12 Healthy Reasons Why You Should Eat Peanuts In Pregnancy

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You may eat peanuts in pregnancy to get various nutrients. Only women who are allergic to peanuts or groundnuts are advised to avoid them. Although some believe that eating peanuts during pregnancy can cause children to have peanut allergies, there is no scientific evidence to back this claim. Hence, you may include this affordable source of nutrition in your pregnancy diet.

Read on to know the benefits and risks of eating peanuts during pregnancy and some safe ways to include them in your diet.

Is It Safe To Eat Peanuts and Peanut Butter When Pregnant?

You may eat peanuts and peanut butter if you are not allergic to them. Peanuts are 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.

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What Are The Benefits Of Peanuts And Peanut Butter During Pregnancy?

Here is how the nutrients present in peanuts might help during pregnancy. You may include peanut butter in your diet or simply roast a few peanuts and consume them.

1. Iron

All nuts, including peanuts, are rich in iron. Whole peanuts or peanut butter will help you prevent anemia (2).

2. Monounsaturated fats

Peanuts are rich in monounsaturated fats, especially oleic acid (3), which is helpful for the heart. You can have a handful of peanuts every day to prevent heart diseases (4).

3. Phytosterols

Peanuts are a good source of phytosterols, also referred to as beta-sitosterol, which inhibit the development of tumors (5).

4. Niacin

Vitamin B3 (niacin) in peanuts boosts memory power and brain functioning (6). Also, the flavonoid resveratrol present in peanuts improves the flow of blood to the brain (7).

5. Calories

If you are underweight during pregnancy, then peanuts can help gain weight. They are packed with calories that help you achieve a healthy weight (8).

6. Fiber

The fiber content in groundnuts can help ease constipation (9).

7. Tryptophan

Peanuts contain the essential amino acid called tryptophan, which produces serotonin. This is one of the essential elements in regulating mood and helps combat depression (10).

8. Protein

Peanuts contain protein that helps in proper growth and development of the fetus (11).

9. Manganese

Manganese aids in the growth of fetal tissue and bone. It is also helpful in preventing premature contraction of the uterus (12).

10. Vitamin E

The nuts contain vitamin E, which works to keep your blood pressure under control (13).

Did you know?
Studies show that peanuts and peanut butter are among the salty foods that women usually crave during early pregnancy (22) (23).

Other benefits

11. Manage gestational diabetes

A healthy dose of peanuts, including peanut butter, can form part of a balanced gestational diabetes diet (14).

12. Believed to reduce the risk of peanut allergy

Consuming peanuts during pregnancy will reduce the risk of peanut allergy in the baby (15).

Nutritional Value Of Peanuts

The nutrition present in 100 grams of peanuts is as follows (16):

NutrientAmount
Calories567kcal
Water6.50g
Carbohydrates16.13g
Protein25.80g
Fiber8.5g
Fat49.24g
Sugars3.97g
Vitamins
Folic acid (Vitamin B9)240mcg
Pyridoxine (Vitamin B6)0.348mg
Niacin (Vitamin B3)12.87mg
Riboflavin (Vitamin B2)0.3mg
Thiamin (Vitamin B1)0.640mg
Vitamin E8.33mg
Electrolytes
Potassium332mg
Sodium1mg
Minerals
Calcium62mg
Iron2.09mg
Magnesium184mg
Zinc3.34mg
Phosphorus336mg
Lipids
Saturated fatty acids7.32g
Monounsaturated fatty acids21.41g
Polyunsaturated fatty acids16.5g

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.

Possible 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 blood pressure. However, eating unsalted 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 the contaminated peanuts might increase the risk of liver cancer as the mold produces Aflatoxin, a carcinogen (18).

Caution
Raw peanuts are prone to aflatoxin (produced by certain fungi) contamination and may increase the risk of materno-fetal complications if consumed in excess (24) (25).

4. Contain pesticides

Peanuts have high moisture content that puts them at a risk of mold growth in them (19). This makes the use of pesticides necessary on them. 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.

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.
Point to consider
Pick thoroughly processed peanut butter. Do not eat peanuts that appear moldy, discolored, or shriveled, to lower the risk of aflatoxin exposure (18).
  • Add 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.

5. Does eating peanuts during pregnancy make the baby intelligent?

Peanuts are rich in omega-6 fatty acids (20), which support fetal brain development and can make the baby intelligent (21).

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

Infographic: What Are The Safe Ways To Eat Peanuts During Pregnancy?

Eating peanuts during pregnancy is generally considered safe, but it is important to avoid consuming them in large quantities or in a form that increases the risk of choking or allergy. To reduce its risk, peanuts can be ground into a paste or butter. It is also recommended that you consult a healthcare provider if there’s a family history of allergies. The infographic below includes a list of safe ways to include peanuts in your pregnancy diet.

ways to eat peanuts during pregnancy [infographic]
Illustration: MomJunction Design Team

Key Pointers

  • Peanut is a nutritious legume that can offer healthy fats to support proper fetal brain development. It also contains vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that could benefit the mother’s health and aid in the baby’s proper growth and development.
  • Pregnant women can consume peanuts and peanut butter in moderation as a part of a healthy diet to avert any side effects.

References:

MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.
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