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Uncovering the food myths

Uncovering the food myths

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During pregnancy the most common advice you get from anybody is on what to eat and what not.

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2016

While many of these advices hold true, some are not!

Eating papaya causes abortion.

The truth is that raw papaya is suspected to contain chymopapaine which is supposed to induce abortion or early labor. But ripe papaya is considered to be safe. Moreover ripe papaya is a good source of vitamin A.

Eating hot and spicy foods can cause abortion.

If eaten in moderation, it causes no harm to the baby. However, one should avoid very spicy food as during pregnancy, many have the symptom of heartburn and very spicy food may increase it.

Pregnant mothers crave for pickles and ice cream.

Particular food cravings like these may occur, but this is not universal. The thing is that mothers who crave for pickles are actually craving for salt. Additional minerals are particularly important in pregnancy when the blood volume increases by up to 20 percent, diluting the existing minerals.

Similarly, pregnant mothers who crave for junk foods such as ice cream do so because junk food is associated with comfort. Sugar found in sweet foods cause the body to produce serotonin, which makes the mother feel good.

Pregnant mothers must eat for two.

Since the requirements of the pregnant mothers increase, she is supposed to eat a little extra, about 350 kcals more. What the pregnant mother actually needs is a well-balanced nutritious diet that consists of all the food groups, so that it fulfills the needs of all the nutrients adequately. Generally, in the last trimester, the baby gains half a pound a week. So, as a general rule, if during this time the pregnant mother is not gaining a bit more then her diet needs to be looked into.

Pregnant mothers shouldn’t consume fish and fish oil.

False.

Fish and shellfish are an important part of a healthy diet. Fish and shellfish contain high-quality protein and other essential nutrients, are low in saturated fat, and contain omega-3 fatty acids. So, women and young children in particular should include fish or shellfish in their diets due to the many nutritional benefits. However, nearly all fish and shellfish contain traces of mercury. For most people, the risk from mercury by eating fish and shellfish is not a health concern. Yet, some fish and shellfish contain higher levels of mercury that may harm an unborn baby or young child’s developing nervous system.However, The FDA/EPA Fish Consumption Advisory informs women who may become pregnant, pregnant women, nursing mothers and the parents of young children about how to get the positive health benefits from eating fish and shellfish lower in mercury (for example, shrimp, canned light tuna, salmon, pollock, and catfish), while minimizing mercury exposure by avoiding types of fish that are higher in mercury (for example, shark, swordfish, tilefish and king mackerel).

Drinking coffee adversely affects pregnancy.

Again, false. Coffee in small amounts does not affect the baby, but avoid drinking more than three cups a day. Very large amount of caffeine may result in a baby with a low birth-weight.

The bottom-line is, eat well, but eat intelligently and there will be absolutely no reason to worry.

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