Eating out has become a way of socializing in today’s times, be it spending quality time with family, enjoying a movie with your partner or going out with colleagues after work, eating out is now a common practice. It has become a trend. But when it comes to pregnancy, you should think before taking any step. Because now your everything is related to your baby as well, although at this time your food cravings may increase and due to this you may eat more outside food. Chinese food is considered one of the most popular food around the world, if you are pregnant then you should stop and think about it. You may crave for Chinese food during pregnancy, so it is important for you to know what you should avoid.
Glutamate is present in its natural form in many vegetables and fruits. It is also found in breast milk. However, MSG (monosodium glutamate) is made artificially – it is said to be excitotoxic, meaning that when consumed during pregnancy it can stimulate the developing brain and nerves, causing the child to develop autism, schizophrenia, etc. This is because the body cannot differentiate between natural glutamate and MSG and metabolizes both.
Why pregnant women should avoid Chinese food
During pregnancy, you must follow a healthy diet as the health of the baby depends on the mother. You may have a craving to eat delicious food and it is not necessarily a healthy food or snack, but if you are having a craving to eat Chinese food, especially in the first trimester of pregnancy, then it can have a bad effect on the health of your baby. It is better that you avoid eating Chinese food, especially if it is made at a street stall, because you do not know whether the ingredients used there will be fresh or not. This can prove to be harmful for you and your baby.
Here are the reasons why you should keep Chinese food away from your dining table:
- The Chinese food available in India contains MSG which is called monosodium glutamate. If you are pregnant, you should avoid it, as it can cause problems like allergies, headache and even make you feel hot all of a sudden.
- MSG is used in Chinese food to enhance the taste of the food. Consuming Chinese food during pregnancy can increase your morning sickness problem. This can cause heart palpitations and numbness in the area around the face and neck (this can happen in case of allergies).
- The glutamate in MSG passes through the placenta and affects the baby’s brain and nervous system. The placenta protects your baby from acidic foods and MSG breaks down this barrier, allowing harmful germs and bacteria to reach your baby.
- MSG contains sodium, which can lead to dehydration, bloating and high blood pressure, especially when you consume it daily. During pregnancy, this leads to water retention which is harmful for the body. Apart from this, it can also cause problems like edema and preeclampsia during pregnancy.
- If you have been allergic to MSG since early in your pregnancy, it is best to stay away from Chinese food. It can cause common problems like sleeplessness, vomiting, nausea and headache, so avoid eating Chinese food during pregnancy.
- The amino acids present in MSG can lead to developmental disorders in the child, thus affecting the development of the child in the womb as well.
- Our body produces glutamate naturally and it is also found in fruits and vegetables, artificial MSG is made from fermenting sugar which is harmful for the health of mother and child. Hence it is best to avoid it during pregnancy.
- Seafood contains high amounts of mercury, which can harm your baby’s health and hence you should avoid it completely or consume it in limited quantities.
Which Chinese foods are beneficial during pregnancy
It is a fact that due to the excessive amount of MSG in Chinese food, it can affect your pregnancy. However, there are some Chinese foods and ingredients that may prove beneficial during pregnancy:
- Chinese/Green Tea: The antioxidants present in green tea can prove to be beneficial for the health of you and your baby. However, check the caffeine content before consuming it.
- Chinese Ginger: This food is very well known for its anti-microbial and anti-viral properties. Including it in your diet during pregnancy fills your body with energy and it provides relief from nausea that you feel during pregnancy.
- Congee: Congee is a popular rice porridge often eaten as a breakfast dish in China and many other Asian countries. It is simple in taste, but full of nutrition. It reduces nausea during pregnancy.
- Bean Sprouts: This food contains protein, phytonutrients and vitamins. It is very beneficial for your baby’s health and brain development.
- Fresh Tofu : A type of paneer made from soy milk, tofu is rich in proteins and antioxidants that help maintain your health during pregnancy.
- Coconut milk : The presence of potassium, magnesium, sugar and protein in coconut milk helps in better development of the baby.
During pregnancy, if you want to taste or try new foods, then you can talk to your doctor and ask them, taking care of the health of you and your baby, they can explain you very well what you should and what you should not eat. But even after this, if you are having a lot of craving to eat Chinese food, then keep in mind that you eat it from a good restaurant, which has less sodium and MSG. Noodles, steamed veggies and rice are a good option to satiate your cravings at this time and fried Chinese food should be avoided. Your child’s health is more important at this time, so it is very important for you to be careful.