Dark chocolate is one of the most decadent and delicious treats you can find, and now that you’re a mom-to-be, you have several compelling reasons to take a bite.
The generous amounts of theobromine in dark chocolate will help to relax your muscles and dilate blood vessels. This chemical stimulates the heart and will give you an extra boost from all that overtime your body is putting in.
Monounsaturated fats are good for you – in moderation – so having some intake will benefit your health. The monounsaturated fat called oleic acid is found in chocolate in approximately the same amounts as what you’ll find in olive oil.
Consuming dark chocolate during pregnancy can help prevent preeclampsia, a condition that causes your blood pressure to increase rapidly and can lead to early delivery as well as other severe health issues that can sometimes be fatal. However, researchers at Yale University found that women who eat the most chocolate during pregnancy have a higher concentration of theobromine in umbilical cord blood and are least likely to develop preeclampsia.
Chocolate contains flavonoids, which contain antioxidants, and can help improve immunity. The flavonoids can also help aid your cardiovascular system. In addition to powerful flavonoids, chocolate also has iron, magnesium and other nutrients.
While gaining weight is good for your baby, you don’t want to gain too much, and chocolate can help you keep extra pounds at a good level. Pregnant women who consume chocolate that’s low in fat and sugar may be better able to manage weight gain. You should also remember that gaining too much unwanted weight during pregnancy can lead to health issues for you and your baby.
With so many hormones raging in your body, pregnancy can sometimes be stressful. Not only are you growing a person inside of you, but you also have to make sure you’re getting proper nutrition and preparing for your baby’s arrival. Eating chocolate every once in a while can help relieve stress.
Chocolate is a great source of serotonin. It acts an antidepressant and can lift your mood when you’re feeling down.
Dark chocolate can be an indulgent treat on occasion and can certainly have its place in a well-balanced and healthy diet. However, if you have been diagnosed with gestational diabetes, or have other pregnancy complications, we always recommend consulting your health care provider before making any changes to your diet.