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Eating Walnut in Pregnancy: Safety, Benefits & Risks 

The pregnancy journey is filled with a mixed bag of emotions. You are excited to meet your little miracle and anxious about your baby's health. During each trimester of pregnancy, you undergo several body changes, and your baby touches several developmental milestones. You and your baby must get the proper nutrition to keep pace with these changes. Hence choosing the right food is essential during pregnancy. Your doctor would have already recommended some healthy foods and fruits you could include in your diet, such as guavas, grapes, sweet potatoes, etc. You might have been suggested even to include dry fruits such as walnuts, apricots, and almonds. And this article will mainly discuss the benefits and risks of eating a walnut in pregnancy.

Is it Safe to Eat Walnuts During Pregnancy? 

You are extra cautious about your food choices during your pregnancy journey. You want to clear all your doubts before consuming a particular food. So, explicitly talking about walnuts, also known as akhrot in Hindi, being extremely healthy and completely safe for consumption during pregnancy. The walnut kernels not only resemble the structure of a brain but also helps in the proper functioning of the brain. Besides, there are several health benefits of eating akhrot in pregnancy.

Nutritional Benefits of Walnuts in Pregnancy

Eating nuts during pregnancy reduces the chances of having kids with nut allergies. Walnuts are delicious and crunchy and contain many essential nutrients beneficial for pregnant women. Some of these nutritional benefits are listed below - 

   • Rich in Omega- 3 fatty acids - 

Walnuts are a rich source of Omega-3 fatty acids, crucial for developing fetal brain activity. Hence, eating walnuts during pregnancy can also boost fetal brain development.

  • • Rich in Vitamin E - 
  • Walnuts are a good source of Vitamin E in gamma-tocopherol, considered a very effective form of Vitamin E. It is because of its unique antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties which helps to get rid of harmful free radicals.

  • • Rich source of other essential nutrients- 
  • Walnuts are a good source of vitamins, fibre, magnesium, copper, and manganese. Moreover, it is loaded with calcium, iron, zinc, and selenium. All of these nutrients add to the numerous health benefits of walnuts.

         Excellent source of Alpha-Linolenic Acid

    Walnuts are an excellent source of alpha-linolenic acid, an essential fatty acid required for fetal development.

    Health Benefits of Walnuts 

    Now that you know the nutritional benefits of walnuts let us take a look at the potential health benefits of eating a walnut in pregnancy

  • • Promotes neurocognitive functioning - 
  • Walnuts contain neuroprotective compounds like Vitamin E, Melatonin, Folate and the all-important Omega 3 Fatty acids. These compounds directly benefit cognitive functioning such as memory, attention, concentration, thinking and creativity. Moreover, walnuts contain omega-3 fatty acids, which help reduce oxidative stress in the brain and help create neurons. Therefore, eating akhrot in pregnancy is highly beneficial for fetal brain development. 

  • • Helps control cholesterol levels - 
  • Walnuts or akhrot help control cholesterol levels and improve the heart's functioning. It helps to decrease bad cholesterol and improves the functioning of blood vessels.

  • • Helps to maintain blood pressure - 
  • Walnuts help to maintain blood pressure which is essential during pregnancy. However, pregnant women are susceptible to high blood pressure during the third trimester of pregnancy. High blood pressure can be dangerous as it can lead to miscarriages, premature birth, and low birth weight. So eating akhrot during pregnancy helps to combat these problems effectively.

  • • Reduces inflammation -
  • Eating walnut during pregnancy can reduce the risk of various including heart diseases, diabetes, etc.

  • • Promotes gut health -
  • Gut problems are common in pregnant women. In addition, pregnancy symtoms like indigestion and acid reflux are part of the childbearing process. However, eating akhrot can help to combat these gut problems.

    How to Eat Walnut During Pregnancy? 

    While there are several ways to include walnuts in your diet, they can be eaten separately or in finely chopped form. You can add walnuts to various dishes, including baked goods, meat, fish, vegetables, and fruit salads. The following are some of how pregnant women can eat walnuts during pregnancy -

    • • Mix 3-4 finely chopped walnuts in a tablespoon of honey, and eat them with a glass of water to get relief from a headache, insomnia, or stress.
    • • Make a mixture of chopped walnuts, grated lemon skin, and 2 tablespoons of honey in a bowl. Consuming a tablespoon of this mixture before meals would be beneficial if you suffer from long-term vitamin deficiencies.

    Risk of Eating Walnuts in Pregnancy 

    The following are the potential risks of eating walnuts during pregnancy -

    • • Consuming it in excess can lead to diarrhoea during pregnancy.
    • • Eating akhrots may interfere with iron absorption and can lead to anaemia in the long run.
    • • Any mild allergy to walnuts may get aggravated during pregnancy. So if you are likely allergic to nuts, do not consume them. Consuming the same can result in skin rashes, swelling of lips, itching, dizziness and wheezing.
    • • Eating walnuts during pregnancy can increase the chances of bleeding during delivery.

    Key Takeaways 

    Walnuts have significant health benefits for pregnant women (1). However, it must be consumed in moderate quantities as anything in excess is never good. If you are allergic to nuts, always consult your doctor before consuming walnuts. We hope our article has been insightful and helped solve your doubts!

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