During pregnancy our nutritional needs increase to support our growing babies and bellies. There is one simple food, which packs a nutritional power punch- the humble little chia seed!
Here are five reasons this amazing seed should be added to your healthy pregnancy eating plan!
1. Omega 3 fatty acids
Important for babies’ brain development and recently shown to decrease allergies and eczema in babies whose mothers consumed Omega-3s while pregnant, this is clearly an amazing nutrient!
Chia seeds are the highest known plant source of omega-3s, which not only benefit your unborn baby, but will also benefit your hair, skin and nails.
An expecting mother needs to consume around 70g protein each day to assist with growing organs and tissues in her unborn baby, as well her own growing body. It contributes to muscle growth, which is very important in supporting your expanding bump, preparing for labour and caring for your baby afterwards. Protein also helps to keep you full, reducing the risk of cravings for unhealthy, fatty or sugary food.
Chia seeds contain approximately 4g of protein per 2tbsp serving, making them an excellent compliment to your main sources of protein including meat, poultry, tofu and nuts.
Containing over a third of a pregnant woman’s daily fibre needs, chia seeds are loaded with this important nutrient. A common symptom of pregnancy is constipation, with fibre being a key contributor for a healthy digestive system along with adequate water intake and regular exercise.
A 2tbsp serving of chia seeds contains 11 grams of fibre, or just over a third of your RDI in pregnancy- that’s more than oatmeal!
Boasting three times more iron than spinach, chia seeds are an easy way to get more of this essential nutrient into your diet. When pregnant, our blood volume increases by nearly 50%! Iron supports the healthy development of the extra red blood cells required for carrying adequate oxygen around our bodies and to our baby. It’s also very important for our energy levels, which are often lacking particularly in the first and third trimester.
Cramps (especially in the legs) are common in pregnancy resulting in great discomfort, particularly in the third trimester. Magnesium is said to ease cramps and muscle tension and may even reduce the chance of premature labour by reducing early uterus contractions.
Symptoms of magnesium deficiency include nausea and muscles spasms, both of which would be very unwelcome visitors when expecting. It is important to speak with your doctor if you suspect a deficiency.
Chia seeds are said to contain up to 15 times more magnesium than broccoli, making them an excellent source!
So sprinkle them on your cereal, add them to your Healthy Mummy Pregnancy Smoothies or salads or use them in healthy treats. So simple to use, with so many health benefits!
Here is a delicious recipe using chia seeds that will hit the spot for any of those salty cravings you might have during your pregnancy:
Parmesan and chia crisps
- 6 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
- 2 tbsp chia seeds
- Preheat oven to 180°C.
- Combine grated cheese and chia seeds in a small bowl.
- Using a round cookie cutter as a guide, sprinkle mixture within the cutter onto a baking tray lined with baking paper.
- Bake for 5 minutes until golden and crisp. The cheese will melt and combine with the seeds and become crispy.
- Other ingredients that may be added include: black pepper, herbs such as oregano, cooked or raw quinoa- the options are endless!
- Store in an airtight container.
- Serves 3 (approx. 5 chips), 85 cal per serve, 5g protein, 4g fat