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HomeHealth articlespregnancyWhat Are the Benefits of Eating Nuts During Pregnancy?

Diet During Pregnancy: An Overview

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Nuts contain high amounts of fatty and folic acids, which are helpful in fetal growth. This article explains the benefits of eating nuts during pregnancy.

Written by

Dr. Asha. C

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Priyadarshini Tripathy

Published At November 3, 2022
Reviewed AtMay 20, 2024


During pregnancy, a good and balanced diet is more important for the health of the mother and the baby. The growth and development of the baby depend on what mothers consume, so it is vital to plan a diet that helps in fetal development. Consuming nuts during pregnancy helps in the neural development of the fetus as it contains a high amount of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids and folic acids.

What Are the Benefits of Eating Nuts During Pregnancy?

Nuts are rich in fatty acids, such as omega-3 and omega-6, and folic acids, which are very important for neural development. Almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, peanuts, and pine nuts, are nuts that provide many health benefits during pregnancy. Nuts are loaded with polyunsaturated fatty acids, fibers, plant sterols, vitamin E, and L-arginine that help in reducing the risk of diseases like diabetes, hypertension, and oxidative stress.

Some fatty acids can only be got from the diet because of the fact that the body cannot synthesize them on its own and are called essential fatty acids. The requirement for omega-3 fatty acids increases during pregnancy compared to nonpregnant women. Many researchers say that omega-fatty acids play a crucial role in the timing of gestation and the birth weight of newborns.

During pregnancy, when mothers eat a handful of nuts, it can cause the accumulation of omega fatty acids and nutritional components in the frontal part of the fetal brain, which leads to improvement in memory and other cognitive functions. Many studies have proven that nut consumption during the early period of pregnancy provides long-term benefits for a child's cognitive and motor development.

Many studies advised women to avoid eating peanuts during pregnancy if they have a history of allergies, like food allergies, eczema, asthma, or hay fever. However, recent research does not show evidence of allergic reactions while peanut consumption during pregnancy and the development of peanut allergy in babies. So these days, doctors suggest pregnant women eat peanuts or peanut butter unless they are allergic to them.

How Does Nut Eating During Pregnancy Affect the Baby?

Many studies suggest that women who eat nuts in early pregnancy have brainier kids, and their children have higher levels of attention, develop better memories, and have more thinking skills.

Consumption of around 90 grams of nuts like walnuts, almonds, pine nuts, peanuts, or hazelnuts which contain healthy fatty acids, in the first three months of pregnancy is considered best because the brain undergoes many complex processes during this period.

Maternal nutrition is the most determining factor in fetal brain development and can have long-term effects on babies. The beneficial effects observed can be because the consumption of nuts provided high levels of folic acid and essential fatty acids like omega-3 and omega-6. These components will accumulate in the neural tissue, mainly in the frontal areas of the brain, which influence executive functions and memory.

The study also suggests that nut consumption in the third trimester of pregnancy might reduce the risk of diabetes and high blood pressure and protect against mental decline in old age.

Nuts contain a high amount of omega fatty acids; consumption of omega-3 fatty acids, especially docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), is also crucial during pregnancy as it is a vital ingredient for the structural and functional development of the retina, fetal brain, and immune system.

Polyunsaturated fatty acids are associated with several physiological functions, including maintaining cell membrane composition, regulating gene expression, and modulation of membrane channels and proteins. Additionally, they have anti-inflammatory effects, which are particularly beneficial during pregnancy.

What Are the Health Benefits of Eating Walnuts During Pregnancy?

  • Walnuts are packed with protein and Omega-3 fatty acids which help in the development of the brain and eyes of the unborn baby.

  • Walnuts contain copper that can help in the proper growth and development of the fetus, which is required to form red blood cells. Additionally, copper also helps break down sugars and repair tissues.

  • Eating walnuts in adequate quantities can also help maintain a standard lipid profile during pregnancy.

