Pani puri is made of rawa (semolina) mashed potato, tamarind, mint, chickpeas and a lot of spices. Spices are the heart of Indian cuisine but during pregnancy and breastfeeding, it should be ensured their intake is within limits. It is important to take care of one’s diet during this period as the nature of the food you eat directly affects the foetus and the quality of milk in your breasts. It is advisable to be extremely cautious of the food one consumes during pregnancy and lactation to ensure the health of the baby.
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Pani Puri: Ingredients And Their Effects On The Body
The puri of Pani puri is made of rawa or suji which is semolina and it is mixed with maida or plain flour. It is prepared by frying flattened semolina dough in oil. During serving it is stuffed with spicy mashed potato, chickpeas, and pudina water. According to sources, one plate of Pani puri, which consists of 6 puris consists of 475 calories or 12.5g of fat. This is due to the potato, flour, semolina, chickpeas/moong and jaggery that is used in it.
Pani puri contains very high spice content which gives it the tangy taste for which we love it. Spices like cumin seeds, coriander leaves, chilli powder are used. The water in the puri is made of pudina and/or tamarind.
Spices are not good for health when consumed in high concentrations. They may cause digestion and other problems in stomach. Many spices irritate the lining of oesophagus thus causing heartburns. They also increase the acid reflux in the stomach. Too much intake of Pani puri should be avoided. Spices and chilli also cause rise in the body temperature.
The main issue in the Pani puri is not the ingredients, but the hygiene of the vendor. In almost all of the cases, it is the unhygienic condition in which the street vendors prepare the dish that casts harmful effect on the body. Most importantly, the water of the puri in Pani puri can be pernicious to the health, because it may be taken from unhygienic sources and may be untreated. And since the water is directly used, it may be very harmful.
Pani Puri During Pregnancy
Spicy food would be very difficult to avoid in the places like in India where it is a norm. They are not unhealthy if taken in appropriate quantities. And pregnancy stimulates cravings for tangy, sour, spicy food in women.
One can eat Pani puri in pregnancy only after ensuring that it is prepared in hygienic conditions. During pregnancy, the immune system changes as the protection of the foetus is the priority. It is recommended to eat at well-known, reputed cafes and strictly avoid street food during pregnancy. In fact, the ideal way would be to take food prepared at home and the packaged food during pregnancy.
[Read more: Pani Puri During Pregnancy: Is It Safe For The Baby]
Pani Puri While Breastfeeding
Taking care of what you consume in the lactation period is no less important because the type of food you consume affects the milk produced. Hot and cooked food is preferable than eating cold or raw food items.
It is advisable to avoid very oily, salty, tangy and hot food during breastfeeding. Many foods are responsible to cause colic (severe pain in the abdomen) in the breastfed babies. A significant change in your diet would alter the taste of the milk and it will be noticeable in your baby’s behaviour or health. S/he may start feeling discomfort and cry inconsolably.
Pani puris are not usually of any harm for the breastfed baby unless it is prepared in a clean environment with properly sterilised ingredients which are in proportion. But specifically, every baby is different and there can be allergies, food aversions and sensitivities towards certain stuff in case of yours. However, if you are eating Gupchups during lactation, watch for the following symptoms that shows the effect on your baby as a warning sign to stop taking it immediately:
‣ Crying more than usual
‣ Bowel movements; mucus in bowels
‣ Difficulty in feeding
‣ Unexplained discomfort in sleeping
Some babies may be sensitive to the chillies in your food. If you are aware of this, then you can take Gupchups without chilli if the rest of the ingredients are okay with him/her. Also, though Pani puri do not cause any specific harm during lactation, it is not good to take too much of it or very frequently during the period.
The main thing about health aspects of Pani puri on breastfeeding and nursing mothers is the hygiene. Is should be ensured that the Pani puris are prepared at a clean place under proper conditions. More than other street foods, Pani puri requires more cautions because it comprises direct use of water while in almost all other dishes water is used during cooking and so it gets boiled and treated, thus much less likely cause infections. Water in the Pani puri in always normal and if untreated, it may be lead to severe stomach infections and diseases. Moreover, stalls on roads and streets, which are open, may be very healthy for food preparation.
Majority of diseases are communicated to the babies while breastfeeding because the infections spreads to the milk as well. Also, as nursing mother, if you get food-poisoning, then it may affect your baby’s health as in most cases one gets fever during which you can’t breastfeed. So the most favourable option is to prepare the Golgappas at home both for the hygiene and also to control the quantity, quality and proportion of the ingredients according to the sensitiveness of your baby.
Following points can be kept in mind if you are going for Pani puris while breastfeeding your baby:
If you are using toppings like green chillies, coriander leaves, mint, onions, lemon juice or any other thing in your Pani puri, then make sure that they are properly washed or ozone-treated. If these options are not available, then it won’t be wise to use them.
Stick to safe drinking water. Do not compromise with drinking water at any cost. Most of the diseases thought to be transmitted from food are actually water-borne, occurring by the means of untreated drinking water and water in Pani puri can turn out to be a culprit in this.
Chutneys, toppings, snacks, salt, sprinklers and other things used in Golgappas should never be left in open as they are in many cases with street vendors or the roadside stall.
When eating outside, make sure that you are at a good place. Look for good, reputed restaurants where the utensils are clean, the staff are neatly dressed, the food is covered, there are no flies and mosquitos and there is proper hygiene.
Chaat, Other Street Foods And Junk Foods
The above cautionary measures are applicable for Chaat and other street foods as well. As for junk food, too much oil should be avoided. Most of the street and junk food are rich in garlic. Garlic is a galactogogue and is known to increase milk production in the breasts. A significant quantity of garlic in your food confers the milk special taste and/or smell in the milk. Garlic actually have been observed to result in longer feeding time during lactation.
In pregnancy and breastfeeding, you are required to take extraordinary care of what you eat and how you eat. Anything which is not good for our health but we do not pay much attention and consume anyway should be avoided. Safe drinking water should be taken care of and hygiene is not to be compromised at any price.