Making sure to follow a sound regimen to support the growing baby and staying away from harmful substances is a common goal in most pregnancies. The majority of people are aware of the importance of avoiding tobacco, illegal drugs, and alcohol, but there are other harmful substances that deserve to be equally evaded that are not as widely discussed.
Pesticides and herbicides are sprayed onto many commercial fruits and vegetables, or even manufactured into GMO seeds. These chemicals can have dangerous effects on fetuses; especially during the developmental stages. The best way to avoid this is to eat only organic fruits and vegetables, use a carbon water filter to eliminate from drinking water, and opt out of using any chemical fertilizers and pesticides around your house and yard.
Aspartame and other artificial sweeteners
Sweeteners such as Sweet & Low, NutraSweet, Equal, Splenda, and the all-new Neotame can be found in yogurt, chewing gum, soft drinks, and other desserts. Your body does not recognize these substances and when it tries to metabolize the foreign elements it can result in various health problems. Toxic effects of synthetic sweeteners can include headaches, dizziness, seizures, vision impairment, and strokes - just to name a few. Aspartame is the most complained about additive in the history of the FDA. A common indicator that a product contains artificial sweeteners is with marketing such as "Sugar Free" or "Diet". However, it's always best to read labels in order to avoid. Sugar itself is not bad. Especially organic cane sugar in moderation, and is a much better alternative to artificial options.
MSG is a flavor enhancer commonly found in soups, snacks, salad dressings, seasonings, chips, and most Chinese food. This additive is categorized as an excitotoxin, which causes hyperactivity to brain cells as they try to communicate. They literally over stimulate the brain cells causing them to die. This additive has also been shown to cause side effects such as cancer, heart problems, obesity, learning and behavioral disorders, as well as many others. Unfortunately, MSG is harder to recognize on labels as it is disguised by a multitude of names. Best ways to avoid MSG: avoid fast foods, processed foods (even healthy types or labeled as No MSG), and avoid foods that contain a long ingredient list.
This additive is used in cured meats, lunchmeats, hot dogs, etc. As the meat is cooked, a carcinogenic compound is released that is highly associated with various cancers. Studies have shown that consumption of this chemical during pregnancy had children with higher risks for developing brain tumors. Nitrates were originally used to preserve meat and prevent botulism. But now, thanks to modern day refrigeration, it is used merely for appearance by offering a slightly red color in order to appeal to the customers. Nitrate free meats are available and you can find them at most health stores, or in some cases even request them from your local grocer.
It is extremely important for parents to educate themselves on the multitude of environmental toxins to limit the exposure to their unborn babies. Avoid processed food and eat local, organic, seasonal foods as often as possible. When babies are exposed to numerous toxic compounds in the womb it can damage the body and effect development, brain function, and reproduction. These chemicals can also impair the immune system and increase vulnerability to carcinogens and can lead to other diseases later in life. Eliminating these harmful substances can give your baby the best chance at a happy, healthy life.