There is no question that dark chocolate can be enjoyable to indulge in, but many women are not sure if dark chocolate is okay to eat during the first trimester or if they should avoid it entirely. The answer might be surprising.
There are actually a large number of health benefits associated with the consumption of dark chocolate as well as cocoa powder and cacao beans as long as you don't overdo it.
Here's what you need to know about how much dark chocolate you can eat while pregnant and its potential benefits:
Dark Chocolate is a type of chocolate that has a cacao content of at least 70%. The higher the percentage, the better the chocolate is for you.
Cocoa beans are actually quite nutritious. They have large amounts of essential minerals including magnesium, potassium, copper, and manganese.
Chocolate with a high cocoa content will have low sugar and fat content. It also contains iron, phosphorus, copper, zinc, and selenium which not only support your health but the development of your baby as well.
Benefits of Dark Chocolate While Pregnant
Many people are surprised to learn that dark chocolate is actually good for you. Not only does it have many health benefits, but research has shown that it can also help protect your baby from developing allergies.
There are plenty of reasons why you should eat dark chocolate while pregnant, including:
Rich in Antioxidants:
Dark chocolate is full of antioxidants. Antioxidants are crucial for good health and they work to destroy unstable molecules that cause your body harm.
The benefits of dark chocolate on heart health are well known. The antioxidants contained in cocoa can reduce high blood pressure, and the hardening of the arteries while increasing good cholesterol levels.
Chocolate intake during pregnancy will help protect your body from free radicals that might harm the fetus and lower inflammation in the mother's body.
Chocolate is high in serotonin which can help improve your mood. It also contains caffeine which stimulates the mind and body.
The mood-boosting benefits of chocolate are well known. Dark chocolate will boost your serotonin levels while providing an energy boost at the same time which can help combat stress, depression, and anxiety.
Many women find that dark chocolate consumption during pregnancy often helps relieve their pregnancy nausea, especially first-trimester sickness.
Reduced Pain during Childbirth:
Chocolate contains magnesium which can help reduce muscle tension as well as pain.
Eating dark chocolate during your pregnancy can help boost your body's production of endorphins to reduce pain at the onset of labor.
Studies have shown that women who eat dark chocolate regularly are less likely to experience discomfort during their labor.
Lower Blood Pressure:
Chocolate has theobromine which helps reduce blood pressure and improve circulation.
Studies have shown that the magnesium in chocolate can improve blood flow for people who are at high risk of developing high blood pressure.
Eating dark chocolate helps lower your blood pressure which is good for the development of your baby's heart. Magnesium, potassium, and iron are all nutrients that can help achieve this health goal.
Increased energy levels:
Eating dark chocolate is also associated with increased energy levels which is great for you and your baby.
It can be difficult to find the energy for regular exercise during pregnancy which is why it's important to eat a nutritious diet that will help you feel your best. Dark chocolate has large amounts of iron and magnesium which combat fatigue, as well as caffeine and B vitamins, all of which boost energy levels.
Some women complain that they become more tired during pregnancy, but if you are eating dark chocolate, the natural caffeine will help give you a burst of energy and keep you going throughout the day.
Helps Prevent Gestational Diabetes:
Most pregnant women do not realize that many of the pregnancies in the world are affected by gestational diabetes which can cause serious problems for both mom and baby.
Pregnant women who eat dark chocolate and other foods containing cocoa have a lower chance of developing gestational diabetes.
If you have gestational diabetes, it is important to eat foods that contain magnesium such as dark chocolate. Studies have shown that the risk of developing gestational diabetes is greatly reduced by eating dark chocolate.
Consuming dark chocolate can help reduce stress because it contains magnesium, potassium, and theobromine. It also increases your level of serotonin which helps you feel happy.
Stress can be detrimental to the development of your baby, especially if it goes on for a long period. Eating dark chocolate often can help you deal with stress more effectively.
When you are feeling stressed during your pregnancy, dark chocolate can help to calm you down and give you the energy that you need to get through the day.
It also helps improve blood flow which will benefit both of you in stressful situations.
Chocolate increases your serotonin levels to help improve your mood, which can also reduce anxiety.
When you are anxious, it is harder for the body to utilize magnesium which contributes to muscle tension. By eating dark chocolate, you can avoid anxiety during pregnancy and help prevent preterm labor.
If you have arthritis or chronic inflammation in the body, you should eat dark chocolate because it has anti-inflammatory effects.
The magnesium in dark chocolate helps reduce inflammation so that you feel better and you aren't at risk of preterm labor.
The antioxidants and proteins found in dark chocolate decrease inflammation and prevent arthritis and asthma.
Increased Milk Production:
Chocolate milk was made for a reason! Research has shown that women who eat dark chocolate (and drink chocolate milk) produce more breast milk than women who don't.
The milk produced by mothers who eat dark chocolate is also higher in fat, calories, and protein which are all essential for your child's development.
Eating dark chocolate means you get to enjoy the perks of increased breast milk while giving your baby a treat they'll love!
Who doesn't love chocolate? The cocoa in dark chocolate has a rich taste that is delicious and satisfying with no added sugars which most pregnant women avoid.
Dark chocolate tastes good even when it's plain without sugar so it makes for an easy snack throughout the day when you are hungry but aren't sure what to eat. It can also be mixed in with fruit for a special treat full of essential nutrients.
Is Dark Chocolate Safe During Pregnancy?
The short answer is yes, as long as you eat chocolate in moderation during pregnancy!
The key to eating chocolate during pregnancy is to eat a small amount of dark chocolate as part of your daily diet.
You should not have more than one or two servings a day so that you can avoid any possible complications with your pregnancy.
Chocolate cravings are common among pregnant women, but it's important not to go overboard with the amount of dark chocolate you eat.
While there's nothing wrong with treating yourself, the benefits from eating dark chocolate can be achieved by sticking to a serving or less per day and including other foods high in magnesium into your diet as well!
You can consume dark chocolate during the third trimester without worrying about any potential side effects as long as your total intake does not exceed a few grams per day.
What's the Catch
But there is a catch: the darker the chocolate, the better. Research has shown that 70% or more cocoa content in chocolate provides most of these benefits, while any less will provide none at all.
It's not just about how much cocoa you eat; it's also important to make sure you're eating quality dark chocolate every day with low sugar and fat content so your body gets the most out of every bite.
Enjoy the Dark Chocolate and Enjoy the Pregnancy
Eating chocolate during pregnancy is not only safe, but it can also provide a variety of benefits to the mother and baby. Eating dark chocolate in moderation has been shown to reduce stress, anxiety, inflammation, preterm labor risks, gestational diabetes risk, and milk production levels.
It's important that you eat quality dark chocolate with low sugar content so your body gets the most out of every bite! Try BeeTee's Melt Chocolate, which is bean-to-bar artisan chocolate made from a single cacao bean. The chocolates are made from organic cacao beans with all-natural ingredients. And these chocolates are vegan, 100% preservative-free, gluten-free, refined sugar-free, and soy-free.
The key here is moderation--enjoying some dark chocolate while expecting will help you feel great from both inside and out!