Cheese during pregnancy: 5 free tips. Do you love cheese but don’t know if you can eat it during pregnancy? Don’t worry, in this post we are going to tell you everything you need to know about cheese during pregnancy: what types of cheese you can eat, which ones you should avoid and why.
We had previously published related posts such as: Burrata Cheese During Pregnancy; Gorgonzola cheese and pregnancy; Yes to pecorino cheese during pregnancy?; Grana Padano Cheese During Pregnancy. As you can see, we are no strangers to the subject at all and we are going for more.
Cheese is a very nutritious and beneficial food for health, especially for pregnant women. Cheese provides calcium, protein, vitamins and minerals that are essential for the development of the baby and to keep the bones and teeth of the mother in good condition. In addition, cheese is a source of probiotics, which are beneficial bacteria that help regulate intestinal flora and prevent infections.
Is it safe?
However, not all cheeses are safe during pregnancy. Some cheeses may contain bacteria called listeria monocytogenes, which can cause a serious condition called listeriosis. Listeriosis can lead to miscarriages, premature births, or infections in the newborn. Therefore, it is very important to avoid cheeses that may be contaminated with listeria.
Listeriosis is a serious disease that can be contracted by eating food contaminated with the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes. One of the foods that may be contaminated is cheese, especially fresh or soft cheese made from unpasteurized milk. Listeria can survive in raw milk and grow in cheese during its brewing or storage process. Some examples of cheeses that may be contaminated are fresh cheese, quesillo, cottage cheese or ricotta.
Symptoms of listeriosis may include fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle pain, and stiff neck. In some cases, the infection can cause serious complications such as meningitis, septicemia, or miscarriage. People most at risk for listeria are pregnant women, older adults, and people with weakened immune systems.
To prevent listeriosis, it is recommended to avoid consuming cheeses made with unpasteurized milk or that do not indicate on their label that they are made with pasteurized milk. You should also wash well fruits and vegetables that may be contaminated and cook meats and sausages thoroughly. In addition, good hygiene should be maintained in the kitchen and surfaces and utensils that have been in contact with potentially contaminated food should be disinfected.
Listeriosis is a disease that can be treated with antibiotics if diagnosed early. Therefore, if it is suspected that contaminated cheese has been consumed or if symptoms compatible with the infection occur, you should go to the doctor as soon as possible to receive the appropriate treatment.
How do you know which cheeses are safe and which are not?
The key is in the process of pasteurization of milk. Pasteurization is a heat treatment that removes bacteria and other harmful microorganisms from milk. Cheeses made from pasteurized milk are safe for pregnant women, while cheeses made from raw milk may contain listeria.
In general, soft or fresh cheeses are more at risk of being contaminated with listeria than hard or cured cheeses, as they have more moisture and less acidity. However, the type of milk is more important than the type of cheese. Therefore, you should always read the label of the cheese and check if it is made with pasteurized milk or not.
You can eat
According to the Spanish Agency for Food Safety and Nutrition (AESAN), these are the cheeses you can eat during pregnancy, as long as they are made with pasteurized milk:
Fresh cheeses are those that do not undergo any curing or maturation process. They are made with pasteurized milk (cow, sheep, goat, buffalo …) to which rennet is added to coagulate the proteins and separate them from the whey. Fresh cheese is obtained after pressing the coagulated dough for less than 24 hours.
Fresh cheeses have a white color, a soft, moist texture and a mild, slightly acidic taste. They retain much of the water in milk, so they have a lower fat and calorie content than cured or semi-cured cheeses. They are a good source of protein, calcium and phosphorus, and are recommended for children and athletes.
There are many types of fresh cheeses depending on the origin of the milk, the elaboration process or the addition of other ingredients such as cream, salt or aromatic herbs. Some examples are burrata, mascarpone, ricotta, cottage cheese, Burgos cheese, quark, mozzarella or feta. Fresh cheeses can be consumed alone or accompanied by fruits, jams, honey or nuts. They can also be used to prepare salads, creams, sauces, desserts or fillings.
Semi-mature cheeses are those that have gone through a maturation process of between 30 days and three months, which gives them a balanced flavor, neither as soft as fresh or tender cheese, nor as strong as mature or aged cheese.
