Pregnancy is a sacred responsibility. So much of what you do, eat, think, feel and surround yourself with during this time can have a dramatic effect on you and your baby.
On my new pregnancy series I will discuss several topics that are not known by the general public. Today’s first topic of the series will discuss the not so obvious do’s and dont’s of nutrition during pregnancy and beyond.
YOU MUST GO ORGANIC: If there is one recommendation I wish I can put on a billboard for all pregnant women is to Go organic. Organic food is becoming more and more affordable so there truly is no excuse not to eat organic. Eating organic is even more important than watching your sugar, carb, salt, and starchy carb intake during pregnancy. I would prefer you eat an organic danish than a nonorganic raspberry. That’s how important this is to me.
Organic food is not only more nutritious than their nonorganic counterparts but you’re also paying for what you DON’T get. Nonorganic food contains toxic chemicals that are carcinogenic (cancer causing), hormones like estrogen, and antibiotics. So please for the sake of yours and your unborn child’s health please eat organic.
AVOID ARTIFICIAL COLORS, SWEETENERS, FLAVOR ENHANCERS AND PRESERVATIVES:
Artificial Colors: Anything that in the ingredients that has a number after a color like (blue #1, red #40) you must avoid. A 2012 UCLA review found that all of the 9 currently approved dyes have health risks.
Artificial Sweeteners: This includes aspartame and sucralose. Both chemicals have shown to that there is a direct link between mothers who consumed these chemicals and weight gain in their children at age 1. So please avoid diet sodas, sugar free dessert, sugar free gum, and artificially sweetened beverages.
MSG: MSG is a flavor enhancer found in soups, snacks, salad dressings, seasonings, chips and most Chinese food. Sometimes it’s hard to identify it in the ingredient list so I would advise you to minimize your consumption of processed foods. MSG enters the brain and causes overexcitation of neurons. There is also good evidence now that the chemicals in MSG can pass through the placenta and overstimulate the baby’s brain. With so much concern for autism my personal concern is that this hidden chemical is a contributing factor.
Nitrates and Nitrites: These additives are used to preserve cured meats and can be found in hot dog, bacon, ham, lunch meats, and so on. Studies have shown that consumption of cured meats during pregnancy left children at higher risk of developing brain tumors. Nitrate-free meats are becoming more wide spread and available. I recommend consuming these since I don’t see a real difference in flavor.
AVOID BPA (BISPHENOL A) AT ALL COSTS: BPA is known as an endocrine disruptor. Studies suggest it can cause cancer, behavior problems, infertility, obesity, ADHD, and diabetes. Avoid drinking water in plastic bottles (some contain BPA). Instead opt for glass water bottles or the hydroflask. Just to be safe never heat food in plastic containers, never store food in plastic (pyrex tupperware preferred), avoid canned foods with lined cans that could contain BPA.
This list is not meant to scare you but to be more cognizant of what is best for you and baby. Enjoy and stay tuned for more from the Dr. Sandra’s guide to a safe and healthy pregnancy.
Sandra Thomasian, MD