There are many different types, colors, and shapes of seaweed. Seaweed products, both fresh and dried, are frequently used in Asian cuisines and offer vital nutrients like fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals. The majority of edible seaweeds are safe to eat while pregnant, but before changing your diet while expecting, always talk to your doctor.
Benefits of eating seaweed when pregnant
However, there isn’t much fat in any kind of algae; instead, some kinds have trace levels of omega-3 fatty acids, which are important to the growth of your child’s brain and eyes. Pregnant women who may not be able to ingest or absorb oily fish safely can get their omega-3 fatty acids from seaweed, which is a healthful and safe food source. Vitamin B-12 and plant protein, two nutrients that are needed for pregnant women, are both rich in seaweed. Brown algae provide high levels of iodine, which supports healthy thyroid function, and iron, which is necessary for the formation of hemoglobin during pregnancy.
Pyropia, the most nutritious species of edible seaweed, is available in dried leaves and is used to wrap sushi. Dried seaweed is high in vitamins A, C, and B and provides 30–50% protein. Laminariales, a type of brown kelp, have a 10% protein content and high iron levels. Red algae, like nori, do not contain iodine, whereas brown algae do. The majority of algae species contain minerals like calcium, sodium, copper, potassium, and zinc. Seaweed also contains non-starchy polysaccharides, a gelling fiber that lowers triglycerides and supports the maintenance of appropriate blood sugar levels.
Iodine is an essential element that the body does not manufacture. Iodine is found in high concentrations in edible marine life, including algae. Iodine is required by the body for good thyroid function. Infertility and thyroid cancer can result from iodine shortage. Pregnancy iodine shortage can lead to high blood pressure and newborn abnormalities such as physical development delay. Seaweed consumption can help lower the risk of iodine deficiency. If you are concerned about iodine shortage during pregnancy, consult with your doctor or midwife.
Maintain Weight Loss
When pregnant, generally the weight will increase but unfortunately even though you have given birth, the weight does not easily return to the way it was before pregnancy. Therefore, maintaining a diet so as not to gain weight excessively is recommended. In fact, a bowl of raw seaweed or wakame seaweed contains less than 20 calories. So, eating seaweed will not make you gain weight drastically. In addition, brown seaweed also contains the pigment fucoxanthin which helps the body’s metabolism to convert fat into energy. Seaweed contains natural fiber or alginate in brown seaweed which helps block the absorption of fat in the intestines by up to 75 percent
Supports the Brain Development of Babies in the Womb
Seaweed provides a healthy and safe source of omega-3 fatty acids for pregnant women. So, for pregnant women who cannot consume fish because of allergies or do not like the fishy smell inherent in fish, then mothers can make seaweed as an alternative to omega-3 intake. These omega-3 fatty acids can help in fetal brain development.
Dangers of Excessive Seaweed Consumption
Because there are many benefits that can be obtained from seaweed, this food can be added to the diet of pregnant women every day. But please note that seaweed is also not good when consumed excessively. When consuming excessive seaweed will cause:
- High iodine levels in the body that cause thyroid gland disorders
- Risk of accumulation of metal substances such as aluminum, cadmium, lead
So consume moderately so that you can get the benefits of seaweed optimally for pregnant women. In addition, don’t forget to get complete nutrition from other foods and routinely control pregnancy to the gynecologist and go through the pregnancy with a happy heart.
Although seaweed contains a range of vitamins and minerals, it can also be high in sodium. Vegetarian sushi is safe to eat during pregnancy, as long as you do not eat raw fish. Because of the high mercury levels and increased risk of bacterial infection, pregnant women should avoid eating raw fish during their pregnancy. Although eating seaweed is generally safe during pregnancy, unless otherwise ordered by your doctor, avoid supplements containing seaweed throughout pregnancy.
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