Can You Eat Mozzarella Cheese While Pregnant?
The answer may surprise you: yes, Mozzarella cheese can be one of the many foods eaten by expectant mothers. A common misconception among pregnant women is that soft cheeses are off limits due to their high risk of being contaminated with listeria. However, Mozzarella is not a soft cheese; it’s actually considered a semi-soft cheese and can be safely eaten while pregnant!
Is Mozzarella a Soft Cheese?
Mozzarella is a soft cheese, meaning it has a pH level of 5.0 or lower, and is made from un-ripened curds. These characteristics—pH level and ripeness of the curd—make soft cheeses more likely to contain harmful bacteria, including L. monocytogenes (listeria).
Soft cheeses fall into two categories: fresh and aged, but the Consumer Safety Protection Agency refers only to fresh soft cheese when speaking about the risks of listeria for pregnant women. As we’ll see, this means that some soft cheeses are less risky than others, such as Mozzarella.
Can You Eat Mozzarella Cheese Raw/Uncooked?
Both raw and cooked mozzarella are edible. Uncooked mozzarella can be used to coat a dish in a delightful way, giving the dish a cheesy and creamy flavor. The most common usage of mozzarella on a pizza is as a topping. Then you may put any things you like underneath the melting mozzarella. You can prepare a tuna and mozzarella pizza, a smoked salmon pizza, or a traditional ham and egg pizza.
Uncooked mozzarella can also be used to top bruschetta, a delectable Italian sandwich commonly served as an antipasti. So the Sicilian bruschetta or the bruschetta with figs, Parma ham, and mozzarella will entice you. You may also use the mozzarella to top lasagna or gratinate a vegetable gratin, such as eggplants, tomatoes, or zucchini.
Mozzarella is a famous Italian cheese used in cuisine. This cheese, which is usually in the form of a white ball and is manufactured from buffalo or cow’s milk, can be eaten cold in salads like the famous caprese salad with dried tomatoes, in which the mozzarella is served with tomatoes, basil, and a drizzle of olive oil.
Is Mozzarella Cheese Pasteurized
Depending on where it comes from, mozzarella is not always pasteurized.
There’s no rule that says you can’t make mozzarella with raw, unpasteurized milk. Traditional Specialities Guarantee (TSG) is connected to mozzarella created in the European Union, however it simply states that it must be made ‘traditionally,’ not whether pasteurized milk should be used (source: Wikipedia).
This means that if you’re expecting a child, you need always make sure the mozzarella is made from pasteurized milk. Outside of Italy, the good news is that it almost always is.
Mozzarella is meant to be eaten as soon as feasible after it’s prepared, which is normally the next day. This is only feasible if you live in Italy or a neighboring nation with access to super-fresh produce.
If you’re eating mozzarella made outside of Italy or imported from Italy, it’s almost always prepared from pasteurized milk, either because national food standards require it or because of the transportation period.
What Happens If You Eat Unpasteurized Cheese While Pregnant?
Pregnant women are advised to stay away from unpasteurized cheeses. A bacteria called listeria can be found in unpasteurized cheese and cause serious illnesses like miscarriage, stillbirth, premature delivery, or life-threatening infections of the newborn. Listeria is a bacteria that can be found in soil and water throughout the world. It also lives naturally inside certain animals’ digestive tracts without harming them. This means it can also be passed on through eating raw animal products like sprouts, meats, poultry and seafoods.
Listeriosis is different from regular food poisoning because it can cross into the placenta (the organ that connects your baby to you) and harm your baby even if you don’t feel sick yourself! Listeriosis is more likely to happen when someone eats contaminated foods with high levels of listeria such as unpasteurized dairy products including feta cheese or soft blue-veined cheeses like Camembert or Brie. These kinds of cheeses have a higher risk for contamination because they’re made up mostly of milk proteins which provide listeria plenty of nutrients to grow on during storage at room temperature – so always check labels carefully before buying any kind!
The Risk of Eating Mozzarella Cheese
While pregnant, it’s wise to avoid eating cheeses that are unpasteurized and soft. This is because these types of cheese may contain listeria, which can cause listeriosis, a serious condition that can endanger your baby.
Unpasteurized cheeses are more common in European countries than in the United States. Mozzarella is considered a soft cheese if you’re unsure about the pasteurization of other items you buy from your local grocer or specialty food store.
Most cases of listeriosis occur during pregnancy. The bacteria that causes the disease is sometimes found in soil and water, on certain foods like unpasteurized milk or soft cheeses, and on raw vegetables; it can also be transmitted by unwashed hands and similar means. If the mother gets infected with listeria during pregnancy, she can pass the bacteria onto her unborn child through their blood stream or placenta—although humans usually don’t experience symptoms of the illness when they’ve been exposed to it (as opposed to bacteria such as E coli), this isn’t true for fetuses who are still developing and thus have weaker immune systems than adults do.
What Is Listeria?
Listeria is a type of bacteria found in soil, water, and some animals. Although it’s not harmful to humans and the live version can’t be contracted by healthy people, it becomes problematic when it’s present in food that we eat. When left untreated, listeria can cause a serious infection called listeriosis (a foodborne illness), which is especially dangerous for pregnant women and their babies.
However, most cases of this infection can be prevented. The best way to protect yourself and your growing baby is by avoiding foods that are high-risk for containing listeria while you’re pregnant—and Mozzarella cheese is one of them.
How Do You Know If You Have Listeria When Pregnant?
Listeria infection is hard to diagnose and can cause life-threatening complications. If you think you may have listeria, contact your doctor at once so they can investigate the best course of treatment. Because Listeriosis is a rare but serious infectious disease, some doctors may not be aware of it, or know to ask about it if you present with unusual symptoms. Note that Listeria infection during pregnancy usually presents as flu-like symptoms (though it doesn’t necessarily always) but also causes severe gastrointestinal upset and vomiting, which are not normally associated with flu or cold. If possible, see a doctor who specializes in treating pregnant women.”
