The One Thing Every Pregnant Woman Should Be Eating On Valentine’s Day
Most women can attest to the happiness that a few (or more) bites of chocolate can bring. But recent research out of Italy adds some scientific backing to our cravings, especially when pregnant.
Italian researchers recently came to a conclusion that many of us already know to be true: chocolate can be a good thing…especially when pregnant. Although their research suggests additional studies and follow-up is needed, several benefits of chocolate intake during pregnancy were explored, with – most importantly – no negative effects found. Three main benefits were highlighted in the research: antioxidants found in chocolate, blood pressure reduction, and psychological health.
An imbalance of pro-oxidants and antioxidants in a woman’s system can cause “oxidative stress” during pregnancy, resulting in common complications such as miscarriage, pre-eclampsia, endometriosis, and polycystic ovary syndrome. While more evidence is needed to link antioxidant supplementation and these reproductive issues, researchers stated that pregnant women may benefit from increased caloric intake during the 10th to 13th week of gestation – and may show an inclination for foods rich in antioxidants (like cocoa and chocolate) – due to the level of oxidative stress during this time. Additionally, some research has found that flavanols found in chocolate can help support better cardiovascular functioning and potentially lower blood pressure. While these first two benefits may need further validation, the final benefit of chocolate consumption during pregnancy – psychological health – probably seems like a pretty obvious answer to most of us. Researchers concluded that chocolate, as part of a balanced diet, can provide psychological well-being to both the pregnant woman and baby. Chocolate: happy mama, happy baby.
As the research review stated, “In fact, chocolate consumption in pregnancy seems to reduce the negative effect of prenatal maternal stress on infant temperament.”
Need we say more? So if you’re currently pregnant and your interest is piqued (how could it not be?!), then we have a great Valentine’s Day recipe for you to try…to satiate that craving while keeping your health in mind! (Of course this recipe is also for anyone looking for one more good reason to indulge in a favorite treat.)
This recipe uses both coconut oil and coconut flour as substitutes, providing the wonderful nutritional benefits of coconut. Instead of butter, peanut butter or almond butter can be used. We used a little less sugar than the recipe called for (and only had regular sugar on hand) and still found them to be delicious. These cookies are grain and gluten-free, and very easy to make (only 1 bowl needed!). A food processor can be used or you can simply mix them together by hand.
Paleo Coconut Flour Chocolate Chip Cookies – by Monique Volz of Ambitious Kitchen
- 3/4 cup unsalted creamy almond butter (or peanut butter)
- 1/2 cup organic coconut sugar
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted and cooled
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 cup coconut flour (we used Trader Joe’s)
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup chocolate chips
-Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
-In a bowl of a food processor, add in almond butter (or peanut butter), coconut sugar and coconut oil; process until it comes together, about 1 minute. Add in eggs and process again.
-Next, add in coconut flour, baking soda and salt; process again until a dough forms. Gently fold in chocolate chips. Use a cookie scoop to drop dough onto prepared cookie sheet.
-Bake for 8-10 minutes or until cookies turn slightly golden brown around the edges. Allow them to cool on cookie sheet for at least 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack to finish cooling. Repeat with remaining dough. Makes around 20 cookies.