Pregnancy not only brings in a demand for extra calories, but also an increased demand for good nutrition. This means an accelerated intake of certain nutrients that will help the developing baby and you to stay healthy.
A well planned balanced diet can meet the requirements of pregnancy. But, there are few nutrients that are important for pregnant women. They are:
• Folate: Is a type of vitamin B that helps in baby's development during early stages of pregnancy.
• Iron: There is a significant demand for iron during pregnancy, as the baby takes in what it needs to last through the first five to six month of pregnancy.
• Calcium: It is required for your baby's bones and teeth and to maintain your own bone health.
• Omega 3 fats: It is necessary for the development of the baby's brain, eyes and nervous system.
So how can nuts benefit you in pregnancy?
• Nuts are a good source of proteins, particularly for vegetarians.
• They are nutrient dense and supply a wide range of vitamins and minerals.
• Nuts provide high amount of calcium, especially almonds.
• Cashews and pine nuts are a good source of iron. Snacking on these with a glass of orange juice is a great way to boost iron and mineral intake.
• Peanuts and hazelnuts are a great source of folate. Walnuts are a good vegetarian source of omega 3 fats.
• Nuts are high in dietary fiber that can help with constipation which is a common problem in pregnancy.
Tips to include nuts in your diet:
• Munch on dry fruits and nuts along with a glass of orange juice for an iron rich snack.
• A handful of chopped almond and cashews in your stir fry along with vitamin rich veggies like capsicum, broccoli or spinach can boost iron absorption.
• Add chopped walnuts and freshly ground flaxseeds in your breakfast cereal to ensure adequate intake of omega 3 fatty acids.
• For a tasty iron and calcium rich snack or dessert, top a layer of berries on yogurt with chopped almonds and hazel nuts.
• Increase the iron absorption from your fish and chicken meal by adding a layer of finely chopped pistachios and cooking them with greens.
When to avoid nuts?
Women are advised to avoid nuts during pregnancy and lactation only if they are allergic to them. The Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy advises against restricted diets that can adversely affect the weight and nutrition of the baby and the mother.
Eating good quality food matters more than the quantity you eat for two.