Medical And nutrition experts say there is no scientific evidence to suggest that eating spicy foods during pregnancy is dangerous and could lead to blindness in babies.
According to them, no study has yet linked blindness in children to the consumption of spicy foods during pregnancy.
However, they said that eating spicy foods could predispose pregnant women to the risk of heartburn, especially those who had ulcers before conception.
Speaking in an interview with PUNCH HealthWise, one of the experts and a professor of public health nutrition, Professor Ignatius Onimawo, said that it is not true that consuming spicy food during pregnancy causes blindness in babies.
The myth suggests that spicy foods eaten during pregnancy can burn the baby’s eyes and cause blindness.
Professor Onimawo, former Vice Chancellor of Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, Edo State, said: “It is pure fallacy. There is no research to support that kind of claim. I am not aware of any spices that pregnant women should avoid. But I can say that eating spices is a bit more cultural.
“There are some people who eat a lot of spices but others don’t. They don’t like it because of the way a person is brought up.”
The don said he was not aware of any spicy foods that are contraindicated in pregnancy.
Prof. Onimawo, Past President of the Nigerian Nutrition Society, pointed out that drugs and alcohol are the things that are contraindicated in pregnancy and have harmful effects on the fetus and not spicy foods.
The nutritionist, however, urged pregnant women to eat healthy and consume more fruits and vegetables.
According to the US Food and Drug Administration, food safety is vital for everyone, but especially for pregnant women, their unborn babies, and children under the age of five.
An online portal, BabyCenter, says that spicy foods are safe during pregnancy.
“Yes, spicy foods are safe for you and your baby when you are pregnant. They certainly aren’t part of the long list of foods to avoid when you’re pregnant.
“Many people (wrongly) believe that eating spicy food is dangerous, whether you are pregnant or not. Is not true! Spicy foods are safe, although your taste buds and digestive system may not always do well in the heat,” the center said.