What foods are prohibited during pregnancy?

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Food is a crucial element for your health and your future baby, so during pregnancy, there are several products that you should avoid to ensure its correct development. Some foods are prohibited, while others should be limited to improve the health and well-being of both. We explain what you should eliminate from your diet during these weeks.

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Why there are forbidden foods in pregnancy

Some food products carry risks of contamination by microorganisms, leading to illness in the baby or miscarriages. Although the chances are generally low, it is essential to eliminate these foods as a preventive measure.

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First, we must avoid those foods that can cause listeriosis, a disease caused by the bacterium listeria monocytogenes. While in healthy people, the symptoms are mild, they can cause severe problems for the baby in pregnant women. Another risk to avoid is toxoplasmosis, a disease that can appear when ingesting food contaminated by this parasite.

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To prevent this contamination, food must be fully cooked, especially meat, fish, and eggs, and you must peel or clean raw fruits and vegetables well. Finally, although fish consumption is highly recommended, large fish should be avoided since they could contain heavy metals such as mercury.

What you shouldn’t eat if you’re pregnant

Below you have a list of foods that you should avoid in pregnancy:

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  • Raw or undercooked meats, fish, and seafood, and smoked, marinated, or fermented (including foods such as sushi, ceviche, carpaccio’s, or raw mollusks). These foods should be fully cooked, making sure they are also made inside.
  • Raw milk and unpasteurized dairy products. Fresh, soft (such as mozzarella or brie) and blue cheeses whose label does not explicitly state “prepared with pasteurized milk” should be avoided. In addition, we must permanently remove the bark.
  • Industrial rolled or grated 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 bit of bleach suitable for disinfection of drinking water (1 teaspoon of coffee per liter of water). Then, rinse them thoroughly with fresh water.
  • Raw sprouts such as soy or alfalfa.
  • Large fish such as shark, tuna, swordfish, mackerel, and phantasies. These species could contain high levels of heavy metals.
  • Packaged sandwiches and prepared products with vegetables, eggs, meat, cold cuts, or fish.
  • Prepared juices that are not pasteurized.

Hygiene measures when cooking.

In the preparation and preservation 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 been in contact with any raw food.
  • Store cooked food in the fridge for as little time as possible, in closed containers, and away from raw food or cheese.
  • Always respect the expiration date of food.
  • Make sure the fridge keeps food at 4 degrees or less.

Foods you should limit in pregnancy.

balanced, varied, and complete diet is essential to meet your needs and those of your baby. To achieve this, it-is highly advisable to reduce the consumption of foods high in saturated fat, salt, and sugar, since they can lead to weight gain and cardiovascular problems.

Saturated fats are primarily present in red meat, processed meat products, industrial pastriespre-cooked dishes, and fried snacks. Avoid eating 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, soft drinks, sauces, and processed products, so it is essential to consult the food label when purchasing and opt for those low in sugars. Excessive consumption can also increase nausea.

Finally, salt is another ingredient to reduce since we usually consume it much higher than recommended: a teaspoon of coffee a-day is enough. Avoid dishes with high salt content and look for substitutes to flavor meals, such as lemon, aromatic herbs, and spices. At home, always use iodized salt since this way, you will get the necessary iodine intake.