Pregnancy is a sensitive time and women expecting a baby should eat as many nutritious foods as they can. Chia seeds in pregnancy are beneficial when consumed in moderation, They can also have some negative effects.
They can be eaten ground or whole and added to any type of recipe. Even if you have to be careful the first few times, since like many foods they cause allergic reactions and digestive problems. Below we detail its use, benefits, and other recommendations.
What are Chia Seeds?
This precious food in the form of a small black grain is native to Mexico and Guatemala. There it has been part of the food and medicinal traditions for over 5,000 years. Today it is a booming product in many corners of the world.
It is an oilseed Therefore, in its composition, the presence of polyunsaturated fatty acids (mostly omega 3 and omega 6) stands out above all. It also provides protein, dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals (calcium, phosphorus and manganese) and antioxidants.
The benefits of chia seeds during pregnancy
In the period of gestation it is important to pay attention to the diet. Some nutrients are needed in larger quantities to ensure the development of the fetus and avoid health problems in the mother.. Furthermore, some small discomforts such as constipation can be solved or alleviated with some simple dietary indications.
Let’s see in detail what chia seeds can do in some cases.
As indicated by American Society of NutritionChia seeds They provide a good amount of soluble fiber. This is good when there is difficulty in bowel movements, as it increases the volume of stool and facilitates the process of expulsion of the same.
Prevent the occurrence of anemia
Iron deficiency is a common complaint in some pregnant women. There is more chance of it happening if the level of this mineral in the body is low before conception. Also, when there is already established anemia, it is aggravated by the circulatory changes of the gestation
So it’s important to maintain an adequate iron intake during this time of increased needs. Chia seeds help cover this increase, even if it is not one of the most common foods, such as meat or legumes. It should be noted that it has an absorption similar to that of ferrous sulphate.
Aside from iron, another key mineral during pregnancy is calcium. On the one hand, it helps prevent negative effects on the mother, such as the risk of osteoporosis and preeclampsia. On the other hand, it ensures good fetal development and growth.
As the American College of Obstetricians and GynecologistsWomen over the age of 19 need 1,000 milligrams of this mineral daily. Two dessert spoonfuls of chia seeds cover 20 percent of this value, providing nearly 200 milligrams. This increases the variety of calcium-rich foods to eat.
check sugar levels
High blood sugar values have negative effects on health. One of them is the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. In the specific case of pregnant women, this represents a disadvantage for the child and for the mother, since its presence during pregnancy is associated with a greater risk of fetal defects and overweight.
Taking chia can help regulate blood sugar. As explained in Scientific studies performed with healthy adults, the consumption of 25 grams per day is positive in reducing the glycemic peak after the meal. It is also effective when present in some foods, such as bread.
Source of omega 3 fatty acids
This type of polyunsaturated fatty acid is essential for the proper development of pregnancy and the fetus.. The main source that supplies the body is small oily fish. But in addition, some plant foods provide a precursor: alpha linolenic acid (ALA).
Although it is important to know Chia seeds in pregnancy are not valid as the sole source of omega 3, That doesn’t make them despicable. This is because the body has difficulty converting ALA into useful forms. According to research, it is these active variants that are responsible for the benefits of polyunsaturated fatty acids during pregnancy.
A proportion of pregnant women gain more weight than they should during the gestation period. And as noted in a Cochrane review, pregnancy obesity can be a problem for mother and child. There is an increased risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, cesarean section, and high fetal weight.
For this reason, in some cases it is necessary to control the weight gain of pregnant women with diet and exercise. If this problem exists or the mother has a constant feeling of hunger and desire to eat, chia seeds can help, as they have a proven satiating effect.
Was checked That consumption between 7 and 14 grams per day increases the sense of satiety and reduce the total calorie intake of the next meal. Also, blood sugar rises more slowly after eating. This is due to the presence of fiber and protein.
How can you eat chia seeds during pregnancy?
A walk to the supermarket informs us of the great ubiquity of chia seeds. Today they are found in a large number of foods and preparations: sticks, cereal bars, biscuits, bread, pasta. However, the main recommendation is to take them in their natural form.
To do this, the best option is to buy them chopped or grind them at home with a suitable device. This is how the body uses all the nutrients contained in the seeds. And this is how pregnant women can enjoy all the benefits.
Once ground, they are added to various preparations, scattering one or two dessert spoons. Some ideas for incorporating them are as follows:
- Add them to yogurt or quéfir.
- In a fruit smoothie with yoghurt, milk or vegetable drink.
- As an extra ingredient in muesli or breakfast cereals.
- In a vegetable cream.
- To spread on salads or legume dishes.
If they are used only to improve intestinal transit problems, it is sufficient to soak the chia seeds for at least 10 minutes to soften them. This will form a mucilage which will favor the absorption of the liquid.
Does consuming chia during pregnancy have any side effects?
The European Food Safety Agency has evaluated the use of chia seeds. Since its introduction on the European market in 2010, no Member State has observed dangers that could put consumers at risk. So as a general rule, Consuming chia is safe for most people.
Highlights the possibility of an allergic reaction. You have to be careful the first few times you consume it. On some occasions, it appears to be due to a cross-reaction to a sesame and peanut allergy. Additionally, overuse leads to some of these symptoms:
- Excess fiber can cause stomach upsetflatulence and even diarrhea.
- The seeds expand on contact with the liquid. At times, this has become a serious problem. For this reason it is important to follow the consumption advice: soak them for about 15 minutes before or spread them on the food.
The key points of chia seeds during pregnancy
It must be taken into account they can interact with some drugs and reduce their absorption. It is recommended to discuss the intake or introduction with the doctor if the woman receives specific treatment due to her pregnancy.
The positive effects that this little food can have are proven, according to what is discussed in the article. That is why it is interesting to consume it in this period. Whether it’s to feel more energetic, improve bothersome symptoms or help deliver needed nutrients.
However, adding it little by little, if it is the first time it is taken, is a precautionary measure. Nor should you exceed the maximum amount of two tablespoons of dessert per day.
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