  • They are a good sources of proteins and fiber, which are vital for pregnant women.

  • Walnut contains antioxidants that can help strengthen the immune system of an expecting woman. It is recommended to eat walnuts along with brown skin. This is because 90 percent of the antioxidants found in walnuts are concentrated in their skin.

  • Walnuts help in regulating melatonin levels which induce sleep. Eating walnuts during the third trimester can be helpful as sleep becomes a primary concern.

  • Manganese is an essential nutrient for developing a baby's cartilage and bones. Half of the daily requirement of manganese can be gained by one serving of walnut.

  • Post-delivery, consuming walnuts helps to keep postpartum depression away. Alpha-linolenic acid in walnuts is good for fighting against postpartum depression, manic-depressive psychosis, and even dementia.

What Are the Complications of Walnut Consumption?

Walnuts can be consumed during pregnancy, but not excessively. Only 30 grams of walnut is recommended to be consumed in a day while pregnant because consuming too many walnuts can trigger complications for the mother and the fetus.

  • Diarrhea during pregnancy.

  • Eating more walnuts may interfere with iron absorption and cause anemia in the long run.

  • If allergic to nuts, consuming even a small amount of walnuts during pregnancy can cause swelling of lips, itching, skin rashes, wheezing, and dizziness.

  • Walnuts can increase the chances of bleeding during delivery.

What Are the Benefits of Eating Almonds During Pregnancy?

  • Almonds are a rich source of folic acid. It is an essential part of nutrients required during pregnancy as it is important in the fetus's neurological development and helps prevent many birth defects.

  • Almonds are rich in dietary fibers, which help in preventing gestational diabetes and regulating blood sugar levels. It can also reduce the risk of high blood pressure during pregnancy.

  • Being rich in dietary fats and carbohydrates, almonds help in reducing oxidative stress, inflammation, and blood sugar during pregnancy.

  • Almonds contain iron which helps boost a baby's immunity and heart development. As well as iron is important in carrying oxygen through the mother's body to the baby, which helps pregnant women cope with tiredness during pregnancy.

  • A daily intake of almonds during pregnancy helps in maintaining a healthy weight.

  • The content of magnesium in almonds helps strengthen the baby's bones and teeth.

  • Almonds regulate insulin, control blood pressure and blood sugar levels, and stimulate enzyme function, preventing preeclampsia and poor fetal growth.

What Are the Other Nuts That Can Be Consumed During Pregnancy?

  • Peanuts are a copious source of protein and folate, which helps the baby's brain and spine development. Additionally, they contain other important minerals, such as biotin, copper, and manganese.

  • Pistachios are rich in antioxidants, such as vitamin E, and minerals, such as zinc, selenium, and iron. Like other nuts, pistachios are rich in fiber, so they are great for helping to regulate digestion.

  • Macadamia nuts are packed with many vitamins and minerals. It also contains fiber, which helps regulate digestion. Additionally, they help in regulating blood sugar and reduce inflammation.

  • Cashew nutshave a creamy taste and contain monounsaturated fats, including oleic and palmitoleic acids. Cashew cream is a vegan alternative to whipping cream.

  • Pecans are a good source of manganese and copper, which helps in the metabolism and can reduce inflammation. They are also deficient in sugar.


Consuming nuts during pregnancy is very beneficial for the mother and the development of the fetus. Nuts like almond, walnuts, hazelnuts, pine nuts, and peanuts contain fatty acids and many vital nutrients which help in brain development, bone, eyes, etc. Even though munching nuts are very healthy during pregnancy, excess consumption can cause many side effects.

Frequently Asked Questions


How Should Pregnant Women Diet?

Pregnant women should maintain a balanced diet rich in essential nutrients like folic acid, iron, calcium, and protein. Incorporating a variety of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and dairy products is crucial. Consultation with a healthcare provider can help tailor the diet to individual needs for a healthy pregnancy.


What Foods Are Not Recommended During Pregnancy?

