Food is a key element for your health and that of your future baby, so during pregnancy, there are several products that you should avoid ensuring proper development. Some foods are prohibited, while others should be limited to improve health and well-being. We explain what you should eliminate from your diet during these weeks.
Why are there forbidden foods during pregnancy.
Some food products carry risks of contamination by microorganisms, which could cause illness to the baby or miscarriages. Although the risks are generally low, it is important to eliminate these foods as a preventive measure.
First, we should avoid those foods that can cause listeriosis, a disease caused by the bacterium listeria monocytogenes. Although the symptoms are mild in healthy people, in pregnant women, it can cause serious problems for the baby. Another risk to avoid is toxoplasmosis, a disease that can appear when eating food contaminated by this parasite.
To prevent this contamination, food must be fully cooked, especially meat, fish, and eggs, and you should peel or clean raw fruits and vegetables thoroughly. Finally, although fish consumption is highly recommended, large fish should be avoided since they could contain heavy metals such as mercury.
What not to eat if you’re pregnant
Below is a list of foods you should avoid during pregnancy:
Raw or undercooked meats, fish, seafood, smoked, marinated, or fermented (including meals such as sushi, ceviche, carpaccio’s, or raw mollusks). These foods must be cooked completely, ensuring they are also made inside.
Unpasteurized raw milk and dairy products. Fresh, soft (such as mozzarella or brie), and blue cheeses whose label does not specifically state that they are “prepared with pasteurized milk” should be avoided. In addition, we must always remove the bark.
Laminated or grated industrial cheeses. These products could be contaminated by listeria due to their slicing process.
Raw or undercooked eggs and products containing it. Eggs should be fully cooked, and we must avoid all sauces, desserts, or dishes made with raw eggs, such as mayonnaise, meringue, tiramisu, or homemade ice cream.
Sausages, cured meat products, processed meats, and pâtés.
Raw vegetables that are not previously disinfected, also salads prepared in bags. To clean them, immerse them for 10 minutes in water with a little bleach suitable for disinfection of drinking water (1 teaspoon of coffee per liter of water). Then, rinse them well with fresh water.
Raw sprouts such as soybeans or alfalfa.
Large fish include sharks, tuna, swordfish, mackerel, and pangasius. These species may contain high levels of heavy metals.
Pack sandwiches and prepare products with vegetables, eggs, meat, cold cuts, or fish.
Prepared juices that are not pasteurized.
Hygiene measures when cooking.
In the preparation and conservation of food, there are also certain precautions that you have to take into account to avoid possible contamination:
- Always wash your hands before and after handling food, for at least 20 seconds.
- Clean and disinfect kitchen utensils that have come into contact with raw food.
- Store cooked food in the fridge for as little time as possible, in closed containers and away from raw foods or cheeses.
- Always respect the expiration date of food.
- Make sure the refrigerator keeps food at 4 degrees or below.
Foods you should limit during pregnancy.
A balanced, varied, and complete diet is essential to meet your needs and those of your baby. Reducing the consumption of foods high in saturated fats, salt, and sugar is highly advisable since they can lead to weight gain and cardiovascular problems.
Saturated fats are mostly present in red meat, processed meat products, and industrial pastries, as well as in many precooked dishes and fried snacks. Avoid consuming these foods and replace them with fresh foods that you can cook at home more healthily.
Sugar is an additive that contains many more foods than we think. It is present in desserts, juices, and soft drinks, as well as in sauces and processed products, so it is important to check the food label when shopping and opt for those low in sugar. Excessive consumption can also increase nausea.
Finally, salt is another ingredient to reduce since we usually consume it in much higher quantities than recommended: a teaspoon of coffee daily is enough. To do this, avoid dishes with high salt content and look for substitutes to flavor foods, such as lemon, aromatic herbs, and spices. At home, always use iodized salt since you will get the necessary iodine contribution.