Being a mom-to-be is exciting, and you might wonder about the foods you can eat. Let’s talk about something yummy: mozzarella cheese. Imagine a cozy meal with pizza and you thinking, ‘Can I have mozzarella while pregnant? Well, the good news is that mozzarella can indeed be enjoyed during pregnancy, as long as certain precautions are taken.
In this article on PregnancyBoss, we will explore the nutritional benefits of mozzarella for pregnant women, address any potential risks, and provide you with all the information you need to make informed decisions about including mozzarella in your pregnancy diet. So, let’s dive in and discover the wonders of mozzarella for expectant mothers!
Related: Can You Eat Kielbasa When Pregnant?
What is Mozzarella Cheese?
Mozzarella cheese is a soft, stringy cheese that belongs to the pasta filata family. It is a versatile cheese that is commonly used in Italian cuisine, particularly in dishes like pizza, lasagna, and Caprese salad. Mozzarella is known for its creamy texture and mild, fresh tang. It is made through a process called pasta filata, which involves kneading and pulling the cheese to create its distinctive texture.
Traditionally, mozzarella was made from the milk of water buffalos in Italy, giving it the name “buffalo milk mozzarella” or “Mozzarella di Bufalo”. However, nowadays, most mozzarella cheese is made from cow’s milk. The cheese is pure white in color and has a delicate, milky flavor. It is considered to be one of the healthier cheeses due to its low fat and sodium content.
The origins of mozzarella can be traced back to Southern Italy, particularly the regions of Campania and Sicily. It is believed that mozzarella was first made in the 1st century A.D., possibly by accident when cheese curds fell into hot water. Over time, mozzarella gained popularity and spread to other regions of Italy. Today, mozzarella is produced not only in Italy but also in other countries such as the United States, Australia, and Argentina.
Can You Eat Mozzarella While Pregnant?
Yes, you can eat mozzarella while pregnant as long as it is made from pasteurized milk. Pasteurization is a process that involves heating foods, including dairy products, to high temperatures to kill harmful bacteria. Mozzarella made from pasteurized milk is considered safe to consume during pregnancy, whether it is cooked or in its fresh, uncooked form. It is important to read food labels carefully to ensure that the mozzarella you purchase is made with pasteurized milk. If dining out, don’t hesitate to ask about the origins of the cheese to ensure it has been pasteurized.
What is the Nutritional Value of Mozzarella?
Mozzarella cheese is a nutritious food that is a good source of protein, calcium, and other essential nutrients. Here are some of the nutritional values of mozzarella cheese per 100 grams or 3.5 ounces:
- Calories: 72-300 kcal, depending on the type of mozzarella cheese
- Protein: 6.3-22.2 grams, depending on the type of mozzarella cheese
- Fat: 4.5-22.4 grams, depending on the type of mozzarella cheese
- Carbohydrates: 0.7-2.2 grams, depending on the type of mozzarella cheese
- Fiber: 0 grams
- Sugar: 0-1 gram, depending on the type of mozzarella cheese
- Calcium: 100-505 mg, depending on the type of mozzarella cheese
- Phosphorus: 100.5-354 mg, depending on the type of mozzarella cheese
- Vitamin B12: 38-95% of daily allowance, depending on the type of mozzarella cheese
- Vitamin A: 14% of daily allowance
- Vitamin K: 3% of daily allowance
It is important to note that the nutritional values of mozzarella cheese can vary depending on the type of cheese, such as whole milk or skim milk, and the brand.
Is Mozzarella pasteurized?
Mozzarella can be made from both pasteurized and unpasteurized milk, depending on where it is produced. However, in the United States, the FDA requires all producers making mozzarella to use pasteurized milk. Therefore, all commercially-produced mozzarella cheese in the USA is usually pasteurized. It is essential to read food labels carefully to ensure that the mozzarella you purchase is made with pasteurized milk.
What are the Pros and Cons of eating Mozzarella while Pregnant?
Pros of eating mozzarella while pregnant:
- Good source of calcium: Mozzarella is a great source of calcium, which is essential for the development of your baby’s bones and teeth.
- Good source of protein: Mozzarella is also a good source of protein, which is important for the growth and development of your baby.
