7 Benefits of Almonds During Pregnancy

The consumption of almonds during pregnancy can bring a number of health benefits to the fetus. In addition, they're a very versatile food and are easy to include in your diet.
7 Benefits of Almonds During Pregnancy
Saúl Sánchez Arias

Written and verified by the nutritionist Saúl Sánchez Arias.

Last update: 23 October, 2022

Nuts are recommended foods in almost any diet. Therefore, below we’re going to show you the main benefits of almonds during pregnancy.

Almonds are products that have a high nutritional density, and therefore, they provide essential substances for the proper functioning of the body.

Before we begin, we want to emphasize that the stage of pregnancy is critical from a nutritional point of view. Requirements increase and there are certain products that shouldn’t be consumed because they pose risks to the fetus. However, nuts and almonds are generally highly recommended during this period.

Almonds: A delicious and versatile nut

Almonds are one of the most popular nuts worldwide. They’re the fruit of the Prunus amygdalus tree, from which the seed is consumed once the shell has been removed.

Their origin is in Iran and the neighboring countries of the Middle East. From there, they followed the path of many foods to reach Greece, Rome, the rest of Europe, and the Americas. Today, they’re part of the gastronomic culture of many countries.

Their flavor is mild, although it can be different depending on the variety of almond chosen (sweet or bitter). They can be consumed alone, as part of desserts and sweets, or used to decorate and cook multiple dishes.

They’re present in the market throughout the year and are sold with or without shells, raw, roasted, salted, candied, and even ground.

The benefits of almonds during pregnancy

In the following paragraphs, we’ll explain what the main benefits of almonds during pregnancy are and what science has to say about the subject.

A child holding a handful of almonds.

1. Almonds during pregnancy improve the quality of the diet

Almonds (and nuts in general) are very nutritious foods. In this case, they provide a good amount of monounsaturated fats, fiber, proteins, minerals (calcium, iron, zinc, or potassium), and vitamin E.

For this reason, it’s a very good idea to add them to the diet during pregnancy as they contribute to covering the requirement of some of these nutrients commented.

This is more remarkable if almonds are incorporated at breakfast or snacks in the place of other less healthy alternatives (pastries, sugary cereals, cookies, salty snacks, etc.).

2. Energy and protein intake

During pregnancy, the needs for many nutrients increase in order to meet the demands of the mother and baby. Two of these are energy and protein.

Almonds are, in this regard, a food that can help to cover both requirements. On the one hand, a handful of them can provide extra calories without much volume and without the need to eat large amounts.

Also, although they’re not an outstanding source of protein, they do contain a good portion that will contribute to improving and increasing the total necessary contribution.

These elements have proven to be essential for the development and growth of tissues, both of the mother and the fetus.

3. They reduce the risk of problems in the development of the marrow

Almonds stand out for their folic acid content, from the point of view of micronutrients. This element is essential to avoid the appearance of problems in the baby’s spinal cord development, such as spina bifida.

This is stated in a study published in The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry , which recommends systematic supplementation with the vitamin.

In any case, and beyond the need for supplementation, it’s advisable to maximize the dietary intake of folic acid in order to minimize the risk of developmental problems.

4. Almonds during pregnancy improve the growth of the baby’s bones

Another characteristic mineral in almonds is calcium. This mineral is essential for good bone growth, as evidenced by research published in BMJ.

This reduces the risk of fracture in the medium term and improves the formation of bone tissue in the fetus.

Although calcium supplements aren’t common in pregnant women, it’s important to ensure the presence in the diet of foods that are high in this mineral.

5. They provide iron that fights the appearance of anemia

Anemia is a problem generated by an inefficient supply of vitamin B12 or iron that conditions the life habits and the state of health of the pregnant woman.

An adequate supply of the mineral minimizes the risk of this disease. Almonds have a significant concentration of iron.

In any case, we shouldn’t forget that iron from vegetable sources has a low assimilation rate. To maximize absorption, it’s best to consume this nutrient with foods that provide vitamin C.