Possible symptoms of Listeria include: fever, aches and pains, feeling tired/weak/a bit off colour/generally unwell; possibly gastrointestinal upset (diarrhoea or vomiting).
Can Listeria Always Cause Miscarriage?
As mentioned above, listeriosis can be devastating for a pregnant woman and her fetus. The infection causes approximately 200 deaths yearly in the United States (pediatrics), but about half of these occur in newborns or fetuses that are miscarried.
Listeriosis can cause miscarriage, stillbirth, preterm delivery and serious illness or death in newborn babies (healthline). The infection may also be fatal to the mother. In the article “Listeriosis,” Healthline reports that it is possible for a pregnant mother infected with listeriosis to pass on the bacteria to her baby through the placenta. Once an infant is born, he/she may develop a bloodstream infection or meningitis as a result of being exposed to listeria while in utero (Healthline).
Which Cheese Is Best to Eat When Pregnant?
If your favorite type of cheese isn’t on this list, don’t despair. There are still many other types of cheese that you can eat when pregnant. It’s just a good idea to avoid any soft cheeses that are unpasteurized and other fresh, unripened ones like feta, goat cheese, brie, camembert, blue-veined varieties and more. If you’re looking for some alternatives to Mozzarella cheese (like an oozy Mozzarella alternative), look no further. Here are some ideas:
- Swiss Cheese
- Monterey Jack
List of Cheeses to Avoid When Pregnant?
Cheese is a nutrient-dense food that can help you live a healthier life by lowering your chances of osteoporosis and heart disease. It can also help lower cholesterol levels, according to one study, thanks to minerals like calcium and vitamin K. Many people believe that cheese is high in fat, sodium, and calories, but after learning more about the nutritional breakdown of mozzarella cheese, you may reconsider.
Health Benefits of Mozzarella Cheese
Good source of protein
Every ounce of mozzarella, like other forms of cheese, contains roughly seven grams of protein, about the same as one ounce of cooked chicken. Protein is a nutrient that is found in every cell of the human body. It provides energy to your body and is required for cell growth and repair. Protein is also necessary for the production of hormones, enzymes, and antibodies, which help the immune system combat illnesses and infections.
Lower sodium than other cheese
If you’re attempting to cut your sodium intake, mozzarella may be the way to go. With 175 mg of salt per serving, mozzarella has nearly half the sodium of feta and parmesan in the same serving size. This amounts to about 8% of the daily recommended intake of 2,300 mg or less.
Sodium is necessary for the normal functioning of muscles and neurons, as well as an electrolyte for maintaining fluid equilibrium. Because salt is found in so many foods, choosing items with lower sodium content can help you avoid overdoing it. In the long run, too much sodium can cause water retention, high blood pressure, heart disease, and kidney damage.
Lower in saturated fat
When compared to other cheeses, mozzarella has a higher moisture level and a lower fat content. For the same serving size, it also has less saturated fat. Saturated fat consumption may raise the risk of heart disease.
Saturated fat should account for no more than 10% of total calories, according to current dietary standards. To put it another way, if you follow a 2,000-calorie diet, the saturated fat in one serving of mozzarella accounts for just over 1% of your total calories.
Contains nutrients for healthy bones and teeth
Cheese is high in calcium, phosphorous, and zinc, all of which are important for bone health. According to one study, cheese may also be beneficial to tooth health. The lower the pH in the oral cavity, the more likely you are to develop dental caries. According to this study, cheese may have anti-cavity qualities via raising the pH level of tooth plaque. These compounds may also adhere to the enamel in order to prevent cavities.
Promotes gut health
Lactobacillus casei and Lactobacillus fermentum are probiotic bacteria found in mozzarella cheese. Probiotics are beneficial to gut health and can aid with immune system support. Lactobacillus fermentum, in particular, has been associated to a lower incidence of respiratory infections and better blood cholesterol levels.
List Of Safe Mozzarella Brands
Some Mozzarella cheese brands that have been deemed safe for consumption during pregnancy include:
- Cowgirl Creamery
- Bellwether Farms
- The Cheese Guy
- Shepherd’s Way
- Cabot Creamery
Guidelines When It Comes to Eating Cheese While Pregnant
To keep yourself and your baby safe while pregnant, you should be careful when eating cheese. Here are some guidelines to follow:
- Make sure the cheese is pasteurized. If unsure, ask someone where you’re buying the cheese from.
- Avoid soft cheeses that are not pasteurized. Examples of these cheeses include: brie, camembert, feta and blue vein cheeses.
- Avoid any cheese made with unpasteurized milk as it can contain dangerous bacteria for your unborn child.
- Avoid any cheese that has a blue or green mold on it such as roquefort or stilton. This doesn’t mean you should avoid all hard cheeses as there are some varieties without this type of mold such as parmesan which is considered safe to eat during pregnancy because they have been aged for long periods of time which kills bacteria in the process but it does mean that certain soft ones like goat’s milk feta will still be unsafe due to their soft texture and high moisture content making them more susceptible to spoilage.”
In short, Mozzarella cheese is safe to eat during pregnancy if it is made from pasteurized milk. If you are buying Mozzarella from the market, make sure it has a label stating it’s made from pasteurized milk. If you are eating out, check with the restaurant whether their Mozzarella is made from pasteurized milk or not. Although cheese is an important part of a healthy diet, eating certain kinds of cheese during pregnancy can put you and your baby at risk. Fortunately, it’s easy to tell which cheeses are safe and which should be avoided.
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