Pregnancy turns some of our favorite things into villain including some of your favorite foods like your morning coffee. Well, that might not be it once you read till the end of this blog. Here is a list of 10 foods to avoid during pregnancy.
HIGH MERCURY SEAFOOD
Although seafood is highly nutritious, packed with loads of protein, omega 3 and Iron, you might want to go low on them. This is because seafood is high in methylmercury and other environmental toxins. The chemical can easily pass through the placenta and have been linked to cause a delay in fetal development and hamper the development of brain, kidney and central nervous system.
Why don’t pregnant women avoid all the fish then?
This is because low-level mercury seafood in low amounts is safe and can actually benefit both mother and baby. Even though fish oil has the same effect as the Omega-3’s obtained from food, it’s always best to get it from food than supplements.
Fishes you can eat during pregnancy: (200-300 grams of serving a week)
- Atlantic and Pacific mackerel
- Canned light tuna.
Fishes to avoid during pregnancy are:
- King Mackerel
Also, keep in mind, none of the seafood is raw, undercooked or smoked. Most seafood should be cooked to an internal temperature of 74C. Determine seafood is done by this checklist:
- Fish is done when it separates into flakes and appears opaque throughout.
- Cook shrimp until the flesh is pearly and opaque.
- Cook clams, mussels and oysters until their shells open. Discard any that don’t open.
- Prawns and lobster turn red when cooked; the flesh becomes pearly opaque.
- Scallops appear milky white or opaque and firm.
If you are using a microwave, make sure to rotate the food several times to ensure even cooking.
After letting the dish stand, check seafood in several spots with a thermometer to see if it has reached the proper temperature.
UNPASTEURISED MILK & DAIRY
Unpasteurized milk and dairy harbor a risk of bacterial infection by Listeria. Dairy products need to be heated to a proper temperature to get rid of any microbes that are harmful during pregnancy.
Even soft cheeses should be avoided during pregnancy. (Soft Cheese is a part of Amul Cheese Spread)
Pregnancy Safe Cheeses are:
- Cottage Cheese
- Goat’s Cheese without rind
- Garlic and Herb Roulade
- Cream Cheese
- Processed Cheese including Cheese Slices
Soft Cheeses such as brie and Camembert should be avoided.
UNDERCOOKED OR RAW MEAT, POULTRY, FISH & EGGS
Pregnant Women are much more likely to contract the infection from undercooked, raw or smoked meat and eggs. The worse part is infection spreads quickly to the fetus too. Therefore, it’s best that you take your lean protein properly cooked.
RAW SPROUTS & DELI SALADS
According to FDA, raw sprouts can harbor bacteria such as Listeria, E.Coli, and Salmonella, which can increase the risk of infection to pregnant women leading to miscarriage, stillbirth, premature birth and other life-threatening conditions. These bacteria can get into the shell during the sprouting process and could further spread due to the warm, humid conditions where sprouts grow in.
In India, papaya has long been treated as a danger fruit for pregnant women and also for those who are trying to become pregnant. It is believed that in ancient India and surrounding Asian countries papaya was used to carry out abortions safely and naturally.
This is because semi-ripe or unripe papaya consists of edema, a latex types substance which inhibits the formation of the placenta and causes excessive bleeding in it. Any abruption in placenta formation leads to miscarriage.
The main constituents of papaya are papain and chymopapain, both of them have the properties almost similar to prostaglandins and oxytocin. These two hormones are responsible for labor contractions and hence can stimulate premature birth or miscarriage. Papain can also retard the growth of the fetus and can cause abnormal fetal development.
It’s said that you can have ripe papaya because the amount of all the undesirable compounds mentioned above is reduced as the papaya ripens. It’s present in smaller amounts though. Women who are at high risk of miscarriage or has a history of miscarriage should avoid even ripe papayas completely.
ENERGY DRINKS & SWEETENED BEVERAGES
All the energy drinks and beverages are filled with processed sugar, artificial preservatives, and caffeine. They are nothing but empty calories. Around 30% of women in India have been reported to consume artificially sweetened beverages while pregnant. (1). They are of no good not just to pregnant women but to anyone, in general.
Caffeine’s limit for pregnant women has been set to 200 mg a day. Caffeine is rapidly absorbed and crosses the placenta freely. After ingestion of 200 mg caffeine, intervillous blood flow in the placenta was found to be reduced by 25%. Cytochrome P450 1A2, the principal enzyme involved in caffeine metabolism, is absent in the placenta and the fetus.
Caffeine in higher amounts also increases the risk of miscarriage to 25%. Caffeine’s half-life also increases during pregnancy, which means that it will now stay in your body for a longer time than when you were not pregnant.
Try to avoid caffeine as much as possible. Some of the caffeine sources include (apart from coffee):
- Chocolate. 100 grams of cocoa powder has 230 mg of caffeine. Hot Chocolate is fine though since 1 tbsp of Cocoa Powder has 20-25 mg of Caffeine.
- White Tea – 30-55 mg
- Green Tea- 35-70 mg
- Oolong Tea- 50-75 mg
- Black Tea (Indian Chai)- 60-90 mg
A cup of Cafe Latte has around 80 mg of Caffeine so other varieties like cappuccino, mocha is definitely more.
FOOD WITH TRANS FATS
Intake of Trans Fats increases bad cholesterol levels, which is not good for heart health. During pregnancy, the heart is working twice as hard because of the 50% extra blood and fluids that it is transporting to the placenta from the mother’s body. Therefore, it’s not a good time to indulge in unhealthy cravings frequently. Once in awhile, it’s fine(once in a week).
Trans Fats can also increase the risk of your baby contracting diabetes and heart disease later in life.
Sources of Trans Fats include:
- Deep Fried Foods (including French Fries)
- Pie & Piecrust
- Creamy Frozen Drinks
- Cookies & Cakes. (Store Bought)
- Store Bought Baking Mixes (Pancakes, Waffles etc. )
- Peanut Butter (Some brands add hydrogenated oils to increase shelf life. So CHECK ingredient list)
- Popcorns. (Microwaveable)
- Non-Dairy Creamers.
- Meat Sticks
- Frozen Dinners.
Yes, the list is shocking. It might appear like we are trying to steal everything good from your life but it’s for your own good. Best Fats to consume while pregnant are unsaturated fats from nuts, olive oil, avocados etc.
All the raw fruits and vegetables should be properly washed and cleaned before eating them. Below is a list of fruits & vegetables, which are high in pesticides. You might want to buy Organic variety for the Dirty Dozen list.
The 2017 Dirty Dozen List & Clean 15 List given by EWG (Environmental Working Group)
EWG’s Dirty Dozen (1)
- Sweet Bell Peppers
EWG’s Clean 15
The Clean 15 list includes produce that is least likely to be contaminated by pesticides. Here’s the 2015 Clean 15 List:
- Sweet corn
- Frozen Sweet Peas
HIGH SODIUM FOODS
Too little sodium can be dangerous and so can be too much. Pregnant Women should consume around 2400 mg a day of Sodium and you shouldn’t worry about going a little overboard if your BP is in a normal range or your pregnancy is high risk.
Consuming excess sodium can also excrete Calcium in your body, impaired kidney development and lead to water retention. (Keep in mind that it’s essential to have the recommended RDA because Sodium also contributes to the movement of bodily fluids, the need for which increases during pregnancy.)
Pregnant women are more prone to infection and should be careful of what they are putting in their body. However, your obsession over what food is safe and not would have probably reduced to nil after reading this list. You can thank us in the Comments Section below.
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