When you are pregnant, you want your body and baby to get a healthy stream of nutrients throughout the day. The best way to accomplish that is to eat 5 to 6 smaller meals a day, add 300 calories to your usual diet and make those extra calories count. Enter the superfood chia seeds.
Chia seeds could be an excellent nutrient source and dietary inclusion for pregnancy. These little black seeds have been gaining popularity since 2009, and have been labeled a “superfood” for many reasons.
Here’s why you might want to indulge in chia seeds during pregnancy:
- They’re high in fiber. During pregnancy, the body goes through a variety of GI changes, and an adequate fiber intake could help prevent bouts of constipation. What's more, chia seeds become gel-like when mixed with liquid and will help fill you up for longer periods of time.
- They are a good source of omega 3 fatty acids. Omega 3 fatty acids can help fight inflammation in the body as well as preventing heart disease by lowering blood pressure, heart rate and improve blood vessel functions. Adequate blood circulation during pregnancy is especially important for the mother and the fetus.
- They provide an energy boost. Exercising is certainly beneficial to the pregnant body, and if you are advanced, consuming chia seeds before working out could provide an added boost of energy. A study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning revealed that the consumption of chia seeds enhanced exercise performance of greater than 90 minutes.
- They are a good source of calcium. If you’re vegetarian or vegan, chia seeds are worth considering because 1-2 tablespoons provide a good dose of calcium (88-176mg) -- The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for pregnant women is 1000mg of calcium a day.
For a tablespoon of chia seeds, you get:
- ~ 60 calories
- ~ 2 grams of protein
- ~ 4 grams of fiber
- ~ 88 milligrams of calcium
- ~ 2.5 grams of omega-3 fatty acids (RDA for women is 1.1g)
Here are some easy ways to incorporate chia seeds into your diet:
- Chia beverages: Here’s an easy recipe to drink your chia seeds. If you’re on the go, brands like Mamma Chia have launched chia-based organic drinks packed with antioxidants.
- Breakfast blends: Oats is also an excellent source of fiber, especially during pregnancy. Start your morning off strong with this overnight oats and chia seeds recipe!
- Salad toppings: A homemade salad dressing or vinaigrette with chia seeds could give your greens just the essential nutritional boost it needs. Check out this recipe to add some pizazz to your greens, grilled veggies and even chicken.
- Use them for baking: Having healthy baked goods on hand is an excellent way to prevent the “hangry” feeling that can get during pregnancy. This delicious banana cake recipe is healthy and wholesome –- plus, it's a good snack to have with you for any time of the day!
- Satisfy your sweet tooth: Puddings with chia seeds are a popular choice for dessert – likely due to the texture of the seeds when mixed with liquid. Indulge yourself with this simple and tasty pudding recipe. The best part is, you can mix the ingredients the night before, place it in the fridge overnight and enjoy it fresh in the morning!
*Note: if you have a history of dysphagia or esophageal restrictions, please consult your doctor before consuming chia seeds.