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Benefits of Walnuts During Pregnancy And Beyond

Have you been reading about the benefits of walnuts and other nuts for vegan pregnancy? Pregnancy websites always have lists of the "top foods to eat during pregnancy," and what I've found is that normally, almost all the ingredients are some form of vegan food; fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and legumes. It seems like when they throw in a non-vegan item, it's to cover the bases for one particular vitamin or mineral.

In the case of omega-3 fatty acids and DHA, I often see eggs or fish recommended to pregnant women. The problem is that I'd estimate about 99.5% of the eggs most people eat nowadays are completely devoid of omega-3 fatty acids, or anything healthy for that matter.

Back on Old MacDonald's farm, when chickens roamed free and pecked the earth for worms, bugs, and loose grain, their bodies assimilated all the proper nutrients in a natural way, making them healthy, and therefore making their eggs healthy. For those people who wanted to eat the chicken's eggs then, they got a good dose of omega-3 fatty acids. Now, all you get is fat and cholesterol.

benefits of walnuts

Those "nutrition tips" websites should preface it by saying that the healthiest form of eggs is not readily available at the market, and that you'll either have to raise your own hens or visit a local farm where you can see the chickens running freely to be sure you're getting any nutrition out of your eggs. I hate the idea of people picking up a $1 dozen pack of eggs at the local grocery store and thinking they're doing their unborn child any good.

If you aren't a vegan solely for health reasons, you're probably even more grossed out to see them recommend eggs for health. Little do most people know how sick and brutalized are the poor chickens who lay those grocery store eggs.

Health Benefits of Walnuts During Pregnancy

An amazing way to get a vegan, plant-based form of omega-3 fatty acids is through walnuts. Walnuts have more omega-3 fatty acids, especially alpha-linolenic acids, than other nuts. Omega-3 fats help the baby's developing nervous system, vision, concentration, understanding of words, and overall IQ as they get older, and they can help prevent the baby from having asthma and eczema. In just 1/4 cup of walnuts, about a handful, you get almost 100% of your daily needs for omega-3 fatty acids.

In addition to omega-3 fatty acids, walnuts are simply packed with tons of healthful nutrients that will nourish your body and encourage the health and development of your growing baby.

The main walnut nutrients are calcium, potassium, vitamin B, fiber and magnesium, all of which can help prevent the blood from clotting too much, and improve your overall blood flow. Walnuts help prevent pregnancy-related hypertension, low birth weight, post-partum depression, and protects your blood vessels. In addition, vitamin E from gamma-tocopherol (rather than the common alpha-tocopherol) helps the body to rid itself of harmful free radicals.

Walnuts contain important anti-inflammatory phytonutrients and antioxidants, even some that are found nowhere else in nature. These phytonutrients help your circulatory system and blood vessels to perform at peak levels, which improves cardiovascular and heart health. This also helps push out the bad cholesterol in your body, lowering your total cholesterol level and reducing your risk of developing heart disease, even if you eat only a few walnuts each day.

Other Health Benefits of Walnuts:

  • The antioxidants in walnuts help to develop bones and collagen, in both you and your growing baby.
  • They help prevent and treat metabolic disorders, diabetes, cancer, weight loss, and numerous other illnesses.
  • They have melatonin in them, which helps to regulate sleep cycles and adjustment to the light and dark.
  • Another benefit of walnuts is that they help promote memory and cognitive response, so they help your baby's developing brain.

Because walnuts have a large amount of oil in them, they will spoil easily, so you should not keep them at room temperature. I store my walnuts in the refrigerator for up to six months, and any extra can stay in the freezer for up to a year.

To take advantage of all of these health benefits of walnuts, I like to keep little portions of them in my purse and desk, so when I need a little protein boost, it's ready for me.

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