Contrary to popular belief that chocolate is bad for you, dark chocolate can be very good for you, when consumed in moderation, of course. Pregnant women often have the strangest cravings, but one of them is a common one – chocolate! Pregnant moms all over the world have been known to crave this velvety sweet and indulgent treat. In this post, I will be sharing the benefits of dark chocolate for pregnant moms with you.
10 Benefits of dark chocolate for pregnant moms
1. Eases preeclampsia
Preeclampsia is a dangerous condition that usually involves high blood pressure and protein in your urine and could become fatal for mom and baby if left undiagnosed. When blood pressure rises, it could lead to convulsions and even liver damage and blood clotting. Preeclampsia is one of the primary reasons for primary reasons for prenatal birth. Researchers at Yale University discovered that chocolate can lower the risk of preeclampsia by as much as almost seventy percent! Therefore, eating about five servings of dark chocolate per week can be efficient in preventing preeclampsia, especially during the third trimester.
2. Dark chocolate is rich in vital antioxidants
Cocoa contains theobromine which assists with regulating blood pressure in pregnant moms since it dilates the blood vessels.
3. Good for the heart
The antioxidants present in dark chocolate play an essential role in keeping heart disease at bay, therefore, offering support to your cardiovascular system. The higher the quality and the darker the color of the chocolate, the healthier it is for your heart.
4. Excellent remedy for stress relief
Dark chocolate can improve mood by elevating serotonin and endorphin levels in your brain. Eating about 1.4 ounces of dark chocolate per day over a period of two weeks can effectively lower cortisol (stress hormone) levels. The flavanol content lowers fatigue which is often a cause for stress.
5. Your baby will thank you
Research conclusions in the New Scientist Magazine declare that pregnant moms who consumed more dark chocolate during pregnancy, gave birth to livelier and happier babies. Researchers randomly chose a few mothers who had babies of the age of six months and asked them how often they had chocolate during their pregnancies. They were asked to give a happiness rating of their little ones.
Moms who regularly had dark chocolate during pregnancy gave their babies a higher rating than those who did not consume chocolate frequently. Moms who had chocolate also displayed lower stress levels and delivered babies who were less anxious.
6. An excellent way to keep your cholesterol levels stable
Dark chocolate has a lesser sugar and fat content. The flavonoids found in dark chocolate are effective for raising good cholesterol levels and lowering oxidation of bad cholesterol. It is a fantastic way for you to regulate your cholesterol levels. It is also a good remedy for improving blood flow by making your blood vessels elastic.
7. Dark chocolate contains magnesium and iron
You can gain about 67% of the recommended daily intake of iron and 58T of magnesium by eating 100g of dark chocolate. Iron is vital for maintaining your hemoglobin count during pregnancy while magnesium assists with metabolizing fatty acids.
8. Consuming dark chocolate lowers the risk of miscarriage
Although there is often not much you can do from your side to avoid a miscarriage, you can reduce the risk of first-trimester miscarriage by eating chocolate every day.
9. Advanced fetal development
Eating dark chocolate when you’re pregnant advances fetal development and growth. Frequent consumption of moderate amounts from your first trimester can assist with placental function.
10. Keeping your weight in check
Dark chocolate can help with not gaining excessive weight during pregnancy. It is useful for maintaining cholesterol levels and managing healthy weight gain.
A word of caution – not all chocolate is good for you
Chocolate has various proven health benefits but not all chocolate is the same. The main health benefits of dark chocolate for pregnant moms are contributed to the high level of flavonoids that is present in cacao beans. Many standard chocolates have a low cacao content and are usually overly processed that they do not offer the same benefits. They often contain high levels of fats and sugar calories which are not beneficial. Choose high percentage dark chocolate that is produced from artisan chocolate when you can if you want to get the most out of your chocolate.
First of, congratulations on your pregnancy and the soon-to-be new addition to your family. I hope you have enjoyed reading this post and were just as surprised as me to learn of all the health benefits of dark chocolate for pregnant moms. I knew that dark chocolate is much healthier than other chocolate variants like milk chocolate, or white chocolate, but some of these benefits I didn’t know of. As a self-confessed chocoholic I am relieved to know that some chocolate is good for me and when eaten in moderation (I can’t promise anything), I could reap the health benefits.
Good luck with the remainder of your pregnancy & feel free to connect with me.