This post is from weekly contributor Victoria of Yogi Mama.
Many people are aware of the importance of eating healthy and avoiding common toxins during pregnancy such as tobacco, illegal drugs, and alcohol.
However, there are other harmful food additives that deserve equal attention but are not as widely discussed.
Here is a list of food additives to avoid during pregnancy.
Food Additives to Avoid During Pregnancy
1. Genetically Modified Organisms or GMO Foods
Genetically modified foods are very prevalent despite the fact that the safety or long-term effects of these foods are unknown. GMO foods have side effects such as allergies, toxins, nutritional problems and diseases. They cause hormone disruption in men and women and can lead to infertility.
Among the top 10 most common GMO crops are: Corn, Soy, Cotton, Sugar Beets, Canola, Papaya, Zucchini and Summer Squash so it is best to choose organic when buying these foods.
Pesticides and herbicides are sprayed onto many commercial fruits and vegetables and can have dangerous effects on fetuses; especially during the developmental stages. Pesticide exposure can result in poor birth outcome or future health issues such as breathing and neurological defects and increases the chances of childhood Leukemia.
The best way to avoid pesticides in foods is to eat only organic fruits, vegetables and grains (see GMOs above), filter to eliminate from drinking water, and opt out of using any chemical fertilizers and pesticides around your house and yard.
3. Aspartame and other Artificial Sweeteners
Artificial sweeteners can be found in yogurt, chewing gum, soft drinks, and other desserts. These sweeteners contain chemicals your body does not recognize, and when it tries to metabolize them it can result in various health problems. Toxic effects of synthetic sweeteners can include headaches, dizziness, seizures, vision impairment, and strokes.
In pregnancy, large amounts of chemical artificial sweeteners can cause birth defects and increase the risk of brain and spinal cord cancer. A common indicator that a product contains artificial sweeteners is with marketing such as “Sugar Free” or “Diet”. Natural sweeteners such as honey and maple syrup are the healthiest options.
4. Monosodium glutamate (MSG)
MSG is a flavor enhancer commonly found in soups, snacks, salad dressings, seasonings, chips, and most restaurant foods. This additive is categorized as an excitotoxin, which causes hyperactivity to brain cells as they try to communicate. MSG has also been shown to cause side effects such as cancer, heart problems, obesity, learning and behavioral disorders, as well as many others.
Exposure to MSG during pregnancy can affect how the brain forms. It also can cause abnormal learning, emotional and behavioral disorders and endocrine problems later in a child’s life. Unfortunately, MSG is harder to recognize on labels as it is disguised by a multitude of names.
The best ways to avoid MSG are to avoid:
- fast foods
- processed foods
- foods that contain a long ingredient list
How to Avoid Toxic Food Additives During Pregnancy and Beyond
It is extremely important for prospective parents to educate themselves on the multitude of environmental toxins to limit the exposure to their unborn babies.
In addition to these food additives to avoid during pregnancy, expecting mothers should avoid processed food and eat local, organic, seasonal foods as often as possible. By making a point to avoid these additives during pregnancy and breastfeeding you can give your baby the best chance at a happy, healthy life.
Taking the next step and making a lifestyle change and removing these toxins from your family’s diet will provide long-term health and wellness for everyone.
Do you avoid these toxic food additives?