TEN FOODS TO AVOID

To protect your and your baby’s health, make sure to avoid these top 10 food nas­ties

Your Pregnancy - - Healthy Happy Body -

1 UN­PAS­TEURISED DAIRY Say good­bye to all your soft, smelly cheeses, such as brie, camem­bert and blue cheese – feta, too, if it hasn’t been pas­teurised. That’s be­cause un­pas­teurised cheeses, milk and other dairy prod­ucts are more likely to grow bac­te­ria, such as lis­te­ria. Preg­nant women are more sus­cep­ti­ble to get­ting in­fected by this nasty lit­tle germ. It can cause an ill­ness called lis­te­rio­sis, which is usu­ally mild for you but it can harm your baby and, in rare cases, even lead to mis­car­riage or death. Here’s the good news: nowadays many soft cheeses and feta are made with pas­teurised milk, in which case they’re per­fectly fine to eat. Al­ways check the la­bel to be sure and prac­tise this golden rule: if in doubt, leave it out. 2 FISH HIGH IN MER­CURY Big­ger fish live longer and are higher on the food chain, and the more other fish they eat, the more mer­cury is ac­cu­mu­lated in their meat. Mer­cury is a neu­ro­toxin that can build up in your blood­stream and can harm your baby. How­ever, seafood is a great source of pro­tein, iron and zinc – all cru­cial for your baby’s growth, while the omega 3 fatty acids found in fish help your baby’s brain de­vel­op­ment. So eat fish in mod­er­a­tion, just make sure it’s the kind that’s low in mer­cury and high in omega 3s, such as an­chovies, her­ring, sar­dines and trout. A study by ma­rine sci­en­tist Brent New­man at the CSIR found sword­fish, kingk­lip, cape salmon and yel­lowfin tuna to be the South African fish with the high­est mer­cury contents. 3 RAW OR UN­DER­COOKED EGGS Raw or un­der­cooked eggs may carry the sal­monella bac­te­ria. Sal­monella poi­son­ing is un­likely to harm baby, but it will make you un­pleas­antly ill. So lay off the eggs bene­dict and – get ready for hor­ri­ble news – avoid foods such as meringues, choco­late mousse and tiramisu, which all con­tain un­cooked eggs. Most com­mer­cial may­on­naises are made with pas­teurised eggs and are okay to eat, but check the la­bel to be sure. 4 PRO­CESSED MEATS Polony, salami, ham, hot dogs... they all carry a risk of lis­te­ria. It’s a low risk, but rather be safe than sorry and ei­ther avoid these meats or heat them to more than 73°C to kill off any bac­te­ria. 5 RAW SHELL­FISH Raw shell­fish, such as oys­ters, mus­sels, scal­lops, clams, shrimp, crabs and cray­fish, may con­tain bac­te­ria, viruses and tox­ins that can make you quite ill. If you eat shell­fish, al­ways make sure it’s been thor­oughly cooked. 6 LIVER Too much liver and foods rich in liver, such as pâté, are a no-no, be­cause they con­tain high lev­els of retinol, a type of vi­ta­min A. Too much retinol can build up in your body, which can be harm­ful to baby. But don’t avoid vi­ta­min A com­pletely – it’s im­por­tant to keep your skin, eyes and im­mune sys­tem healthy. Get it in good amounts by eat­ing a diet that in­cludes but­ter, eggs, cheese, oily fish, car­rots and broc­coli. 7 RAW MEAT Say good­bye to rare steaks – un­der­cooked meat and poul­try has a risk of car­ry­ing lis­te­ria, sal­monella and the tox­o­plasma par­a­site (also found in cat lit­ter). This last one can lead to tox­o­plas­mo­sis, which is a flu-like ill­ness that may be mild for you, but po­ten­tially se­ri­ous for baby, even caus­ing mis­car­riage or death. 8 SUSHI (BUT NOT AL­WAYS) In Ja­pan sushi is con­sid­ered healthy in preg­nancy. But in the West it’s been ad­vised against be­cause raw fish such as salmon can con­tain small par­a­sitic worms, which have the po­ten­tial to make you ill and in rare cases can be fa­tal. So should you or shouldn’t you eat sushi? The lat­est word from the UK’s Na­tional Health Ser­vice’s ad­vis­ers is that eat­ing sushi while preg­nant is “usu­ally safe”. Fol­low these ba­sic rules and you should have no trou­ble: • If it’s raw fish, make sure it’s been frozen first, as this should kill off worms. • If it’s cured fish, such as smoked salmon, it doesn’t need to be frozen be­cause smok­ing, pick­ling and salt­ing should kill off worms. • Only eat shell­fish that’s well cooked. 9 SUGAR Stud­ies show that moms who con­sume loads of sugar dur­ing preg­nancy give birth to ba­bies “ad­dicted” to sugar, which puts them at risk of health prob­lems, such as di­a­betes. Too much sugar also in­creases your risk of ges­ta­tional di­a­betes. You don’t have to be di­a­betic or even prone to di­a­betes to suf­fer from ges­ta­tional di­a­betes, so re­duce your risk by lay­ing off the sugar! 10. TOO MUCH CAF­FEINE Avoid cof­fee, tea and soft drinks that con­tain caf­feine. Three cups of cof­fee a day or more can decrease blood flow to the pla­centa and af­fect baby’s growth. It’s also a di­uretic that causes your body to lose flu­ids con­tain­ing es­sen­tial vi­ta­mins. If you re­ally need your daily fix, don’t go over the rec­om­mended max­i­mum of 200mg a day. YP

Chela Preg Trimester Two* R220 avail­able at Dis-Chem and Clicks

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