So you have a baby on board, and the chocolate cravings are intense. You may be wondering if you can eat chocolate during pregnancy. The simple answer is yes. In moderation, it is okay to eat chocolate to satiate that craving.
Eating chocolate even has some benefits that are awesome during pregnancy. It can help with certain things and will make your pregnancy go a little more smoothly. This is probably music to your ears, but you should still be aware of a few things before gorging on your favorite treat.
How much chocolate you can eat during pregnancy is another topic altogether, however. You should always be conscious of what you are eating, regardless of what it is. This is especially the case with chocolate.
Is Chocolate Safe to Eat?
When it comes to consuming chocolate while you are pregnant, it pays to be careful. It may be okay to eat, but the amount and type that you eat should be given attention to. Eating the wrong chocolate can affect your pregnancy negatively.
There are some situations in which you should skip the chocolate altogether. If you have been diagnosed with gestational diabetes or are having trouble controlling your blood sugar, you should avoid eating chocolate. Gaining too much weight may also be a sign that you need to cut it from your diet.
Benefits of Chocolate
- Blood pressure
- The theobromine in cocoa helps to regulate your blood pressure while you are pregnant.
- This is a common cause of premature birth and can be prevented by eating dark chocolate.
- The stress relieving aspect of chocolate not only makes you happier, but it affects baby as well. The release of endorphins improves mood and allows your stress levels to lower.
- Heart Disease
- The antioxidant properties of chocolate help to play a role in the prevention of heart disease.
- This nutrient aids in the function of the metabolism and how it deals with fatty acids. A deficiency in this nutrient has been correlated to pre-eclampsia. Also, some have found that boosting stores of magnesium before or during pregnancy can help to relieve morning sickness.
- This may help to protect the nervous system and prolong life. Particularly useful for brain function.
- Helps to ensure overall pregnancy health.
- Antioxidants will encourage the elimination of free radicals in your body.
- Cholesterol and Weight
- Regulating your weight and cholesterol during pregnancy is essential. Chocolate will help to reduce your cholesterol levels and assist in how you manage your weight.
The Best Chocolate to Eat
For those who are fans of dark chocolate, you will be glad to know that dark chocolate is actually better for you than most milk chocolate.
The other qualities of chocolate that you should look out for are how it is made, what the calorie and fat content are, the kind of chocolate that you eat, and what form it comes in.
- If you are going to be eating chocolate while pregnant, you should stick to dark chocolate. Dark chocolate has many health benefits, especially compared to milk chocolate. These advantages help significantly with the side effects and needs of a pregnant body.
- Cocoa’s flavonoids have properties that help to enhance Vitamin C’s benefits, improve vascular function, and keep blood pressure low.
- Chocolate often contains caffeine, which, in certain amounts, can lead to problems including miscarriage. Limiting how much caffeine you ingest is important.
- No more than 200 mg per day should be included in your diet. Tea, coffee, and soda all add to the caffeine count, unless you are drinking decaf.
- For reference, one and a half ounces of dark chocolate has 43 mg of caffeine whereas milk chocolate has only nine mg. Make sure that you double check what the caffeine content is in order to keep a lid on your daily consumption.
- Calories and Fats
- Too much chocolate increases your caloric intake and may cause you to gain too much weight. This weight gain can not only lead to gestational diabetes, but it can also result in fatigue, varicose veins, the possibility for a C section, high blood pressure, and more.
- One and a half ounces of milk chocolate contains 235 calories along with 13 grams of fat. On the other hand, the same amount of dark chocolate has 290 calories along with 19 grams of fat.
- Ensuring that you have organic chocolate is not necessary, but it can make a significant difference.
- Low Sugar
- Making sure that the amount of sugar in your diet is reasonable is important. Sweeteners and refined sugars should be avoided. Consuming too much sugar can lead to issues like weight gain, dental health problems, and gestational diabetes.
- Chocolate in mousse form is not something that you want to consume during pregnancy. Since one of the ingredients is raw eggs, steer clear for the baby’s health. Raw eggs can cause problems like listeriosis and toxoplasmosis.
Overall, eating chocolate is great to do during pregnancy because of all of the benefits that come with it. When it comes to this, however, you should be careful of the chocolate that you ultimately eat. Not all chocolate is equal, and there are great differences that will have differing effects on your pregnant body.
As long as you are aware of these differences and that you take care to eat the right stuff, your pregnancy should move along smoothly, barring other unrelated complications. Stick to dark chocolate and make sure you check the sugar and caffeine content before delving into your favorite form of chocolate, especially if it is made with certain ingredients that may be unhealthy for the both of you, or even just your baby.