Also known as Akhrot, Walnuts are considered to be superfood during pregnancy. Walnuts are often said to resemble brain structure and also improve brain function and development in the fetus.
Consuming walnuts during pregnancy can be very beneficial for the baby as well as the mother because walnuts are rich sources of Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 is rarely found in foods and mostly in nuts.
Hence, mothers should eat some walnuts every day. You may incorporate walnuts in salads, shakes, smoothies or have them in granola bars as well.
Health benefiting properties of Walnuts During Pregnancy:
According to Food Data, 100 grams of walnuts contain the following:
Energy, Protein, Carbohydrate, Sugar, Fibre, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Sodium, Zinc, Copper, Manganese, Selenium, Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid), Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Panthothenic Acid, Vitamin B6, Folate, Choline, Betaine, Vitamin B12, Vitamin A, Carotene, Vitamin E, Vitamin D, Vitamin K, and Omega-3 Fatty Acids.
Health Benefits & Uses of Walnuts During Pregnancy:
- Rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids promote the growth and development of the fetus in your womb, especially the brain of your fetus.
Pregnant women should consume more Omega-3 fatty acids during pregnancy as this nutrition promotes happy hormones that keep you sane.
Walnuts provide a good source of Omega-3 fatty acids. They’re also very important for healthy skin and hair during pregnancy.
Studies suggest that consuming Omega-3 has a great impact on your baby’s intelligence too.
- Stabilises Cholesterol
Consuming Walnuts during the early stages of pregnancy can be very beneficial in producing more HDL (good cholesterol levels) and reducing the amount of LDL (bad cholesterol levels).
Walnuts can also help mothers to be free from hypertension and cholesterol as they open the arteries and help in flushing out plaque deposits.
A pregnant woman may suffer from minor cholesterol and hypertension problems as her body need to manage the baby’s requirement as well.
- Controls Inflammation
Walnuts help control inflammation during pregnancy as they contain polyphenols that fight oxidation and inflammation.
Walnuts promote the growth of beneficial bacteria in your gut that calm the inflammation.
This prevents the rise of various diseases during and after pregnancy such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and even cancer.
- Relaxes Blood Vessels
The alpha-linolenic acid in walnuts, a type of Omega-3 fatty acids, can promote blood flow and circulation when you’re pregnant.
Studies have proven how consuming walnuts for about two months can improve blood vessels functions and expand the vessels so the blood can flow smoothly.
This can be beneficial in reducing hypertension, cholesterol, blood sugar and heavy palpitations. Walnuts definitely contain a lot of ALA, so eat them every day.
- Rich in Antioxidants
Walnuts are amazing sources of antioxidants and Omega-3 fatty acids. Both help in reducing damage caused by oxidative stress.
Walnuts are said to have better antioxidants than most nuts and they can boost your immunity when you’re pregnant.
Most women need to consume antioxidant-rich foods when they’re pregnant as women tend to face ageing right after pregnancy.
Walnuts can be consumed with chocolates, other nuts or even in pies or cinnamon rolls to get the benefits of antioxidants.
These can help slow down the ageing process, flush out toxins and promote better overall fetus’ health.
- Reduces Risk Of Postpartum Depression
Pregnant women often suffer from anxiety and depression during and after pregnancy.
They’re worried about their baby’s health, obesity, risk of infections, they’re tired and fatigued too. Foods rich in Omega-3 and vitamins and minerals can often help pregnant women fight depression and anxiety.
“New research supports the idea that eating walnuts can have a positive effect on mood, specifically by looking at the effect these nutrient-packed-wonders had on the mood of college students.”
- Promotes Sleep
Pregnancy makes women struggle with their sleeping cycles. Food cravings, mood swings, stress and many other factors result in irregular sleep.
Women are required to rest well before delivery as they may need to be awake extra hours after pregnancy to nurse their babies.
Walnuts consumption during pregnancy can improve sleep quality as they contain melatonin. ALA and DHA in walnuts can also promote sleep.
- Promotes Development of Baby’s Bones & Cartilage
Pregnant women must consume Manganese rich foods and nuts to promote the development of their fetus’ bones and cartilage.
If you consume walnut regularly, half of your body’s manganese requirement can be fulfilled every day.
This helps improve your baby’s bone density, height and weight in future. Some babies do not have healthy bones when they’re born, this is why you must eat foods that contain manganese during pregnancy.
- Promotes Baby’s Brain Development
ALA, DHA and EPA in Walnuts can promote the brain development and growth of your baby. It ensures that your baby becomes very intelligent and quick-witted.
The Omega-3 content in walnuts can be critical foods for your brain that fight inflammation and oxidative stress.
Your body needs Omega-3 to counter your mental stress and cognitive decline and improve your baby’s cognitive abilities post-birth.
- Prevents Damage Caused By Free Radicals
The high amounts of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants present in walnuts make it very beneficial for your baby as well as your health during pregnancy.
Walnuts reduce the risk of cancer and other dangerous diseases by preventing the damage caused by free radicals and oxidative processes.
Side-Effects of Walnuts During Pregnancy:
Walnuts are great sources of so many fatty acids and vitamins that you cannot even imagine skipping consuming when you’re pregnant.
While every doctor says they’re very safe, overconsumption may lead to problems.
Also, there are many adulterated and polished nuts in the market these days, make sure you buy walnuts from a reliable source only. (WebMD)
Some women may experience diarrhoea if they eat too many walnuts.
Walnuts can be linked to many allergies as well, so only consume a few every day.
Walnuts may even reduce the absorption of minerals, including iron, which can be dangerous for pregnant women.
Make sure you talk to your doctor before including nuts, especially walnuts in your diet every day.
We hope you have a comfortable and healthy pregnancy. Have walnuts every day and give birth to a very intelligent, strong and healthy baby! Take care!