Choosing vegetables and fruits in pregnancy: do without

Choosing vegetables and fruits in pregnancy: do without chemistry 0

Nutrition of pregnant women

Choosing vegetables and fruits in pregnancy: do without chemistry

The variety of fruits and vegetables that has been steadily remaining in recent years on our shelves in winter and summer can not but rejoice. However, the abundance of information about the ambiguous use of imported fruits and vegetables makes us once again think about what to choose: an exotic, but almost native banana or a domestic, not very pretty apple?

Natalia Batsukova Nutritionist, Minsk

Particular attention should be paid to the choice of fruits and vegetables during pregnancy, when the condition and development of the baby largely depend on the nutrition of the woman. What is the difference between domestic and imported fruits and vegetables?

Domestic fruits and vegetables can be easily distinguished from imported ones in appearance: our and small ones, and seemingly often unpretentious. But if it's a tomato - it smells like a tomato, and it tastes like watery, but quite "tomato". If the strawberry, it is also fragrant and sweet, although not as attractive as the "guests" from abroad - smooth, bright, enviable, but the taste of most of them is far from expected.

The reason is this: to deliver perishable fruits over a long distance, they need to be protected from bacteria, fungi and other "enemies". Surely you noticed that imported fruit for a long time does not deteriorate. What allows them to "keep youth" for such a long time? It turns out that in order to protect imported fruits and vegetables from spoilage and to extend shelf life in the modern food industry, approved food additives are used. And let each treatment pass without exceeding the norms, but some of the chemicals on fruits and vegetables still remain in the skin and the surface layers of the pulp.

What kind of food additives can be processed by imported fruits and vegetables?

Antioxidants (antioxidants, oxidation inhibitors) - slow down the process of oxidation of food, protecting fruits, vegetables and processed products (mashed potatoes and juices) from darkening.

Protective gases or gas mixtures - protect the food product in the period of bunker storage of vegetables and fruits from temperature and humidity changes, slow down the ripening during transportation and prolong the period of their storage. 

Preservatives - substances that inhibit the development of microorganisms, and therefore, they prevent the rotting of fruits. 

Bleaching agents (bleaching agents) - is used to ensure that the chopped frozen vegetables and fruits do not darken as a result of enzymatic oxidation reactions. These processes are activated by accessing oxygen from air to plant cells, when the fruit is cut (for example, remember how dark the apple is on the cut). So, these bleaches prevent and eliminate unwanted darkening.

Acidity regulators - substances that establish and maintain a certain pH in the food product, which also contributes to the prolongation of the shelf life of the fruit.

In imported fruits and vegetables, one chemistry?

And now let's understand what effect these or other chemical additives have on the organism of the future mother. Are they all harmful or are there harmless substances that can be used without fear? For example, consider the most common chemical additives in vegetables and fruits.


Без обработки плоды созревают, а затем перезревают и портятся из-за естественного выделения ими этилена. Этот газ ускоряет их созревание. Около 10 лет назад американские ученые придумали, как остановить этот процесс. Они синтезировали соединение 1-methylcyclopropene (1-МЦП) – вещество, которым обрабатывают импортные фрукты и овощи, чтобы они дольше хранились. И именно при обработке плодов этим газом в них блокируется выделение этилена и  затормаживается их порча. И тогда производители успешно могут доставить такой товар издалека на прилавки наших магазинов. 

What is dangerous? According to some information, it can have a distant carcinogenic effect.

Thiabendazole (Е233)

Currently, many imported fruits and vegetables are immediately processed before processing with another substance - thiabendazole, which also prevents premature ripening of imported vegetables and fruits and protects them from fungal infections. Processing with this substance allows bananas to be stored for a month, and for imported apples - up to 2 years! 

What is dangerous? May cause nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, diarrhea, dizziness, headache, abdominal pain, icteric staining of the eyes and skin (sign of liver damage).


But right before selling green bananas, brown tomatoes are treated with ethylene, so they are more likely to ripen. This procedure is carried out in special chambers for gassing before the delivery of fruits to the store or to the market. 

What is dangerous? It should be noted that this will not bring any harm to the organism of the future mother. Ethylene gas itself is considered harmless, however, and vitamins in "gas" fruits are much less than in those that ripen in the natural conditions in the sun. Yes, and the taste of these fruits are grassy, ​​so that in general, the benefits of such fruits and vegetables during pregnancy will be very little. 

Sulfur dioxide (E220)

This substance is used immediately for several purposes: as a preservative, antioxidant, bleach and color stabilizer. This gas is processed fresh imported fruits and berries - grapes, peaches, apricots - to preserve the color of the fruit and to extend the shelf life. 

