Good news if you’ve been craving chocolate during your pregnancy! Several studies now show that indulging in the delicious treat is actually good for both you and your baby!
Calm Yourself, and Baby, With Chocolate
According to a Finnish study cited in Jena Pincott’s book, Do Chocolate Lovers Have Sweeter Babies, the regular consumption of chocolate by expectant mothers cuts their stress level. This is likely due to the release of hormones, including the endorphin serotonin, that play a key role in our ability to regulate mood. Endorphins from the mother’s blood stream cross to their developing baby via the placenta, and the same research shows that mothers who regularly consume chocolate tend to give birth to babies that are more calm and less fussy.
Reduce Blood Pressure and Boost Iron Levels with Dark Chocolate
Many scientists believe that the theobromine in chocolate can help to lower blood pressure as it helps to relax the walls of our blood vessels, helping them to dilate and remain more open. Research conducted at Yale University indicates that pregnant moms who regularly consume dark chocolate have a much lower risk of developing a dangerous condition that is tied to high blood pressure: preeclampsia.
Dark chocolate is also a rich source of iron, and eating just 30 grams of dark chocolate daily dramatically reduces mom’s chances of developing anemia during her pregnancy.
In addition to theobromine and iron, chocolate also contains flavonoids that are powerful antioxidents, which can help expectant moms build their immunity and be more able to ward off illness as well as the effects of stress.
Defeat Leg Cramps
Many pregnant women experience painful contractions of their calf and other leg muscles during pregnancy. Since dark chocolate is also a rich source of magnesium, it can help pregnant women to decrease or even eliminate the number of leg cramps that they experience.
Control Cholesterol Levels and Weight
In addition to iron, theobromine and magnesium, dark chocolate contains over 600 helpful compounds. One of these compounds is oleic acid, which is also found in olive oil and is believed to reduce the level of “bad” cholesterol in the body. This compound can help protect the hearts of pregnant women as well as assist them in better managing their weight gain during their pregnancy.
Is There Anything to Keep in Mind When Consuming Chocolate While Pregnant?
Despite all of the health benefits of regular chocolate consumption during pregnancy, there are a few things expectant mothers need to keep in mind. The first is that most of the studies indicate that the best results come from regular, moderate consumption of dark chocolate.
Other varieties of chocolate do not have the same concentrations of flavonoids and other compounds, and some, including milk chocolate, and usually have higher quantities of fat and sugar which can be unhealthy. And you may not reap any benefits from chocolate cake either but it doesn’t make it taste any less delicious. Pregnant moms might want to aim for about 30 grams of lightly sweetened dark chocolate daily.
Expectant mothers should also adjust the rest of their diet and drink a little less coffee and tea each day if they regularly consume chocolate, as this substance naturally occurs in both light and dark varieties.
In moderation, chocolate, especially dark chocolate is likely a good choice for moms to be to enjoy during their pregnancies.