Pregnant women need to eat a healthy and balanced diet with plenty of protein, carbohydrates and healthy fats. Because all of the nutrients a developing fetus receives comes directly from mom’s diet, mothers-to-be should avoid eating foods that contain lots of calories and little nutritional value. Nuts and nut products can be part of a healthy pregnancy diet, but there are a few things that pregnant women should take into account before opening a can of mixed nuts.
Mixed Nut Nutrition
Nuts are high in a range of healthy nutrients that a developing fetus needs. A typical can of mixed nuts contains a mixture of peanuts, walnuts, Brazil nuts, almonds, pecans, cashews and hazelnuts. A handful of mixed nuts provides protein and monounsaturated fats, the heart-healthy kind of fat also found in olive oil and avocados. Nuts are also a good source of folic acid, the micronutrient that helps prevent spina bifida and other neural tube defects. The fiber in nuts can also be beneficial for relieving constipation caused by pregnancy.
One concern about eating any type of nuts during pregnancy is the possibility of a nut allergy developing in the fetus. While in the past pregnant women have been advised not to eat nuts or peanuts during pregnancy if they had a family history of nut allergies or other allergic conditions such as asthma, the American Academy of Pediatrics, changed this recommendation in 2008. Now, pregnant women need not avoid nuts, even with a family history of allergies, unless they themselves are allergic.
The daily consumption of nuts may cause a rise in asthma risk for the fetus. However, this association only existed for women who ate nuts or nut products daily, not for those who only had an occasional handful of nuts.