What is dangerous? It can provoke diseases of the gastrointestinal tract and allergic reactions in a pregnant woman, which, of course, can not but affect the state of the developing fetus.

Esters of glycerin and resin acids (E445)

Effects on the body: when removing the skin from citrus, after a preliminary thorough washing with a brush under running water, no adverse effects on the body of the pregnant woman do not have.

Waxes (E901-905, E908-910)

Waxes give the fruit and vegetables a glossy, beautiful look. Used for surface treatment of fresh citrus fruits, melons, pineapples, peaches, pears, apples.

What is dangerous? In case of poor processing, fruit (if not thoroughly washed before cleaning) can cause allergic reactions.


Used for processing imported apples and pears to protect from rind rind.

What is dangerous? If imported apples and pears are washed thoroughly with a brush under running water, they will not have a negative effect on the pregnant woman's body.

Difenil (E230)

Applied in order to prevent the appearance of mold on citrus and imported apples.

What is dangerous? May cause allergic reactions, nausea and vomiting, suppress the activity of the central nervous system and contribute to the development of skin diseases. There is evidence of a carcinogenic effect of diphenyl.

How to choose fruits and vegetables during pregnancy?

Try to choose fruits and vegetables during pregnancy from a nearby region (and even better, from your garden): when domestic fruits and vegetables are transported for short distances, there is no need to further process them. 

If you buy products on the market, you can always ask the seller to cut the fruit in half, and pay attention to the color and smell. The color should be uniform throughout the surface on the cut (which indicates the natural ripening of the fruit, without stimulants), and the smell should match the type of product and not have a chemical shade.

Do not buy glossy (as if polished) to look at imported fruits and vegetables.

Choose fruits of medium size (to limit yourself from the additional impact of plant growth stimulants, in particular, nitrogenous fertilizers that increase the size of the fruit).

To preserve the maximum of useful substances, you need to clean the fruit and vegetables with a stainless steel knife. This will avoid oxidation of water-soluble vitamins and minerals. 

Without any guarantees By the way, if you buy domestic fruit and vegetables during their growing season (as a rule, this is summer-autumn), then, most likely, they are not treated with chemicals for storage stability. But if you decide to buy the same fruits and vegetables in winter and early spring, they, like import imported ones, can already be treated with chemicals allowing storage of the product (waxes, preservatives, etc.) to be stored before storage. Unfortunately, due to external signs, it is difficult to understand whether fruits and vegetables were processed with chemicals. This information can be obtained only if the seller (according to your requirement, of course) provides a certificate of compliance (or a safety certificate). On the labels, you will not find any information about this either, unfortunately.

Processed or "live" - ​​how to define?

There are several indirect features that make it possible to understand whether the product was chemically treated. For example, a sticky, oily and slippery skin. And if this fruit is put in water, an oil film forms on its surface.  

In addition, vegetables (onions, potatoes, radishes, etc.) can be treated additionally with anti-growth chemicals so that they do not germinate. Therefore, in the winter, try to pay attention to the "eyes" when buying potatoes - if they are closed ("dead"), then, most likely, the vegetable has been processed. 

And when you choose onion, radish, beetroot - see that in the box came sprouted fruit, this will mean that this batch of vegetables was not processed by anti-growth substances.

3 ways to reduce harmful effects 

Agree that often we do not know whether fruits and vegetables were processed by chemicals or not. After all, such information is not indicated on the labels. Therefore, in order to reduce the potential harm from such fruits, the following measures can be taken:

  1. Pre-soak vegetables and fruits for an hour in cold water. At the same time, all water-soluble chemicals in the surface layers will be released into the water. And only then thoroughly wash the fruit with a brush under running water, and then douse them with boiling water. This rule applies to those fruits from which, before consumption, peel the skin, for example, citrus fruits. So, oranges are often treated with diphenyl so that they do not rot. This substance has no color, smell and taste, and therefore people do not see and do not feel it and quite often do not wash the fruit before removing the peel. Diphenyl remains on the fingers, and we safely eat it along with the juicy pulp. A zest of such fruits for pies and jam it is better not to use. 
  2. Berries and greens soak in cold water for 15 minutes, then rinse with running water and pour with boiling water.
  3. Wash fruits and vegetables during pregnancy is best to use immediately after washing - do not need to wash them for future use. This is due to the fact that with such a deep wash there is a partial loss of nutrients, and if the fruit is still lying down, then from the benefit of such a product there will be nothing left. 

These multi-way precautions can only be neglected when your "checked" fruits and vegetables grow in your garden. In this case, rinsing the fruit under running water, you can eat it and with the skin. In fact under it there is a bulk of vitamins.