Is Deli Meat Safe During Pregnancy?
It can be confusing to know what food to consume when you’re pregnant. Deli meat is often viewed as a mealtime staple, but is it safe to eat while pregnant?
Risks Of Eating Deli Meat While Pregnant
Deli meats can be a source of two dangerous infections, listeria and toxoplasmosis, which can be passed on to a baby in utero. Both can cause health complications and even birth defects. The risk of infection is increased when eating deli meat that has been:
- Not heated up
- Not stored at the correct temperature (generally below 5°C)
- Not eaten after the prescribed use-by date
Staying Safe When Eating Deli Meats While Pregnant
There are a number of precautions you can take to ensure your safety when it comes to consuming deli meats while pregnant:
- Cook it – Cook deli meats until the internal temperature reaches 75°C before eating to kill off any infectious agents.
- Store it – Store deli meats in the fridge or freezer immediately after opening and consume before the use-by date.
- Check it – Discard any deli meats that have a funny smell, a slimy texture or a change of colour.
Healthy Alternatives to Deli Meat While Pregnant
If you are pregnant and concerned about the risks of deli meats, these healthy alternatives can help ensure you’re still getting the vitamins and nutrition you need from your food:
- Fish – Fish, also known as ‘brain food’, is an excellent source of high quality protein, iron, Omega-3 fatty acids, zinc, B vitamins and more.
- Eggs – Eggs are rich in protein, choline and B vitamins, and if your eggs are organic, they’re packed with more omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins.
- Nuts and seeds – Nuts and seeds are great sources of protein. They also provide a range of vitamins such as A, C and B-complex vitamins as well as minerals like zinc, magnesium and iron.
In conclusion, it is generally safe to eat deli meat while pregnant if it meets the criteria mentioned above. It is recommended that you cook deli meats properly before eating and store them correctly to minimise risk of infection. While deli meats are a tasty snack or meal ingredient, it is a good idea to also include other protein sources such as fish, eggs, nuts and seeds as part of a balanced diet.
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