Chia seeds, made famous by the Chia Pet that was popular in the 1990s, are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids. They also contain protein, antioxidants, fiber and minerals such as calcium, magnesium, copper, iron, zinc and niacin. Omega-3 fatty acids are important to the developing baby during a pregnancy, and fiber can help prevent the constipation that so often plagues pregnant women. Protein is also vitally important for pregnant women to maintain blood volume and support the growing baby. Incorporating chia seeds into your diet during pregnancy may help meet your nutritional requirements necessary for a healthy pregnancy.
The March of Dimes notes that omega-3 fatty acids are important during pregnancy for the development of the unborn baby’s eyes, brain and central nervous system. Pregnant women are recommended to consume at least 200 milligram of omega-3 docosahexaenoic acid, or DHA, per day. Chia seeds are very high in omega-3s, with 3000 mg in a 2-tablespoon serving.
Each serving of chia contains 3.5 grams of protein. Protein is essential during pregnancy, assisting in fetal growth, development of the brain and maintenance of your expanded blood volume. The American Pregnancy Association recommends 75 to 100 grams per day of protein. Chia seeds can help you meet this requirement.
Constipation is a common complaint among pregnant women. Hormonal and physical changes within your body decrease intestinal motility and increase the likelihood that constipation will occur. Fiber can help counteract this problem by adding bulk and softening the stool. Chia seeds are a good source of fiber, with 3.4 grams in each serving.
Using chia during your pregnancy couldn’t be easier. Talk to your doctor first and make sure it’s acceptable to start using chia seeds. Once you’ve gotten approval, you can begin adding it to your foods and even beverages. The daily dose of chia is 2 tablespoons, and it can be sprinkled on your breakfast cereal, oatmeal, yogurt or any food you desire. You may also mix it into your beverages. After the drink stands for about 30 minutes, the chia seeds will dissolve and result in a gel instead of a liquid beverage, which you can then eat with a spoon if you’d like.
- Healthy Holistic Living: Chia Seeds: The Next Big Thing?
- Weil; Q & A Library: What Is Chia?; Dr. Andrew Weil, M.D.; May 2006
- Integrated Health: Chia Seeds
- American Pregnancy Association; Pregnancy Nutrition; October 2008
- March of Dimes; Omega-3 Fatty Acids; March 2010
- Wellness.com: Chia (Salvia hispanica)
- Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Getty Images
This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.