During pregnancy, it's advisable to steer clear of specific foods due to potential hazards. These include raw or undercooked seafood, unpasteurized dairy products, deli meats, high-mercury fish, raw eggs, and excessive caffeine. Additionally, soft cheeses, processed foods, and foods with a high risk of bacterial contamination should be consumed with caution to ensure a safe pregnancy.


What Types of Fruits Should Pregnant Individuals Steer Clear Of?

Pregnant individuals should avoid fruits with a higher risk of contamination or allergic reactions, such as unpasteurized juices, underripe papaya, and unwashed fruits. While most fruits are beneficial, practicing proper hygiene and choosing well-washed or peeled options can help mitigate potential risks during pregnancy.


How Does the Consumption of Coconut Water Fare in Early Pregnancy?

Consuming coconut water in early pregnancy is generally considered safe due to its natural hydration and electrolyte content. However, moderation is key, as excessive intake could potentially lead to a high intake of potassium and sugar. It's advisable to consult a healthcare provider before making any significant changes to one's diet during pregnancy.


How Should One Approach Vegetables to Avoid While Pregnant?

During pregnancy, certain vegetables should be approached cautiously. Raw sprouts, like alfalfa, mung bean, or clover, can harbor bacteria. Cooking these vegetables thoroughly eliminates risks. Additionally, washing all vegetables thoroughly and avoiding those causing digestive discomfort can help ensure a safe and healthy pregnancy diet.


How Much Blood Does a Pregnant Woman Typically Have?

A pregnant woman's blood volume increases significantly during pregnancy, typically by around 30 to 50 %. This increase is essential to support the growing fetus and placenta, as well as accommodate the body's changing needs. The average blood volume during pregnancy ranges from 4.5 to 6.0 liters, varying based on individual factors.


How Should Nuts Be Approached During Pregnancy?

Nuts hold the potential to provide essential nutrients during pregnancy. Opt for varieties like almonds, walnuts, and pistachios that offer healthy fats and protein. However, be mindful of allergies and consume in moderation. Avoid overly salted or flavored nuts. Consulting a healthcare provider is wise, especially if there's a history of allergies.


How Does Sperm Potentially Affect the Developing Baby in the Womb?

Sperm plays a crucial role in fertilizing the egg and initiating pregnancy. Once fertilization occurs, the genetic material from both parents combines to form the baby's unique genetic makeup. Sperm doesn't have a direct ongoing impact on the developing baby beyond the initial fertilization process.


What Dried Fruits Should Be Avoided During Pregnancy?

Certain dried fruits with added sugars or sulfites should be avoided during pregnancy. These can include dried apricots, figs, and dates, especially those with added sweeteners. Opt for unsweetened varieties and moderate consumption due to their concentrated sugars. Seeking advice from a medical expert can offer tailored recommendations regarding the selection of dried fruits.


How Many Pistachios Can Be Consumed During Pregnancy?

Pregnant women can enjoy pistachios as a nutritious snack. Around 1 ounce (about 28 grams) per day is a reasonable amount. Pistachios offer protein, fiber, and essential nutrients. However, individual dietary needs vary, so consulting a healthcare provider can ensure appropriate consumption based on overall diet and health.


How Safe Is Cashew Consumption Throughout Pregnancy?

Cashew consumption is generally safe during pregnancy. Cashews provide healthy fats, protein, and minerals. However, as with any food, moderation is important to maintain a balanced diet. Allergies could also be a consideration. Consulting a healthcare provider can help tailor dietary choices to ensure a safe and beneficial pregnancy.


What Benefits Does Watermelon Offer During Pregnancy?

Watermelon offers hydration and a good source of vitamins A and C, which support immune health. Its high water content helps alleviate dehydration, a common concern during pregnancy. The fruit also contains antioxidants that contribute to overall wellness. However, moderation is advised due to its natural sugars.
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Dr. Priyadarshini Tripathy
Dr. Priyadarshini Tripathy

Obstetrics and Gynecology


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