7 Benefits of Eating Chocolate During Pregnancy
Posted on 28 September 2018
During pregnancy, you are required to pay attention to everything you eat, to aid positive growth for the growing child and yourself. Chocolate is one of those snacks you've probably had a second thought on before chowing down on, but the good news is that chocolate has many benefits for you in pregnancy.
Chocolate contains caffeine, and while it has been shown to be safe for pregnant women, it is also essential that they keep their caffeine intake under 200mg a day. This is because it interferes with how the body functions during pregnancy, by affecting neurotransmitters, which could eventually lead to excess weight gain and gestational diabetes.
However, the benefits of chocolate when eaten in moderation cannot be overemphasized. Here are a few reasons why you should include chocolate superfood in your diet.
1. Reduces cholesterol levels
Dark chocolate is lower in sugar and fat and has been shown to help reduce cholesterol levels in pregnant women. It contains flavonoids which lower bad LDL cholesterol and raise good HDL cholesterol and also regulates blood sugar levels. This helps with improved blood circulation.
2. Contains essential antioxidants
Chocolate has a higher antioxidant activity than most other foods. It contains essential antioxidants like flavonoids and polyphenols. Flavonoids and Polyphenols play a massive role in reducing the risk of vascular disease, improving bone health, preventing cancer, aiding in weight loss, and also has anti-inflammatory effects.
3. Helps in blood pressure regulation
Several studies have arrived on a conclusion on how chocolate helps to regulate blood pressure in pregnant women, due to its Theobromine component. Theobromine is a vasodilator, with a basic function to widen the blood vessels and allow easier blood circulation. This is good news for pregnant women with pre-eclampsia or high blood pressure.
4. Gives happier babies
Chocolate contains phenylethylamine which helps to improve mood and attention and also helps with depression. When you eat chocolate, this chemical makes the brain release endorphins, which makes you happy. These endorphins are then passed on to your baby, and you will gradually be grooming a happier and livelier baby. Also, due to the improved blood circulation you get from eating chocolates, blood easily flows to the brain and makes you feel less foggy and more energetic.
5. Good source of Iron and Magnesium
A study found that you can get as much as 67% of the recommended daily intake of iron and 58% of magnesium by eating 100g of dark chocolate. Iron is a vital component of hemoglobin, which helps to transport oxygen from the lungs throughout the body. With enough iron in your system, there will definitely be enough healthy oxygen circulating through your body, which will also help with the growth of your baby. Magnesium, on the other hand, helps to metabolize fatty acids, absorb calcium, improve heart health and reduce the risk of diabetes. By eating chocolate, you gain these benefits for not just yourself but also for the little one growing in you.
6. Relieves stress
Chocolate contains flavonoids which trigger endorphin and serotonin levels in the brain. These are "feel good" chemicals that will help relieve stress and put you in a better mood. Pregnancy can be really stressful, and there are times when you will get tired and want to quit, but you really can't do that, right? Rather than complaining, you can snack on some chocolate to help balance your stress hormones and lower your stress levels. Research published in the Proteome Research established that there is a reduced level of cortisol hormone, also known as the stress hormone, from eating 1.4 ounces of dark chocolate every day for two weeks.
7. Reduces the risk of pre-eclampsia
Pre-eclampsia is one of the most dreaded situations in pregnancy, being one of the many causes of premature birth. It stems from high blood pressure and protein levels in the urine during pregnancy. The good news, however, is that the risk of this condition can be reduced by eating chocolate. High blood pressure leads to convulsions and then causes the blood to clot. Chocolate has been shown to help improve blood circulation, which will reduce the risk of high blood pressure.
A recent study has also shown how women who consumed dark chocolate daily had a 50% reduced risk of developing pre-eclampsia.
While eating chocolate has been shown to benefit pregnant women in many ways, it is also important to eat it in moderation because of the caffeine content. Too much caffeine can cause miscarriage, and the sugar content can increase your blood sugar level. This is why dark chocolate is often recommended in pregnancy.
Joshua is a writer who loves to write an article on health & fitness. He is always involved in fitness. He believes health is wealth & to stay healthy & for that, we need to have a chocolate superfood along with detox drinks!