They are made mainly with sheep’s milk, although they can also be cow’s or goat’s, and are characterized by having a hard paste and a natural and edible crust. Some examples of semi-cured cheeses are manchego, idiazábal, mahón or gouda. They are cheeses that provide quality proteins, calcium, phosphorus and vitamin D, but they also have a high content of fat and sodium, so it is recommended to consume them in moderation. Semi-mature cheeses are ideal to accompany with bread, nuts, jams or honey, and also to gratin or melt in different recipes.
Mature cheeses are those that have gone through a maturation process that gives them a more intense flavor and a firmer texture. Some examples of mature cheeses are manchego, parmesan, gouda or cheddar. These cheeses can be enjoyed alone or accompanied by bread, nuts, jams or wine. Mature cheeses are a source of protein, calcium and vitamins, and also bring a touch of flavor and aroma to any dish.
Grated cheeses are those that are cut into small pieces or crumbled with a grater or a special machine. There are many types of grated cheeses, from the softest and creamiest to the strongest and cured. Some of the most popular are Parmesan, Cheddar, Mozzarella, Emmental and Manchego.
Each has its own characteristics and culinary uses. For example, Parmesan is ideal for sprinkling on pasta or salad, cheddar to melt into a sauce or au gratin over lasagna, mozzarella to make a pizza or a caprese salad, emmental to fill a sandwich or croque monsieur and manchego to accompany a good wine or Iberian ham. Grated cheeses are very versatile and you can use them to create delicious and original recipes.
Sliced cheeses are cheeses that are cut into thin slices to facilitate their consumption and use in different recipes. There are many types of sliced cheeses, from the most classic such as mature cheese, gouda cheese or havarti cheese, to the most original such as cheddar cheese, Monterrey jack cheese or provolone cheese.
Sliced cheeses are very versatile and can be eaten alone, in sandwiches, in salads, in gratins or in appetizers such as cheese lollipops. Sliced cheeses are made with 100% natural ingredients and are preserved in practical and convenient packaging. Sliced cheeses are a delight for cheese lovers and an easy and quick way to enjoy their flavor and properties.
Processed cheeses are those that are made from other cheeses and an emulsifier is added so that they melt easily and have a creamy and smooth texture. Some of the most popular melted cheeses are fontina, gouda, gruyere and provolone, which you can use to make delicious fondues, raclettes, provoletas or quesadillas.
You can also find melted cheeses with other ingredients such as chorizo, ham or herbs, which give it an extra flavor and a different touch. Melted cheeses are perfect to accompany bread, nachos, vegetables or meats, and are ideal to share with friends or family.
You should not eat, to avoid, forbidden
These are the cheeses you should avoid during pregnancy, if the label does not say that they are made with pasteurized milk:
- Fresh or soft cheeses (such as brie, camembert or roquefort).
- Mature or semi-cured cheeses (such as Parmesan, Manchego or Gouda).
- Blue cheeses (such as cabrales, gorgonzola or Danish).
- Moldy cheeses (such as blue cheese) even if they are made with pasteurized milk, as they can become contaminated after the pasteurization process.
- Artisanal or homemade cheeses if you do not know if they are made with pasteurized milk or not.
What is pasteurized milk?
I think it is important to point out this concept to finish, but it does not mean that it is a minor issue, it is only to fully dimension the context of what has been indicated.
It is a type of milk that has been subjected to a thermal process to eliminate microorganisms that can cause diseases or alter its quality.
Pasteurization consists of heating the milk to a temperature of between 72 and 85 °C for a few seconds and then cooling quickly. This treatment does not significantly affect the nutritional value or taste of milk, but it does improve its safety and preservation. Pasteurized milk can be consumed directly or used to make other dairy products such as yogurt, cheese or butter.
Conclusion: Cheese during pregnancy
As you can see, you can enjoy cheese during pregnancy as long as you keep these recommendations in mind. Cheese is a delicious and healthy food that will bring many benefits to you and your baby. Don’t give up the pleasure of cheese!
Read also: Milk and uric acid;
External resource: wikipedia