Cravings are quite common during the phase of pregnancy. Every pregnant woman has a different set of cravings and wants to satisfy their taste buds, depending on their mood. One of the common yearning for several is to eat chocolate during pregnancy. But how well do you know if consuming them regularly is safe or not?
In this crucial time, it is important to note both the benefits as well as risks of eating any foods. Though having chocolate in pregnancy is a common sight, most of us do not bother to find out if it is really safe and suitable for consumption. Let us find out all the details here!
Chocolate in Pregnancy Safe?
If you are wondering, can we eat chocolate during pregnancy, and is it good, well! There are no studies that affirm that chocolate is not good to eat during the phase of pregnancy. It is indeed safe and good to have chocolates at this time, but always in moderation. Make note that expectant mothers must always keep their caffeine intake less than 200mg in a day. Given that the chocolates have caffeine loaded within in, excess consumption may cause gestational diabetes and severe unhealthy weight gain.
Nutritional Values of Chocolates for Pregnant Women:
Do you know that chocolates are extremely rich in magnesium, theobromine, and flavonoids? It is said that around 45g of milk chocolate bar contains 235 calories with 13g fat, and dark chocolate of the same quantity contains 290 calories and 19g fat. The magnesium is in higher proportion in the chocolates, which helps immensely to control and regulate blood pressure.
10 Benefits of Dark Chocolate During Pregnancy:
Consuming chocolates while pregnant is also extremely beneficial, and here are some ways.
1. Prevents Pre-Eclampsia:
Preeclampsia is one of the significant reasons for premature birth. This condition gives rise to the woman’s blood pressure, which sometimes can lead to convulsion. It might also give rise to clotting in the blood and also might damage your liver. Cocoa contains the bromine, which is its primary alkaloid. Thus dark chocolate during pregnancy help in preventing this condition.
2. Regulates Blood Pressure:
The primary alkaloid of bromine induces the blood pressure regulation of a woman’s body properly. It improves the flow of the blood and lowers blood pressure. Consumption of cocoa produces nitric oxide, which makes the arteries relax. Thus these conditions are considered healthy for a pregnant woman. This is mostly present in dark chocolates.
3. Relieves Stress:
Chocolate has an old age history of relieving people from fear. Thus this factor can be very advantageous for a pregnant woman who is undergoing stress. Stress and pregnancy go hand in hand. Therefore you can indulge in chocolate to get rid of any stress. It is comforting and thus helps in making you stress-free.
4. Happier Babies:
This conclusion has been drawn from various studies. It has been found that pregnant women when consuming chocolate, have more chances to give birth to happier babies. These babies are seen to be much more lively and healthy. These babies are also seen to respond in a better way to new situations.
Chocolates have flavonoids that consist of an optimum amount of anti-oxidants. These anti-oxidants improve the immunity efficiency of a pregnant woman. Thus it is very beneficial to have chocolate during pregnancy, which has many essential nutrients for a healthier pregnancy. It facilitates the proper working of the cardiovascular system and also helps to fight out certain cancers.
Nutrients like iron and magnesium are present in chocolates. Thus its intake during pregnancy can be beneficial for the woman. The presence of magnesium helps in the metabolism of fatty acids. The fats present inside the chocolates are saturated as well as monounsaturated ones. It also has plenty of zinc, potassium, selenium, and phosphorous.
7. Prevent Heart Diseases:
Anti-oxidants in chocolates help prevent heart diseases. The darker the chocolate and the higher the quality, the better it is for a pregnant woman. In several studies, it has been found out that chocolates help reduce deaths caused by heart diseases. Thus you can eat chocolate in pregnancy to avoid such possibilities.
8. Maintain Weight:
For your chocolate cravings, you should indulge in chocolate, which is low in fat and sugar content. This helps in maintaining body weight and also reduces cholesterol levels. When you consume chocolates in a moderate amount, it helps in lowering your cholesterol. Controlling and keeping your body weight during pregnancy is a must.
9. Uplifts the Mood:
There are various properties in chocolates that stimulate the neuro transmitter’s production. The neurotransmitters are called endorphins, the spinal cord, and few other parts of the body. When there is an increase of endorphins, it releases a pleasurable or well-being kind of feeling. Thus it helps in uplifting your mood and makes you feel better.
10. Energy Givers:
Chocolates are known for their sweetness, and this comes from sugar. It is said to have the right quantity of sugar, which facilitates energy. It helps in boosting up your strength, thus preventing you from feeling weak. We often wonder can pregnant women eat chocolate, and the answer is yes.
4 Risks and Side-Effects of Eating Too Many Dark Chocolates While Pregnant:
If you are quite overwhelmed knowing the benefits of having chocolates at this point, well, then you must also know the associated risks and possible dangers too! Here are a few effects of chocolate on pregnancy. One must not miss knowing!
