What you should know before you indulge in chocolates during pregnancy
Chocolates don't just satiate your sweet tooth, they are also one of the most popular gastronomic indulgences around the world. This is why women often crave these tasty treats during pregnancy. But wait, is it safe to eat chocolates during pregnancy or can it harm you or the foetus in any way? Instead of letting confusions or questions affect your mental peace, read this article and find out how chocolates impact your pregnancy diet and nutritional status. Also, make sure you consult your doctor before consuming these sinful delights, in case you are suffering from gestational diabetes or high blood pressure or obesity.
Types of chocolates
First, it is vital to know about the different kinds of chocolates available and what they contain. The ingredients will determine how safe chocolates are for pregnant women.
Based on their constituents, chocolates can be broadly classified into three categories, dark, white, and milk chocolates. Dark chocolate has chocolate liquor, cocoa butter, sugar, lecithin, vanilla or other flavourings, and sometimes milk fat. Darker chocolates have higher percentages of cacao. Milk chocolate has similar ingredients, but with milk solids included. White chocolate is rich in cocoa butter along with sugar, milk solids, lecithin, vanilla, or other flavours.
So, you can see that while milk and white chocolates contain more butter and sugar, dark chocolates contain more cocoa. Pregnant women can hence enjoy the darker variety in moderate doses. You can use dark chocolate while preparing low calorie desserts at home as well.
Eating chocolate during pregnancy
Occasionally eating a little dark chocolate during early pregnancy does show some benefits for uterine arterial blood flow. But during the third trimester, you will need to speak to your health care provider about the safety of consuming chocolates.
Remember that chocolates do not have much nutritional value, and so, moderation is what matters. An occasional treat of chocolate is perfectly fine but not regular consumption though. For packaged chocolates, checking nutrition labels is important to see what ingredients, flavours and colours have been used.
Even if you are having chocolates during your first and second trimester, make sure you choose those with more than 70 percent cacao content. Also, go for a brand that does not use heavy metals or excess sugar, so that the benefits outweigh any harmful effects. Another way to get benefits from chocolate is by adding cocoa to your low-fat milk or morning oats. This is because cocoa, unlike chocolate, has low sugar and fat content, and contributes more to your health and overall wellbeing.
Hence, you can enjoy chocolates occasionally during pregnancy, if you exercise a little caution. Consuming moderate amounts of chocolates with high cocoa content can not only excite your taste buds and satisfy your cravings, but can also lift your mood, provide energy and supply antioxidants. Using cocoa powder to make desserts at home is also a better idea than packaged chocolates. You need to read labels carefully too, so that you know what you are eating.