- Delicious and versatile: Mozzarella can be enjoyed in various dishes, such as salads, sandwiches, and pizzas, adding flavor and texture to your meals.
Cons of eating mozzarella while pregnant:
- Risk of bacterial contamination: The main concern with eating mozzarella and other cheeses during pregnancy is the potential presence of harmful bacteria, such as listeria. However, if the mozzarella is made from pasteurized milk, which is the case for most store-bought mozzarella, the risk of bacterial contamination is significantly reduced.
- High in fat and calories: Depending on the type of mozzarella cheese, it can be relatively high in fat and calories. It is important to consume mozzarella in moderation as part of a balanced diet during pregnancy.
What other types of Cheese should be avoided during Pregnancy?
During pregnancy, it is best to avoid soft cheeses made from unpasteurized milk. These include cheeses such as Brie, Camembert, Roquefort, Feta, Gorgonzola, and Mexican style cheeses like Queso Blanco and Queso Fresco. All soft non-imported cheeses made with pasteurized milk are safe to eat. It is important to read food labels carefully to ensure that the cheese you purchase is made with pasteurized milk.
Additionally, it is best to avoid all mould-ripened soft cheeses with a white coating on the outside, such as brie, camembert, and chèvre, unless they are cooked until steaming hot. Blue cheeses such as Danish Blue, Gorgonzola, and Roquefort should also be avoided unless they are cooked until steaming hot.
How can you ensure that the Cheese you are eating is Safe during Pregnancy?
To ensure that the cheese you are eating is safe during pregnancy, you should follow these guidelines:
- Choose hard cheeses such as cheddar, Parmesan, and Swiss, as they are made from pasteurized milk and are safe to eat.
- Avoid soft cheeses made from unpasteurized milk, including Brie, Camembert, Roquefort, Feta, Gorgonzola, and Mexican style cheeses like Queso Blanco and Queso Fresco.
- Read food labels carefully to ensure that the cheese you purchase is made with pasteurized milk.
- If dining out, don’t hesitate to ask about the origins of the cheese to ensure it has been pasteurized.
- Avoid all mould-ripened soft cheeses with a white coating on the outside, such as brie, camembert, and chèvre, unless they are cooked until steaming hot.
- Blue cheeses such as Danish Blue, Gorgonzola, and Roquefort should also be avoided unless they are cooked until steaming hot.
- If you are unsure about the safety of a particular cheese, it is best to avoid it or consult with your doctor.
In conclusion, mozzarella cheese can be a safe and nutritious choice for pregnant women when consumed responsibly. Opt for pasteurized varieties, practice portion control, and enjoy mozzarella as part of a balanced diet. As with any dietary choices during pregnancy, it’s always a good idea to consult with your healthcare provider to ensure that you’re making the best decisions for your health and the health of your baby.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can I eat unpasteurized mozzarella while pregnant?
It is recommended to avoid unpasteurized cheeses during pregnancy, including unpasteurized mozzarella. These cheeses can potentially harbor harmful bacteria such as Listeria, which poses a risk to both the mother and the baby.
Is mozzarella a good source of calcium for pregnancy?
Yes, mozzarella can be a valuable source of calcium, which is crucial for the development of the baby’s bones, teeth, and muscles. Opt for pasteurized mozzarella and consume it as part of a balanced diet.
Can I include mozzarella in my pregnancy cravings?
Certainly! Mozzarella can be a satisfying addition to your pregnancy cravings, provided you choose pasteurized varieties and consume them in moderation. Consider pairing it with whole-grain crackers or adding it to a nutrient-rich salad for a tasty and nutritious treat.
Is it safe to consume melted mozzarella on pizzas?
Yes, thoroughly cooked mozzarella on pizzas or other dishes is safe to eat. Make sure it’s heated to an appropriate temperature to kill any potential bacteria.
Can i have mozzarella in salads?
Including mozzarella in salads with fresh vegetables can be a nutritious choice. Ensure the cheese is pasteurized and properly stored before consumption.
Are there any alternatives to mozzarella?
Yes, if you’re concerned about mozzarella, you can opt for pasteurized cheddar, Swiss, or cottage cheese. These alternatives provide similar nutrients without compromising safety.