in your diet.
[ Read: Effects Of Chickpeas In Pregnancy ]
Nutritional Value Of Peanuts
The nutrition present in 100 grams of peanuts is as follows (16):
|Folic acid (Vitamin B9)||240mcg|
|Pyridoxine (Vitamin B6)||0.348mg|
|Niacin (Vitamin B3)||12.066mg|
|Riboflavin (Vitamin B2)||0.135mg|
|Thiamin (Vitamin B1)||0.640mg|
|Saturated fatty acids||6.279g|
|Monounsaturated fatty acids||24.426g|
|Polyunsaturated fatty acids||15.558g|
g=grams; mg=milligrams; mcg=micrograms
In spite of its benefits, when taken in excess, groundnuts can be bad for your health. Read on to learn about the side-effects of peanuts.
[ Read: Benefits Of Eating Nuts In Pregnancy ]
Side Effects Of Eating Peanuts And Peanut Butter During Pregnancy
Peanuts, when taken in excess, can have adverse effects on your health.
1. Chances of food poisoning:
Munching on old, stale or long-stored peanuts can lead to food poisoning as they are highly vulnerable to fungal contamination.
2. Increase blood pressure:
Excessive consumption of salted peanuts will increase the blood pressure. However, eating non-salted nuts in moderation can lower blood pressure (17).
3. May cause liver cancer:
Peanuts are known to be susceptible to salmonella contamination. Over-consumption of peanuts will increase the risk of liver cancer as the mold produces Aflatoxin, a carcinogen (18).
4. Loaded with pesticides:
Peanuts are a storehouse of pesticides and are at a higher risk of mold growth in them (19). Therefore, over-consumption can lead to side-effects such as dizziness, headache, nausea, diarrhea, fatigue, nervousness, blurred vision, sweating and more (20).
5. Contain saturated fats:
Excessive consumption of peanuts will lead to high levels of saturated fats in the body. It can, therefore, cause problems of heart, digestion, blood pressure and other complications.
6. Risk of weight gain:
Though peanuts help in gaining healthy weight, overeating them can lead to unnecessary weight gain.
In some cases, eating even a moderate or small quantity of peanuts can be bad for you. Find out about it next.
When Should You Avoid Peanuts During Pregnancy?
Avoid peanuts during pregnancy if:
- You are overweight
- You have digestion issues, such as vomiting or loose stools
- You are prone to varicose veins
- You have kidney stones
But the above risks should not be a barrier to including peanuts in your diet.
Keep reading to know how you can include peanuts in your diet and benefit from the nutrition they offer.
[ Read: Foods To Eat In Pregnancy ]
What Are The Safe Ways To Eat Peanuts During Pregnancy?
If you do not have a history of nut allergies, you could include peanuts in different dishes, in more ways than one.
- Dry or oil roasted peanuts make a great snack. Roast peanuts to improve their antioxidant content.
- Oil-fried peanuts are usually free of allergens.
- Boiled peanuts are filling and beat hunger pangs. You can add some salt and boil them in water along with their skin.
- Salted peanuts are good to take in limited quantities, else they could cause water retention.
- Toss some peanuts in chutneys, dips or salads, to give the food a good flavor.
- Peanut butter can be used for sandwiches and to make dips.
- Add to oatmeal or any cereal as a topping.
Next, we answer a few commonly asked questions about including peanuts in your pregnancy diet.
Frequently Asked Questions:
1. Can you eat raw peanuts during pregnancy?
Raw peanuts are not safe as they can carry mold or fungus that can cause infectious diseases.
2. Which foods contain peanuts?
Peanuts may be present in a variety of foods including chocolate products, candies, cereals, granola bars, pesto, muffins, bread, desserts and baked foods. If you have allergies to peanuts, you should be avoiding these foods. Read labels for clarity.
3. What is the best time to have peanuts during pregnancy?
You can have peanuts during all trimesters of pregnancy unless you are allergic to them.
4. Does a craving for peanut butter in pregnancy say something about the baby’s gender?
According to old wives tales, craving for peanut butter during pregnancy indicates that you are carrying a boy. However, it is just one of the many ways to guess the sex of the unborn child, although not a reliable one.
[Read: Benefits Of Dates In Pregnancy ]
5. Does eating peanuts during pregnancy make the baby intelligent?
Peanuts are affordable, tasty, and nutritious. There is no reason for you to banish these healthy nuts from your pregnancy diet. The side effects mentioned here are usually a result of over-consumption, which causes an imbalance in the diet. So, plan your meals and make peanuts a part of them to stay healthy and happy throughout your pregnancy.
How did you include peanuts in your pregnancy diet? Share your ideas and experiences in the comments section below.
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