Pregnancy is a special time that calls for a higher level of care. Whatever you do as a mother impacts not just you, but also the baby that you are carrying in your womb.
Most women are careful to avoid alcohol and second-hand smoke, but many neglect to consider the harmful substances present in everyday food. To be honest, we should avoid these foods at all times, but especially during pregnancy.
We bring you a list of five such foods that are a potential harm to you and your baby.
1. Trans Fats
Amidst the hue and cry about how the fast food industry relies on trans fats, they are still present in many of your favourite foods. Everything from crackers to chips, and any other baked or fried foods that you find in supermarkets, comes loaded with these unhealthy fats that promote inflammation and can lead to various heart conditions. A study found that women who consumed trans fats had a 39% higher chance of suffering from a stroke. Trans fats are also known to hamper immune system functioning and can lead to cardiac issues. Pregnant women should avoid these at all costs.
2. Monosodium Glutamate
MSG, or Monosodium Glutamate, is another common processed food ingredient. While people think it is mostly used in takeaway Chinese food, it is present in everything from frozen dinners to chips and even meat. Excess MSG can damage cells and lead to dysfunctioning brain activity, and in severe cases, it leads to disabilities. Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s are two of the most serious diseases caused by MSG.
3. Excessive Preservatives
Chemicals are used to give processed foods a longer shelf life. However, when used past reasonable limits, they can cause unwanted reactions including bloating for pregnant women. Individual components of preservatives can affect the brain’s neurological functions and can alter a person’s behavior. Sodium benzoate, a preservative found in most juices and aerated beverages, makes children hyperactive and distracted. It’s always a good idea to buy fresh foods to ensure you and your baby get the best nutrition.
4. High Fructose Corn Syrup
Otherwise known as HFCS, this dangerous artificial syrup fuses fructose and glucose together. This means your body needs more time to absorb it. Also, since your liver primarily processes fructose, it taxes the liver and is equally as damaging as alcohol. It is also converted to fat and stored in fat cells, leading to obesity. As a pregnant woman, even one can of soda can put you over the daily permissible limit of this dangerous product. Wouldn’t it be better to avoid it altogether?
5. Artificial Sweeteners
A lot of store products have artificial sweeteners in them. While it may seem impossible to avoid them, shunning them is worth the effort for our little ones. Of these, the worst offender is aspartame, but other sweeteners like sucralose and saccharin are hardly better. Like MSG, it affects your brain and attacks brain cells leading to overstimulation. Sucralose also affects gut health and reduces digestive enzymes, leading to inflammation and bowel disorders.
Surprised by the number of your favourite snacks and junk food adversely affecting you? During pregnancy, especially if you are over 35 or are at a risk of complications, it is better to steer clear of trouble-causing foods. Wishing you a healthy and happy pregnancy!