Although all foods are promoted to fit into a well-balanced diet, there are foods that women should limit. Avoiding these worst foods for women (particularly in childbearing years, while pregnant, or during menopause) can ensure safety for both mom and baby, while prompting health across the board.
Worst Foods for Women
The intake of sushi is discouraged for a couple of reasons. First off, raw sushi poses concern for everyone related to its heightened risk of seafood-borne illness. Sushi prepared with mercury-containing fish (shark, swordfish, king mackerel for example) is especially a worry in pregnant women, as mercury has been linked to developmental delays and brain damage to the fetus.
2. Deli Meats
All women can benefit from limiting deli meats, as they generally are a hidden source of sodium. However, pregnant women should stray away from it altogether, as it may be contaminated with listeria. Listeria is bacteria able to cross the placenta and cause harm to, or potentially fatal, the developing baby.
3. Raw Eggs
Although the apprehension of dietary cholesterol intake from eggs has been diminished, consuming raw eggs still poses extensive worry in all women related to salmonella risk. Disguised sources of raw eggs involve mayonnaise, homemade ice creams and custards, and Hollandaise sauce.
4. Unpasteurized Milks and Cheeses
Despite their valuable calcium contribution, unpasteurized milks and the cheeses they produce may also contain listeria. Most unpasteurized cheeses are in the form of imported soft cheeses and include brie, feta, and queso.
5. Unwashed Produce
Repeat, UNWASHED produce… Not washing fruits and veggies raises the risk for bacterial growth that is particularly harmful in pregnant women. However, washed fruits and veggies are considered to be safe and highly encouraged based on their considerable health profile. In fact, cruciferous veggies (broccoli, cauliflower, etc.) have been shown to reduce exacerbated hormonal changes in menopausal women.
6. Caffeinated Beverages
Caffeine can be consumed in safe amounts, but should be warned with caution particularly in pregnant and menopausal women. General recommendations suggest no more than 200 milligrams per day during pregnancy, while reducing caffeine intake in menopausal women can lessen the potential or severity of hot flashes. Additionally, stay cautious of the added sugars, syrups, and creams your favorite go-to coffee item may contain!
Women are encouraged to limit alcohol intake to one alcoholic drink daily with no safe amount identified in pregnancy. Although multiple factors can interfere with fetal development, alcohol consumption may lead to fetal alcohol syndrome and cause harmful, yet avoidable consequences. Alcohol is also discouraged during breastfeeding and can minimize the risk of hot flashes in menopausal women when limited or avoided. And all-in-all, moderating alcohol intake can lessen the risk of weight gain and chronic diseases, including numerous cancer types.
8. Added Sugar
Sugar is undoubtedly intermingled into a wide variety of food products, including hidden sources such as tomato sauce, salad dressings, and granola bars. According to the American Heart Association, women should consume no more than 25 grams of added sugar each day, or up to six teaspoons. To put the recommendation into perspective, one 12-ounce can of Coca-Cola supplies 39 grams of sugar!
9. Diet Soda
Although choosing a diet soda may appear to be a more nutritious option than regular soda, artificial sweeteners also pose great concern. In fact, research implies consuming diet soda may even facilitate weight gain! Limit or ditch soda altogether and hydrate with these 13 flavorful water variations.
Although commonly perceived as a healthier butter alternative, margarine is mostly comprised of those notorious trans fats, largely linked to a plethora health conditions. In fact, 2018 is the year designated to strip it away from the food supply! But until its removal, stay weary of its intake and products it may be created with, including donuts, cookies, cakes, and other prepackaged, convenience snacks.
Foods to Avoid During Pregnancy. American Pregnancy Association.