What (not) to eat while pregnant
Pregnant? Congratulations! Have fun. Treat yourself, it's important!
I suppose you've already read quite a few articles / posts about maternal nutrition, what to eat and the fact that eating fir two Is a myth.
You may not need to be quantitatively eating for two but you have a definite responsibility here for two (or more ...) therefore, responsible eating is a pregnancy must!
What do I mean by responsible eating? You need to know what to avoid and what to reduce and very possibly adopt some new rules.
Avoid food poisoning,
The likelihood of food poisoning during pregnancy is higher and what may be manifested in only mild illness in a non maternal woman may lead to the extent of malformations and abortion in a pregnant woman. Therefore, care should be taken especially when eating out of the house and in unfamiliar places. Stay away from food that is unclear to when was prepared, such as ready-made salads in delis and cafes.
In recent years, the US Medicines Administration (FDA) and the American Dietetic Association and the Israeli Ministry of Health have published a list of foods that they should avoid throughout the pregnancy:
- Raw meat or meat that has not been cooked long enough – such as carpaccio, tartar steak and steak that may not be well done
- When preparing ground beef or handling raw meat / chicken / fish at home, special care should be taken because of their sensitivity. Avoid tasting uncooked minced meat (as for seasoning correction) or touching meat and then other foods that are eaten without cooking such as fruits and vegetables.
- Raw fish - that means no sushi, saviche and sashimi. Also, vegetarian sushi should be avoided because it is prepared on the same work surface where sushi with raw fish is prepared and contamination easily passes through surfaces. It is possible to make home-made sushi while strictly separating the work surfaces between vegetarian and regular sushi.
- Meat and Smoked Fish - The smoking process is not enough to reduce the amount of dangerous bacteria. Such food should only be eaten if heated to a temp that produces steam.
- Large fish such as tuna, mackerel and swordfish may contain mercury. In 2004, the FDA recommended that sensitive populations such as women trying to conceive, pregnant women, breastfeeding women and children should be completely prevented, while canned tuna should be limited to two boxes a week.
- Raw eggs - eggs that the yolk is still liquidly – sunny side up’s, soft boiled egg, shakshuka…
- All things containing eggs that have not been fully cooked or pasteurized like home-made mayonnaise (no problem with industrial), mousse or home-made ice cream and dishes containing egg foam like tiramisu (also in the restaurant). When making cakes, avoid tasting the batter if it has eggs.
- Sprouts of all kinds, including alfalfa due to bacteria present in the germ and not washed with soap and water
- Cheese or juices that are not pasteurized. This is not the time to go dairy queen tasting or buy natural juices at the stall. These foods are sensitive to the development of dangerous bacteria and should only be eaten by what has been pastured to ensure that there are no dangerous bacteria. It is also advisable to avoid ripe cheeses with mold and cheeses such as Camber, Roquefort, Brie, etc… unless explicitly prepared from pasteurized milk.
- Expired products, sounds obvious don’t they? Apparently not, there are many who do not look at the expiration date or simply ignore it. It has to be addressed; it has meaning. Make sure to Look at the expiration date while buying the products in the supermarket.
- Fruits and vegetables should be rinsed well with soap and water.
- It is advisable not to order salads or other cold-served dishes such as salads or sandwiches, but food prepared locally and served at high temps.
Better hygiene in the home kitchen:
The American Disease Control Center recommends washing hands for 20 consecutive seconds, at least 10 times a day (not including after visiting important places or changing diapers). But hey, were all experts at hygiene after COVID-19.I personally hold a large bottle of alcohol gel in my kitchen and every time before touching food I make sure to give it a squeeze in my handRefrigerated food properly – keep meet and uncooked food separately from fruits and vegetables.The most dangerous temperature range for the development of harmful bacteria in food is between 4 and 60 degrees Celsius. Food should be stored at a low or high temp. Remember the "two hours rule", food that was at room temp two hours or more must be thrown out. If left out in a room with a temperature of 32 degrees Celsius or more (anyplace with hot summers), for over an hour, make sure to toss.
Restricting other relevant foods throughout pregnancy:
· Salt - Beware of very salty foods like salty cheeses, pickled vegetables and foods that were heavily salted pre-cooking.· Alcohol - In the past, moderate alcohol consumption has been permitted during pregnancy, but in recent years the recommendation has been to avoid it altogether. Alcohol is rapidly absorbed into the blood already in the stomach and passes the placenta to the fetus. Due to reliable research from recent years, it is recommended to avoid completely through all stages of pregnancy.·
Coffee - Moderate intake of caffeine (around three cups a day) is considered safe. Take in to consideration that Caffeine is found in tea, chocolate and Coca-Cola..
Artificial Sweeteners - The name of the artificial sweetener will appear in the "ingredients" of the product and it is recommended to pay attention to writing and stay away from.
The official position of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is that approved sweeteners are also suitable for pregnant women. It should be takin in mind that most clinical trials on sweeteners and pregnancies are done in laboratory animals. furthermore there are some artificial sweeteners that cause some discomfort to professionals and in a sensitive period such as pregnancy it is best to try to avoid:
- Saccharin - is currently in relatively low use for past years but is still found in many beverages and products. Saccharin crosses the placenta and remains in the embryonic tissue so its safety is questionable.
- Cyclamate - Not allowed in the US but allowed in other countries such as Israel. Not commonly used. Not recommended for use in pregnancy.
- Sucralose ("Splenda") - has not been used for enough years to gather evidence of its safety, so it is recommended to use caution or avoid it.
- Aspartame - one of its components is phenylalanine amino acid. Not recommended for women with PKU or liver disease.
Wishing you an easy, healthy and beautiful pregnancy
Tal Peleg - Certified Clinical Dietitian