Can You Eat Mozzarella When Pregnant?
Mozzarella is one of the best cheeses that you can eat. It contains proteins of high biological value and a lower lipid content than other dairy products. However, many women ask themselves if it’s safe to eat mozzarella when pregnant. The truth is, not all types of mozzarella can be eaten during pregnancy. We’re going to tell you everything you need to know.
Some cheeses can develop bacteria that are harmful to health, such as listeria. It’s especially harmful in the case of pregnant women, as it could put the integrity of the fetus at risk. Therefore, a series of precautions must be taken in this regard.
Where does mozzarella come from?
To determine whether or not a cheese can be consumed during pregnancy, its origin must be determined. In the case of mozzarella, the food is made from buffalo or cow’s milk. Here, the challenge is knowing if this ingredient has been subjected to a pasteurization process or not. In the event that it hasn’t gone through the heat treatment, its consumption must be avoided.
Normally, the labeling will indicate if the milk with which the product is made has been pasteurized. That way, it’s easy to distinguish if the food is suitable or not. If this express process doesn’t appear, then it’s best not to consume dairy, as it could cause problems for the health of the fetus.
The benefits of mozzarella in pregnancy
As we discussed, mozzarella stands out for its protein content. These nutrients are essential to ensuring the development and repair of tissues, as stated in a study published in the Annals of Nutrition & Metabolism . In addition, those found in dairy products are of high biological value, that is, they contain all the essential amino acids.
Its intake will help the fetus to evolve favorably, thus ensuring its growth. If a deficit in protein intake were to occur, health problems could be experienced for both the mother and the baby.
At the same time, mozzarella has a significant content of saturated fatty acids. Although these were thought to be harmful to cardiovascular health, they’ve now been proven to be healthy.
To finish, we must highlight the presence of calcium in food, which is key to ensuring the proper development of bone mass, as evidenced by research published in Nutrients. In addition, to promote its absorption, frequent exposure to sunlight will be necessary.
How to consume mozzarella in pregnancy
One of the positive aspects of mozzarella is that it can be consumed in a number of different ways during pregnancy. Once you’ve checked the label to verify that the milk has undergone a pasteurization process, it’s possible to add it to pasta, rice dishes, salads, and more.
It’s a cheese with a very mild flavor and high rubberiness and elasticity. Therefore, it can be part of a great multitude of different dishes. There are even different varieties on the market depending on their lactose content, so you can find products suitable for those who are intolerant to lactose.
The risks of consuming mozzarella
The only possible risk derived from the consumption of mozzarella in pregnancy, as long as it comes from pasteurized milk, is the increase in the energy value of the diet. It’s a food that provides a significant amount of calories, so if it’s not consumed in moderation, it could end up producing an unwanted weight gain that’s higher than normal.
In this regard, we recommend that you introduce it in the context of a balanced and varied diet, in addition to practicing light physical exercise on a regular basis.
Cheeses to avoid in pregnancy
Generally speaking, we recommend that all pregnant women avoid any cheese made with raw or unpasteurized milk. These products can contain harmful germs, which cause infections that affect the fetus and mother. Among the cheeses that should be avoided, the following stand out:
- Matured white cheeses
- Roquefort, gorgonzola and other blue cheeses
- Fresh and Burgos cheeses
For its part, it’s possible to make an exception with matured white cheeses. The only way to consume these products is if they’ve been previously cooked at high temperatures.
You can consume mozzarella when pregnant
As you’ve seen, it’s possible to safely consume mozzarella when pregnant, yes, as long as you pay attention to its nutritional labeling. It’s a food that’s capable of producing health benefits, both for the mother and the fetus.
We recommend that you combine this cheese with the consumption of other dairy products made from pasteurized milk. Yogurts, for example, are wonderful for preventing digestive problems and increasing the biodiversity of the microbiota. Kefir has also been shown to provide many beneficial nutrients.
All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.
- Centros para el Control y la Prevención de Enfermedades. Listeria (listeriosis). Junio 2017. Departamento de Salud de Estados Unidos.
- Food Data Center. Cheese, mozzarella, whole milk. U. S. Department of Agriculture. Abril 2019.
- Harvard T. H Chan. Types of fat. Harvard School of Public Health.
- NHS. Pregnancy Guide. Foods to avoid. Wales National Health Service.
- Richter M, Baerlocher K, Bauer JM, Elmadfa I, Heseker H, Leschik-Bonnet E, Stangl G, Volkert D, Stehle P; on behalf of the German Nutrition Society (DGE). Revised Reference Values for the Intake of Protein. Ann Nutr Metab. 2019;74(3):242-250. doi: 10.1159/000499374. Epub 2019 Mar 22. PMID: 30904906; PMCID: PMC6492513.
- Vannucci L, Fossi C, Quattrini S, Guasti L, Pampaloni B, Gronchi G, Giusti F, Romagnoli C, Cianferotti L, Marcucci G, Brandi ML. Calcium Intake in Bone Health: A Focus on Calcium-Rich Mineral Waters. Nutrients. 2018 Dec 5;10(12):1930. doi: 10.3390/nu10121930. PMID: 30563174; PMCID: PMC6316542.