Healthy Pregnancy: Foods to Avoid

What foods can I not eat right today? This is one of the first thoughts that pop into your mind when you discover you’re expecting. You have to cut down on drinks and steer clear of caffeine, but what about foods that could be contaminated with bacteria? Here are a few things I do not eat to limit the risk.

“Preggers” Beware

The list of food items that can be dangerous for pregnant women differs based on the person you talk to. However, most people think that your immune system becomes more vulnerable when you’re pregnant. This is why you should be aware of foodborne diseases. Here are a few of my most frequent no-nos since harmful bacteria could contaminate them.

Cold Cuts and Cured Meats

This means that there will be no hot turkey sandwiches or hot dogs at the moment. Foods processed, such as cold cuts, may be contaminated with the listeria monocytogenes. Experts believe pregnant women have three times the risk of getting infected (which could cause miscarriage within the 3rd trimester). Another issue to be aware of is nitrates, a popular preservative used in deli and cured meats such as bacon. The Center for Science in the Public Interest also cautions pregnant women against these.

Unpasteurized Eggs and Dairy Products

Because they’re not pasteurized (which removes bacteria), Beware of raw milk, cheeses, and eggs that aren’t pasteurized. Soft cheeses like Brie Blue, Camembert, and Brie are a few to look for. There are a variety of safe cheeses -Look for the label to ensure the ingredients are pasteurized.

Raw and High-Mercury Seafood

Seafood cooked in a cooker is safe. However, raw fish (from seafood to sushi and clams in the half shell) could contain harmful organisms, parasites, and bacteria. Even when cooking your seafood, avoid swordfish, the largest species of tuna, and the king mackerel. They contain significant quantities of mercury, which could harm the growing infant. If you’re a fish lover, Gotmercury.org has an extensive list of healthier sources and a nifty calculator to assist you in calculating the amount of fish you consume.

What About Ice Cream?

This one was entirely new for me. Soft-serve frozen yogurts and ice creams may contain listeria if machines aren’t clean enough (ick!). I’m a sucker for the classic, scoopable ice cream (which isn’t harmful); however, it’s essential to be aware when trying to beat summer’s heat with the fro yo cup.

Don’t Be Shy!

If in doubt If you are unsure, conduct some research. Look up the ingredients on food items’ labels to ensure that everything is pasteurized. Be sure to ask questions in a restaurant or at a market. I’m a big cheese fan and needed to say goodbye to many of my favorites in the cheese shops of my neighborhood. I just realized that a lot of my top picks were not pasteurized. I’m thank goodness I had asked!

Some More Quick Tips

Here are a few helpful reminders:

Cleanse your fruits and veggies thoroughly before cooking and eating raw.

Prepare your meats well to remove any potential Salmonella or other harmful bacteria.

Avoid the uncooked cookie dough Hollandaise sauce Caesar dressing or any other item containing raw eggs.

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