Are you searching for a tasty and healthy way to satiate the cravings of your sweet tooth during pregnancy? Try dark chocolate with the oodles of benefits for you and your fetus. It is one the most luscious and decadent treats you could bite in. The tempting array of compelling reasons does nothing, but lure your more to treating yourself with chocolate.
According to a study that showcased at the Pregnancy Meeting of the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine in Atlanta, GA couple of months back in 2016, expectant mothers can indulge in 30 grams of dark chocolate.
Read on to know more about the benefits of indulging in this decadent delight as you take baby steps towards motherhood.
The Benefits of Eating Dark Chocolate During Pregnancy
- It could thwart the risk of pre-eclampsia!
Pre-eclampsia is a life threatening health condition that paves way for premature birthing. Women who have high blood pressure are at a higher risk of developing this condition, leading to convulsions. It eventually leads to the formation of the clots in the blood and damaging the liver. Certain women may also experience a renal failure.
Studies published in the Annals of Epidemiology suggest that intake of theobromine-rich dark chocolate could help in alleviating and preventing the risk of this condition. According to yet another study that was conducted by the University, women who consumed dark chocolate regularly while pregnant had 50% lesser chances of developing pre-eclampsia.
- Helps in regulating your blood pressure levels
Studies conducted on the connection between dark chocolate and blood pressure levels reveal that theobromine present in the chocolate could help in blood vessels dilation. It also helps the muscles to relax. Theobormine has the potential to stimulate your heart and prevent the uprising of blood pressure levels.
[ Read: How Does Six Meal Diet Help In Pregnancy ]
- Rich source of powerful antioxidants
The darker your chocolate is, the more dense the concentration of antioxidants will be. This decadent delight, packed with flavonoids, helps in shielding the pregnant women from various types of cancers as well as support the functioning of cardiovascular system.
- Eases stress and anxiety
The ever-changing pregnancy hormones actually leave the woman confused and stressed. Along with managing her health, she will be worried about her fetus getting adequate levels of nutrition. Bite into a lush slice of dark chocolate and let throbromine weave its magic through you, helping you unwind and relax. But make sure you are not going overboard….
[ Read: How To Include Tulsi During Pregnancy ]
- Keeps you and the baby happy
According to a study that appeared in the magazine, The New Scientist, women who consumed dark chocolate during their pregnancy gave birth to babies who were livelier and happier than the babies of those who did not eat chocolate. While studies are yet to find out the actual reason behind this phenomenon, many suggest that it could be phenylethylamine that could be doing this.
- Enhances your immunity
The powerful antioxidants present in chocolate helps in warding off the free radicals, which if left untamed could pull your immune system down. Dark chocolate is also a good source of various minerals including iron and magnesium as well as health-friendly nutrients that could improve your immunity.
- Helps in lowering your cholesterol levels
Choosing a dark chocolate that contains sugar and fat is pretty less amounts could be benefitted from its cholesterol lowering properties.
- Good for your heart
- Helps in healthy weight gain
According to studies, women who consumed dark chocolate to ease their sweet teeth craving while pregnant gained weight in a healthy way than those who chose to omit this sweet treat. However, it is advisable not to indulge in too much of chocolate, even though it has lower levels of fat and sugar. Little drops of water make the might ocean – just remember that!
- Helps in preventing depression
Dark chocolate is a rich source of serotonin. Thus, it could act as an antidepressant and uplift your mood if you are feeling low.
[ Read: How Yoga Can Help Relieve Depression ]
- It is a good source of minerals
Dark chocolate is a natural source of various minerals including selenium, zinc, and potassium. What more – every 100 grams of dark chocolate which contains more than 70 percent cocoa yields 67% of the recommended daily value of iron.
- Keeps your skin healthy and glowing
The rich presence of various antioxidants in dark chocolate makes it a powerful solution to ward off the free radicals induced by the sun. It also contains theobromine that could help in easing the puffiness experienced by the skin during pregnancy.
- It could prevent gestational diabetes
Studies suggest that cocoa helps in improving the insulin sensitivity. Hence, dark chocolate, when consumed in moderation, could help in preventing the onset of gestational diabetes.
A word of caution
Dark chocolate is richly laden with caffeine. Studies conducted on the link between caffeine and pregnancy suggest that caffeine could actually diminish the flow of blood to the placenta, triggering miscarriage. It could also elevate your blood pressure and heart rate, putting you at a higher risk of premature birthing. One ounce of dark chocolate contains about 20 mg caffeine and according to studies, a pregnant woman should consume a maximum of only 200 mg of caffeine per day. So make sure you are restricting your chocolate intake to a maximum of 30 grams a day to avoid undesirable moments.
In addition, 1.5 ounces of dark chocolate contains about 18 grams of sugar. As you all know, excessive consumption of sugar, typically beyond 25 grams a day, could lead to uncontrollable weight gain and gestational diabetes. Excessive sugar intake during pregnancy is also known to have negative impact on the growth of the fetus.
Eating in moderation is the key to enjoying a healthy pregnancy. So eat your dark chocolate judiciously and stay safe!