Why Eating Chinese Food During Pregnancy Is A Strict No No

Despite all the friction with our northern neighbor, we have an enduring love for Chinese cuisine. Yes, if anything can break barriers for us Indians, it’s food! While most of us like experimenting with cuisines from different parts of India and the world, Chinese food remains the perennial favorite, so if you happen to be pregnant and are craving a bowl of Schezwan Fried Rice or Chicken Manchurian, you’re not alone.

This begs the question, is it safe to eat Chinese food during pregnancy?

Health Concerns About Eating Chinese Food During Pregnancy

“The heavy use of salt in Chinese food can elevate sodium levels, contributing to problems of water retention or edema, which worsens your condition if you already have pregnancy complications like preeclampsia”

Looking at China’s booming population, it should be fairly obvious that their diet hasn’t really had any adverse impact on reproduction or child bearing. That said, the Chinese food you get at eateries, especially the desi Chinese food that we devour, is pretty far removed from traditional Chinese fare. This does pose some health concerns, most of which boil down to the liberal use of sugar and salts in various sauces and vinegar preparations. Dieticians strongly warn against the excessive intake of sodium and trans fats when on a pregnancy diet. The heavy use of salt in Chinese food can elevate sodium levels, contributing to problems of water retention or edema, worsening your condition if you already have pregnancy complications like preeclampsia.

In addition, seafood, which is a prominent feature of Chinese cuisine, can pose certain risks because of high mercury levels in dishes like Shark Fin soup. Spicy dishes and sauces can also exacerbate gastric problems and pregnancy symptoms like diarrhea. Of course, the single biggest concern about eating Chinese food in India is the presence of Ajinomoto.

Some reports also link MSG intake during pregnancy with neurobehavioral disorders like autism and cerebral palsy in the child, later in life.”

Ajinomoto In Chinese Food

“The addition of Ajinomoto to Chinese food makes it dangerous, as the excitotoxin is believed to pose a risk to fetal development of the brain and nervous system”

Ajinomoto has single-handedly tarnished the reputation of Chinese food, as the ingredient was liberally used across the sub-continent, particularly in Indian Chinese food. Ajinomoto is actually the name of a Japenese brand that produces and markets food flavorings like MSG or monosodium glutamate. In India, Ajinomoto came to be synonymous with MSG, which is often added to food at commercial establishments to increase palatability by enhancing flavors.

The addition of Ajinomoto to Chinese food makes it dangerous, as the excitotoxin is believed to pose a risk to fetal development of the brain and nervous system. Some sources also suggest that artificial sweeteners and MSG, which are frequently used in food can easily cross the placental barrier, over stimulating your unborn baby’s brain. Some reports also link MSG intake during pregnancy with neurobehavioral disorders like autism and cerebral palsy in the child, later in life.

What Do You Do If You’re Craving Chinese Food?

“Since many eateries in India that serve Chinese food use artificial flavoring ingredients, including Ajinomoto or MSG, it would simply be best to avoid eating Chinese food out

While all of this information makes the idea of eating Chinese food while pregnant pretty scary, we do understand that controlling pregnancy food cravings can be really tough! Since many eateries in India that serve Chinese food use artificial flavoring ingredients, including Ajinomoto or MSG, it would simply be best to avoid eating Chinese food out.

Home cooked Chinese meals are a much safer alternative, but once again make sure to only use natural products that do not contain MSG. Also remember to eat in moderation and try to opt for healthier choices like steamed dumplings or rice and wantons, instead of a bowl of fried rice and chicken lollypops!

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