1. Too Much Caffeine:
There is an optimum amount of caffeine present in chocolates. Consumption of caffeine gives rise to blood pressure. Thus it is entirely restricted for women who have hypertension. It also increases the possibilities of heart attacks and even death. Caffeine also facilitates the development of breast diseases or lead to heartburn. Thus its consumption should be limited.
2. Lots of Fat:
Due to its high sugar content, it has a high amount of fats in it. An excess amount of fat makes it difficult to maintain your body weight. It is essential to control your body weight at this. Thus having chocolate for pregnant women is highly necessary for the controlled intake of chocolates as it might otherwise increase your weight.
3. Having the Right Chocolate with Less Sugar:
There are various kinds of chocolates available in the market, and it is essential to choose the right type. Some of the chocolates are made with a high amount of sugar, while some are made with less sugar. It is crucial to choose the ones containing less amount of sugar like dark chocolate. Further, it is better to consult the doctor to know how much sugar an expectant mother can take, and the case can differ as per individual.
4. Limit the Intake:
It is essential to control the number of chocolates consumed daily. You should limit your chocolate intake to 200 mg each day. Satisfy your hunger cravings by chocolate consumption, but avoid overindulging. When you overindulge, it gives rise to multiple problems in your body. Hence, always note that chocolate can be good or bad for pregnancy, as per the intake.
How to Pick Best Chocolates While Pregnant:
Are all chocolates good for pregnancy? Not all of them are wise to be consumed at this point. The range of nutrient values is a vis fat content will vary depending on the range, and here is something you must keep in mind before you pick them up to satisfy your cravings.
A. No to Chocolate Mousse:
Chocolate mousse should be avoided as it contains raw eggs. Eggs, at times, cause various illnesses like listeriosis and toxoplasmosis. It should also be avoided to prevent any bacteria from entering the baby. It is recommended to consume other forms of chocolate rather than the mousse. You should eat healthy to stay healthy.
B. Organic with Less Sugar:
Always prefer sugarless or less-sugar options. Most of these use artificial sweeteners or refined white sugar, which is not suitable for a baby’s health. Then why take the risk? Go for organic ones!
Chocolate Milk During Pregnancy:
If you are also craving for some excellent hot chocolate milk, well, you must not stop yourself. Do you know that chocolate milk has a good dose of calcium and vitamin D? These nutrients help immensely for fetal development and the strengthening of the baby’s bones. You have good 280mg or more of calcium in one cup itself! What else do we need to protect and safeguard heart and muscle development?!
But make sure to consume the milk only in moderation. If you are gaining weight heavily, consult your doctor for the dosage and limits of intake.
Preferring Dark Chocolate During Pregnancy:
Besides any other type and variants in chocolates, dark chocolates have several benefits, as they are the most nutritional ones for pregnant women. They help relax muscles, protect against the possible complications through controlling blood pressure and reduce the risk of pre-eclampsia. But as we always tell, moderation is the key! Never skip on other meals by having too much of dark chocolates. They may reduce room in your stomach to have different meals and healthy foods.
It must never be the case that the expectant mother is consuming chocolates above and more than required, skipping regular meals and healthy fruits.
While we all love to hear that eating chocolate during pregnancy is safe and sound, it must be noted that the limitation and moderation is the key. Never rejoice too much about the consumption of chocolates. It is good if one can keep the possible dangers as well in mind besides the benefits and work on overall healthy food intake.
The article merely tells the overall perception and opinion on having chocolates while pregnant. It is required to take note of the doctor’s suggestion and personal condition based on overall health. The limit and quantity may always depend as per the health of the expectant mother. Do take your doctor’s advice for further details.
Frequently Asked Questions and Answers on Chocolate and Pregnancy:
Q1. How Much Chocolate is Safe During Pregnancy?
Ans: The maximum limit and quantity of having chocolates depend as per the first, second or third trimester. However, the upper limit on how much chocolate one can take at this phase depends on the overall health condition of the expectant mother. This can be best discussed with your family medical professional.
Q2. Why Do I Crave for Chocolates During Pregnancy?
Ans: In most of the cases, women in early pregnancy may crave for chocolates more than others. Whatever be the case, the general deficiency in vitamins, antioxidants, and magnesium levels makes one crave for chocolates.
Q3. Which Chocolate is Good for Pregnancy, and Which is to be Avoided?
Ans: Dark chocolates are among the most recommended ones to be consumed during pregnancy. They have higher levels of magnesium, iron, calcium, and potassium, which is suitable for the growth and development of the baby. Avoid white chocolate as they have very high sugars.