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Seven kinds of food you should avoid while pregnant

Chinese crullers may be the ideal breakfast pastry to go with porridge and soy milk, but you should avoid them when you're pregnant. Crullers made from commercial baking powders contain a chemical substance known as alum. Eating two crullers per day is equivalent to consuming 3 grams of alum. You may be unknowingly ingesting aluminium, which can pass through the placenta to the foetus, and hinder brain development.

You may think that saccharin and sugar are both the same, but while sugar is extracted from sugar cane and beet, saccharin is refined from coal tar and has no nutritional value. Avoid products that contain saccharin, such as artificial sweeteners, drinks, candies, and biscuits. Too much saccharin in your body may cause indigestion, hampering the ability of your gastrointestinal tract to absorb essential nutrients. Furthermore, a build-up of saccharin has been linked to kidney damage.

Hot Spices
Go easy on hot spices, which include star anise, fennel, Szechuan pepper, chilli powder, cinnamon, pepper and five-spice powder. During pregnancy, your intestines are relatively more dehydrated. Hot spices are heaty and stimulating, which can cause dryness to the intestinal tracts, constipation and bowel obstruction.

Take less than 20 grams of salt (sodium chloride) daily, because too much salt can cause swelling (edema) and high blood pressure. If you're suffering from heart and kidney-related diseases, or pregnancy induced hypertension, you should avoid eating salt, or switch to low-sodium salt from the start of pregnancy.

Acidic Foods
Many pregnant mothers are drawn to acidic foods to ease early pregnancy discomforts such as nausea and headaches, while some go to greater lengths by abusing acidic drugs like aspirin or Vitamin C. Frankly, it's best to cut down on acidic foods and avoid acidic drugs completely, especially during the first two weeks of pregnancy as recent researches have shown that these may cause birth defects in babies.

Salted Fish
Stay off from salted fish, as it may contain cancer-causing (carcinogenic) nitrosamines, a by-product of curing fish with sodium nitrite. These substances can pass through the placenta and induce non-hereditary congenital malformations, affecting the growing foetus.