Chia seeds and pregnancy
I love seeds. Seeds are healthy, packed with vitamins and minerals and are delicious in smoothies, salades or in homemade pies. I am also pregnant and so am careful about what I eat and read a lot about nutrition.
And then I recently discovered that it's better not to eat chia seeds whilst pregnant. I was shocked. Why not? And what about all the other seeds?
So I decided to do some research. I have a cupboard full of seeds and use them the whole day through. Hemp seeds in the morning, mixed through my oatmeal porridge, sesame seeds through the salad and chia seeds can be used to bake delicious muffins. I emptied out my cupboards but was unable to find much on the packaging. Whilst products in the supermarkets are screaming out ' healthier', 'sugar-free', 'extra fibre', '100% pure', the seeds remained silent.
My bag of hemp seeds contains the least amount of information; a sticker with the price. 12 euro which I suddenly find extremely expensive for a bag of seeds.
On the other bags you can only find the ingredients with a bit of information concerning calories, proteins and carbohydrates. On my bag of chia seeds is written; chia seeds from organic farms followed by the amount of calories, 444 per 100 grams.
Almost 450 calories in chia seeds. That was a shock. That's almost as much as a cupcake. Why are seeds so silent, I asked myself? Do they really contain so many vitamins and minerals?
After some quick research the answer is clear: YES! They are bursting with them. They are often referred to as a superfood and if you see the list of all the good things they contain, then you will understand. Chia seeds, for example, contain vitamin A, B17, calcium, magnesium, zinc, iron, omega-3 fatty acids, enzymes, amino acids, fibres and the list goes on.
Why, then, may I not eat chia seeds when pregnant?
It has been discovered that some people are sensitive to chia seeds. As a result they feel nauseous, suffer from vomiting or diarrhoea and not for a short amount of time. Sometimes it lasts for days. Which is why we don't advise you to consume chia seeds when pregnant or breastfeeding. Even though it is not exactly clear what the dangers could be. It actually still needs to be well researched as to whether or not chia seeds are suitable for pregnant women.
But what about the rest of the seeds in my cupboard? I did some more research. Luckily I can eat the rest and hemp seeds are even advised if you are pregnant, sesame seeds are healthier than I thought and is packed with calcium and- also an unexpected surprise- from poppyseeds you can have hallucinations. Just like with chia seeds there are more allergies listed concerning seeds such as skin complaints from sesame seeds.
Conclusion: Seeds are super healthy, although you may have the bad luck that you are allergic to them.
I think that seeds are so silent because they don't need all those loud text's. They have nothing to hide, they are just shy which is why I love them even more. I don't even find 12 euro for my bag of hemp seeds too much.
Lastly, a delicious recipe with super healthy sesame seeds and a list of all the seeds
Cucumber salad with sesame seeds
1 spring onion
15 grams fresh ginger (peeled and thinly sliced)
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 cloves of garlic (bruised)
1 tablespoon roasted sesame seeds (or more if desired)
3 tablespoons of coriander
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons sesame oil
Slice the cucumbers lengthways into 4 pieces and then slice diagonally. Mix all ingredients together. Remove extra liquid if required. Add pepper or (extra) sea salt if required.
Originate from the Savia Hispanica, a minty plant from Central America. Chia seeds are often placed in a dish of tepid water before they are eaten. They then form a gel like substance which make them easier to eat. They have a neutral taste.
Vitamins & minerals: vitamine A, vitamin B17, calcium, potassium, magnesium, zinc, phosphoros, maganese and iron. They also contain omega 3-fatty acids, enzymes, amino acids and fibres.
Further? Allergies are mentioned and it is supposed to thin the blood (so not good for people who use blood thinners). Some people are sensitive to chia seeds and as a result feel nauseous and/or suffer from vomiting or diarrhoea. It is not advised for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Originate from the Cannabis sativa, the same plant from which cannabis or marihuana originates. The seed is very healthy and is eaten by humans and animals. In its raw form it is used as birdseed and is then called kemp seed. It has a nice nutty taste.
Vitamins & minerals: phosphoros, calcium, potassium, magnesium, zinc, iron, copper, iodine, vitamin E, C and the B-vitamins B1, B2, B3 en B6. Hemp seeds also contain fibres, omega 3, omega 6 en omega 9 fatty acids, and plenty of anti-oxidants and enzymes.
Further? The biggest component of hemp seeds are the easy to digest proteins. For this reason they are often advised to sporters, children, pregnant women and vegetarians. It is said that Buddha, in his ascetic period, lived on 1 hemp seed a day.
Linseed is the flax seed. They are available whole or ground. In the ground form the nutrients are better absorbed by the body and easier to digest. In their whole form, they cannot be digested and leave the body whole. Linseeds have a mild, nutty taste.
Vitamins & minerals: potassium, calcium, magnesium, zinc, phosphoros, copper, vitamine A, B1 en B2. Plenty of proteins, fibres and omega 3 fatty acids.
Further? The fibres ensure a good functioning of the intestines and bowels and the fatty acids are good for the heart and blood vessels. Linseed is good for the bowel movements.
Sesame is grown in tropical and sub-tropical areas. It is a herb like plant. Sesame has one of the highest oil contents of any seed and are found in the capsule of the plant. They are sold peeled or unpeeled and often roasted. Ground sesame is the main ingredient for Tahin, a delicious sesame paste.
Vitamins & minerals: maganese, copper, magnesium, phosphoros, iron, selenium, vitamin B1, B2, B3, B6, B11 and E. Plenty of fibres, amino acids and antioxidants.
Further? A cup of sesame seeds contains more calcium than a cup of milk. It is also said to have healing properties. Sesame seed is also said to reduce the effects of rheumatism, migraines and eczema. However, sesame can also trigger allergic reactions in some people such as skin, respiratory and stomach problems.
Poppy seed comes from the opium poppy, the plant responible for opium. Parts of the plant can also be used in the production of heroin and morphine. It is good for the heart and brain and has a nutty flavour
Vitamins & minerals: maganese, copper, phosphoros, iron, magnesium, zinc, selenium, potassium en vitamin B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B11 and E. Also oleic acid and linolic acid.
Further? Consuming a large amount of poppy seeds can be damaging to your health and can produce hallucinations. Consuming poppy seeds can also cause false positive results in drug tests. Poppy seed is also used to combat nausea and insomnia.
Now you know why it is better not to eat chia seeds when you are pregnant, read here more about nutrition when you are pregnant.