Feeding during pregnancy is important. You’re growing a baby (yay you!), so be sure you stay clear of these foods to avoid when pregnant. After all, you need to maintain your body strong and healthy.
Pregnancy can become high-risk because of many reasons, but no matter what, abstaining from these big no-nos benefits your overall health.
In contrast to my top high-risk pregnancy superfoods, here are my pregnancy (and high-risk pregnancy) blacklist foods.
As a general rule, some of the foods to avoid when pregnant are the shark, tilefish, swordfish, or King Mackerel. This is because of their levels of mercury.
A high intake of mercury can be toxic to the nervous system. Thus, it’s not recommended during pregnancy or if you’re breastfeeding.
Mercury can be found in bodies of water, so if you’re eating fish from a local market, make sure you know that its mercury levels are safe.
Don’t worry, though, eating salmon and low-mercury fish is a great way of consuming those omega fatties and folic acid. Just make sure that it’s low on mercury.
Undercooked eggs, meat, fish, poultry or shellfish
Cooking your meat submits it to high temperatures, killing all bacteria and parasites. Raw proteins are foods to avoid when pregnant because of their subjacent risk of contracting one of these bacteria and parasites.
Eating undercooked proteins may put you at risk of:
This is a disease that usually doesn’t produce any symptoms, but which you may pass to your unborn baby.
Babies born with toxoplasmosis may be born also without showing symptoms. But they are at greater risk of developing blindness or learning disabilities later in life.
Listeriosis is a grave infection which raises the risks of fetal death, premature birth, or infection in newborns.
Many strains of E. Coli are harmless and symptomless. However, some may cause an infection that can be passed on to your baby.
Women experience cramping, diarrhea, and fever. And pregnant women who contract some strains of E. coli are at a greater risk of premature delivery or miscarriage.
Salmonella infection has symptoms similar to food poisoning. In pregnant women, who are immunologically more vulnerable, it can even be life-threatening. High temperatures while cooking your food effectively kills salmonella. So it’s essential that you don’t eat undercooked protein.
Unpasteurized milk, cheese, and juice
As it happens to undercooked protein, unpasteurized milk, cheese, and juice is also rich with bacteria and parasites.
Pasteurization is a process in which products are put through high temperatures. This process effectively kills any living bacteria that may be potentially harmful to humans.
The Listeria particularly loves growing in unpasteurized milk, cheese, and juice.
Bottom line: Always drink pasteurized milk and cook well your food, which kills the Listeria for good!
Poorly washed vegetables or raw sprouts
Although vegetables are a great source of nutrition and you shouldn’t generally avoid them during your pregnancy, they all need to be thoroughly washed with to kill germs and parasites.
Toxoplasmosis can be found in the surface of vegetables, so wash them under hot, soapy water along with cutting boards, surface, and kitchen utensils.
However, some raw vegetables do fall under the list of foods to avoid when pregnant.
Eliminate raw sprouts completely from your diet. Avoid radish, beans, alfalfa, and clovers.
Sprouts grow in warm and humid conditions, which makes them ideal habitats for the E. coli, salmonella, and listeria. No amount of washing can make them safe to eat. But you can always cook them and eat them cooked!
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