6. Protection against allergies

There’s considerable controversy about the consumption of peanuts and tree nuts because of their possible relationship with the development of future allergies in children.

However, at the moment, no scientific evidence has been found to corroborate this possibility. Recent studies found no relationship between the restriction of allergenic foods and the prevention of atopic disease, food allergies, or respiratory problems.

Some data have shown that they may even protect against asthma and allergies as nuts help to promote immunotolerance.

For this reason, experts nowadays point out that it’s not a good idea to stop consuming nuts so as not to compromise the quality of food and the supply of nutrients such as fiber, antioxidants, and polyunsaturated fatty acids.

7. Contribution of healthy fats

The fatty acids that come from foods with more lipids (such as almonds or nuts) have a crucial role in the development of a healthy pregnancy.

Polyunsaturated omega 3 and omega 6 are important structural components and modulators of the brain and retina, so their contribution during pregnancy is essential for optimal brain development and functionality.

How to consume almonds during pregnancy

One of the positive aspects of almonds is their versatility. They can be eaten raw, but can also be added as an ingredient in savory dishes, such as salads. Many sauces have this nut as their main ingredient.

On the other hand, almonds, milk, and fruits can be used to make smoothies. These kinds of preparations are very nutritious, as they contain vitamins, minerals, and essential antioxidants. These elements are capable of preventing the development of chronic diseases in the medium and long term, such as some types of cancer.

Moreover, they’re also closely linked to the proper development of the fetus, as we’ve already mentioned. While folic acid and calcium are determinants, there are many others that can have an impact on the baby’s state of health, such as iron and zinc.

A jar of homemade almond butter.

It’s a good idea to consume almonds during pregnancy for the 3 reasons we’ve explained. In addition, they have the advantage of containing hardly any carbohydrates in their composition, so they won’t alter blood glucose levels. Therefore, they can also be part of the diet of women with gestational diabetes.

Keep in mind that it’s best to introduce these nuts in the context of a balanced and varied diet. It’s crucial to provide the fetus with the necessary energy for its development, as well as the essential nutrients it requires. Sometimes supplementation may be necessary, although it’s advisable to consult your doctor first before starting to consume this kind of product.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Chatzi L, Torrent M, et al. Mediterranean diet in pregnancy is protective for wheeze and atopy in childhood. Thorax. Julio 2008. 63 (6): 507-13.
  • Deniz BF, Confortim HD, Deckmann I, Miguel PM, Bronauth L, de Oliveira BC, Barbosa S, Cechinel LR, Siqueira IR, Pereira LO. Folic acid supplementation during pregnancy prevents cognitive impairments and BDNF imbalance in the hippocampus of the offspring after neonatal hypoxia-ischemia. J Nutr Biochem. 2018 Oct;60:35-46.
  • Duttaroy A, Basak S. Maternal fatty acid metabolism in pregnancy and its consequences in the fete-placental development. Frontiers in Physiology. Febrero 2021. 12:787848.
  • Elango R, O’Ball R. Protein and amino acid requirements during pregnancy. Advances in Nutrition. Julio 2016. 7 (4): 839S-844S.
  • Federación Española Nutrición. Almendra.
  • Friel L. A. Anemia in pregnancy. MSD Manual. Octubre 2021.
  • Kramer M. S, Kakuma R. Dietary antigen avoidance during pregnancy or lactation, or both, for preventing or treating atopic disease in the child. Cochrane Database Systematic Review. Julio 2006. 19 (3).
  • Maslova E, Granström G, et al. Peanut ant tree nut consumption during pregnancy and allergic disease in children -should mothers decrease their intake? Longitudinal evidence from the Danish National Birth Cohort. The Journal of Allergy nd Clinical Immunology. Septiembre 2012. 130 (3): 724-732.
  • Tai V, Leung W, Grey A, Reid IR, Bolland MJ. Calcium intake and bone mineral density: systematic review and meta-analysis. BMJ. 2015 Sep 29;351:h4183. doi: 10.1136/bmj.h4183. PMID: 26420598; PMCID: PMC4784773.
  • UCSF Health. Eating right during pregnancy. University of California.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.