Flaxseeds During Pregnancy

Flaxseeds During Pregnancy

Let’s know about Flaxseeds During Pregnancy. While wandering through the local supermarket, there will always be an attractive packet of flax seeds that will entice you. And, of course, you’ve also read about the benefits of flaxseed because you want to provide complete nutrition to the baby growing inside you. But you may be left wondering “are flax seeds safe during pregnancy?” It is definitely important to be fully aware of the associated risks, benefits and recommended amounts of intake before including it in your diet during pregnancy.

What are flax seeds?

Flaxseeds During Pregnancy
Flaxseeds During Pregnancy

Flaxseeds are produced from the flax plant and are known to be an effective laxative, it also has many other benefits that have only recently been discovered. Alsi is known as ‘Flax Seeds’ in English. It is grown in cool regions and contains magnesium, potassium, protein, zinc, vitamin E and B6. Flaxseeds contain an omega-3 fatty acid known as alpha-linolenic acid, which may help reduce inflammation and cholesterol levels. Due to the fiber content in it, flax seeds are also helpful in controlling blood sugar and cholesterol to a great extent.

Is it safe to eat flax seeds during pregnancy?

Pregnancy is a delicate time and you should choose your diet carefully during this time. You should also make the safest dietary choices possible for your health and that of your baby. However, opinions are divided in the medical community regarding the consumption of flaxseeds in pregnancy. According to some sources, the nutrients in flax seeds  help reduce the risk of cancer, diabetes and heart diseases.

If you are plagued by the question, “Can I eat flax seeds when pregnant?” You should know that no studies have been done on humans in this topic. However, tests conducted on animals have shown that high doses of this seed can prove to be harmful to the fetus. In such cases, it is important to consult your doctor before including flax seeds in your diet.

nutritional value of flax seeds

Here are some nutrition facts about flax seeds. There are 534 calories in every 100 grams of Flaxseeds. This means that when you consume one tablespoon of flaxseed (about 10 grams), you are consuming 55 calories. Flax seeds contain 42% fat, 29% carbohydrate and 18% protein. About 95% of the carbohydrate in flax seeds is fiber, of which 20% to 40% is soluble fiber and 60% to 80% is insoluble fiber. This combination of fiber makes it a natural laxative and keeps the digestive system healthy.

Benefits of flax seeds for pregnant women

Flaxseeds have many health benefits in pregnancy but pregnant women can consult their doctor before including it in their diet.

  1. Important nutrients included: Flaxseeds contain linoleic acid, alpha-linoleic acid, or omega-3 polyunsaturated fat. They are essential during pregnancy as they aid in the development of the fetal brain in the early months of pregnancy.
  2. Helps relieve constipation : Pregnant women often complain of constipation and flaxseeds being a natural laxative can provide relief from the condition. Since bowel movements become regular, it helps prevent piles as well. 
  3. Regulates blood sugar levels : Blood sugar levels tend to rise during pregnancy and flaxseeds help maintain them at a controlled level. For this reason, the chances of high birth weight and cesarean delivery can be reduced. 
  4. Reduces Hot Flashes : Flaxseeds are also known to reduce excessive heat during pregnancy. 
  5. Mineral Supplements: Your body needs nutrients because they are constantly being consumed by you and your baby. Minerals such as magnesium, selenium and potassium are replenished when you include flax seeds in your diet. 
  6. Improves Immune System: Consuming flax seeds provides protection against deadly diseases like cancer as they are rich in lignans (phytonutrients).
  7. Help control diabetes: The soluble fiber present in flax seeds works against diabetes.
  8. Reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases: Studies have shown that cardiovascular diseases can be avoided as flax seeds are known to have blood-thinning properties.

How to include flax seeds in your diet

Doctors do not recommend eating raw flaxseeds because they contain small amounts of cyanide. The best way to include flax seeds in your diet is by roasting them as it destroys the cyanide compounds present in it.

  • It is best to grind the seeds into a powder for complete absorption. If you want to avoid its direct consumption, then you can mix this powder in your fresh juice or curd.
  • You can use flaxseed powder to garnish your salads, snacks or meals.

To keep the freshness of flax seeds and keep it crisp, it is necessary to keep it in an air-tight container.

how much flax seeds can i eat when pregnant

Considering that alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) is required at 1.4 grams per day, it is important to consume flaxseeds in moderation during pregnancy. This means that you can safely consume up to one tablespoon of freshly ground flaxseeds without worry. Flaxseed is a common food that can be included in our daily diet. Nevertheless, do consult your doctor.

Side effects of flaxseed consumption

Here are some of the known side effects of eating flaxseeds during pregnancy, as pregnant women often ask whether consuming flaxseeds is harmful:

  1. Since you are very careful about your diet during pregnancy, do not eat raw flaxseeds as you may experience an increase in your blood pressure levels.
  2. Pregnant women may experience nausea and diarrhea when flaxseed is consumed in excess.
  3. If you have a nut allergy, you may experience symptoms such as difficulty breathing or tightness around the chest when you eat flaxseed.
  4. Swelling of the lips is also a common side effect of eating flax seeds during pregnancy.
  5. Raw flaxseeds contain very small amounts of cyanide which can result in poisoning.

Since there is still a split opinion regarding the quantity, benefits and side effects of including flax seeds in your diet during pregnancy, you are advised to consult your doctor regarding the same. While welcoming a new life into our world, we would advise always opting for the safe.