Pregnancy is a wonderful time for women. They are all aglow with the expectation of bringing a new life to the world, and they can throw their skinny diets out of the window for the time being at least. They are pampered by the world around them. But, all said and done, pregnancy does come with its own fair share of restrictions as well. Foods that you would otherwise consider quite harmless to eat at any other time would be a strict no-no during pregnancy, and foods that you would not touch normally would be must-haves on your plate. In this busy day and age, canned foods are quite a boon. We don’t have to worry too much about the chopping and slicing of raw materials now that we can buy them in cans. In fact, a lot of canned foods come precooked or at least require only the addition of water and a couple of minutes on the stove top, such as instant noodles. But is it okay to eat them when pregnant? Let us find out.
Best to avoid
The long and short of the story is, it is not okay to eat canned foods when you are pregnant. Recent research shows that it is not a good idea to eat canned foods during the nine months, and that includes canned raw materials such as cubed and chopped vegetables and fruits, foods that are precooked, foods that can be instantly cooked such as instant meals, and even packaged beverages such as water, juices, and canned drinks. You are especially cautioned against drinking such beverages if they have been left too long out in the sun, or have been sitting on the shelves for a long time.
Because of weaker immunity
But what makes canned and packaged foods so dangerous for pregnant women while you would otherwise consume them without a worry? The truth of the matter is, it is never really safe to eat and drink packaged items, be it canned or bottled. But, it is especially unsafe during pregnancy because this is the time when your immune system will be at its weakest, and you will be most susceptible to all kinds of bacterial and viral infections. Besides, everything you put in your body will directly affect your growing baby since the child will be getting its nutrition from you. Therefore, you are advised to et only the freshest of products, and avoid everything that has been canned or bottled, irrespective of the type f packaging.
Too many preservatives
The risk factor in canned goods lies in many different levels. To begin with, canned foods are meant to have a very long shelf life, something you will notice when you read the best before and manufacturing/ packaging labels. For this reason, they are packed with preservatives and these preservatives are always approved by the food and drug authorities since they are necessary to extend the life of the goods and cause minimal damage to the nutrients. However, preservatives themselves are nothing but chemicals, and hence invariably cause damage to your system.
Presence of BPA
Yet another frightening aspect of canned foods is that they are packaged in metal or plastic containers. Agreed, these containers are made from food grade material, but that does not stop them from very slowly decomposing. The chemicals that are used in these products leak out and seep into the food, turning the food malicious for the woman and the baby. In some cases, these chemicals have been linked with miscarriages. Take, for instance, the chemical bisphenol-A (BPA), which is something we all expose ourselves to every time we buy something packaged, even something as innocuous as a packet of crisps. Recently undertaken research has shown very conclusive evidence that BPA poses a possible threat to pregnancies, and can lead to miscarriages.
Heating increases the contamination
That is the reason, in fact, that pregnant women are advised against eating ready to eat meals that can be heated in the container you got the food in itself. BPA is present in plastic bags, cans, boxes, and even receipts, and that makes for a very high level of exposure. The chemical can leak faster into the food when the container is being heated, which is why you should not eat or drink anything packaged which has been kept out in the sun, and why you should never microwave your food, no matter how hungry you are.
Of course, it is not easy to completely let go of canned foods cold turkey, especially when we are as busy as we are today. But adjusting your time and schedule is a small price to pay when the life of your baby and yourself is at stake. Carry your food in stainless steel containers instead; these are far safer than any food grade plastic.