If you follow the latest in the field of health, then you would have surely come across flax seeds in the list of superfoods. Walk down any grocery aisle and you are likely to find them there too.
Flax seeds have long been consumed as a part of the traditional diet in many regions in India, especially Gujarat and Rajasthan. However, their suitability for pregnant women is debated. If you are pregnant and confused if flax seeds are the ideal food for you, then read on to find your answers.
What are flax seeds?
Flax seeds are also commonly called linseeds and in India are known as “Alsi”. They are a little bigger than sesame seeds and dark brown in colour and packed with some amazing nutritional benefits.
The ideal way to eat flax seeds is by roasting them as roasting destroys the trace amounts of cyanide found in flax seeds which can be harmful when eaten raw in large quantities. Since flax seeds can be difficult to chew, grinding the roasted flax seeds makes them easier to add to various dishes and consume. Also, refrigerate the flaxseed powder as it will otherwise get rancid.
Is it safe to eat Flaxseeds during pregnancy?
Flax seeds are safe to eat in small quantities whether you are pregnant or not. The optimum amount to be eaten is one teaspoon of roasted flax seeds per day which will meet your daily requirement of 1.4g alpha-linoleic acid (ALA) which is a form of Omega-3 acid found in flax seeds.
Some pregnant women, however, could face a few side effects by including flax seeds in their diets which could include:
- Nausea, diarrhoea, and gas due to over-consumption.
- Women allergic to nuts might experience allergic reactions such as swelling of lips, tightness in chest or breathing problems.
- A sudden increase in blood pressure when you consume unripe or raw flaxseeds.
- Cyanide poisoning when raw flaxseeds are consumed in excess amounts.
In such situations, seek medical attention immediately.
Remember, do not replace flax seeds with flaxseed oil or supplements while pregnant as even though they might have similar benefits, they can cause harm to the growing baby by increasing the chances of preterm birth.This is not the case while eating whole, roasted flax seeds.
Benefits of Roasted Flax seeds during pregnancy:
- The Best source of Omega-3 fatty acid: Flaxseeds are the no.1 source of Omega-3 fatty acids among seeds. Alpha-Linolenic acid (ALA) is a form of Omega 3 acid found in flaxseeds which is essential for a baby’s brain development.
- Relieve constipation: The high fibre content of flax seeds provides the much-needed fibre in your diet thus relieving pregnancy related constipation.
- Diabetes management: Many women suffer from pregnancy-related diabetes which could lead to high birth-weight of the baby, increased chances of caesarean and pre-eclampsia (high BP or hypertension). Incorporating flax seeds in the diet helps regulate blood sugar levels and manage pregnancy-related diabetes.
- Managing Hot Flashes: Hot flushes are a common pregnancy-related problem. As the hormone levels are changing during pregnancy, some women experience a temporary, unpleasant feeling of warmth which causes them to break out in a sweat, usually in the head, neck, and chest areas. Flaxseeds are known to reduce the occurrence of hot flushes.
- Provides adequate minerals: A mother-to-be needs more minerals and nutrients as those in her body are being constantly consumed by the growing baby. Flaxseeds contain minerals like magnesium, selenium, and potassium which are replenished in your body when flaxseeds are included in the diet.
- Lower risk of cardiovascular diseases: Research indicates that flaxseeds help lower the bad cholesterol levels (LDL) and increase the good cholesterol levels (HDL). They are also known to possess blood thinning properties, which reduce the risk of clogging in arteries.
Also Read: 9 Home Remedies to Reduce Hair Fall during and after Pregnancy
How to include Roasted Flaxseeds in your diet?
- Palak flaxseed phulka: This recipe packs the goodness of flaxseeds with the benefits of iron from palak and pairs really well with the Indian sabzis or gravies.
- Flaxseed smoothie: This ultimate pregnancy smoothie is packed with the best foods to aid in your baby’s overall development and to give you the much-needed pregnancy glow.
- Mix it in your yogurt: Adding flaxseed to yogurt is not just simple but gives the yogurt a nutty, chewy texture.
- Flax-seed pancakes: Kick start your mornings with these delicious and nutritious fluffy pancakes.
- You could also sprinkle crisp, roasted flaxseeds over your fresh salad for extra taste and health.
Also Read: Is It Safe To Get Waxed During Pregnancy?
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