Who doesn’t crave cheese while pregnant? Probably everyone does. But which cheese is safe to eat while pregnant? Can we have pimento cheese? If you have the same question, this is the post for you!
Before we get to the answer on its safety, let’s first define pimento cheese and how is it made.
What is Pimento Cheese And How Is It Made?
In the Southern states of the USA, pimento cheese is a beloved treat. Pimiento cheese is a spread made with mayonnaise, cheese, and pimientos.
Pimientos are big, red, chili peppers, cut in heart shape that are between three and four inches long. Although pimientos are more fragrant and tasty than red bell peppers, they have a sweetness that is comparable to that of red pepper. Most certainly, you’ve tried dried pimientos if you’ve ever used paprika to season anything.
Ingredients That Are Often Used In Pimento Cheese
Cream cheese, mayonnaise, shredded cheddar, Monterey Jack cheese, and pickled pimento peppers are often the main components of pimento cheese. Or pimiento, to use another name for them.
Dill pickles, garlic, onions, spicy sauce, and horseradish are all optional additions that can be made to the pimento cheese. Before consuming some of these components, pregnant women may want to confirm the food’s safety.
Nutritional Value Of Pimentos
Pimentos are a good source of folate, and vitamins A, C, and K.
Folate, commonly referred to as vitamin B-9, is essential for the metabolism of energy, the synthesis of DNA and red blood cells, and the maintenance of the brain system. About 12 micrograms of folate, or 3% of the daily value for healthy individuals, are present in one cup of pimentos.
People who ingest a lot of folates may have a lower risk of developing heart disease, depression, and several cancers. Since folate has the potential to prevent neurological issues and birth abnormalities in developing infants, pregnant women should take extra care to consume enough folate. Together with meals containing the other B vitamins, folate must be frequently ingested for it to work well.
255 mcg of vitamin A may be found in one cup of canned pimentos. This quantity provides 36% of the adult female US Department of Agriculture recommended daily intake (RDA) for vitamin A and 28% for adult male RDA.
For cellular reproduction, eye health, and immune system support, vitamin A is necessary. A healthy diet rich in vitamin A may help shield the body from cancer and visual issues like age-related macular degeneration.
Over 100% of the daily requirement for vitamin C is provided by one serving of either canned or raw pimentos. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that may stop free radicals from harming DNA.
Vitamin C is essential for the upkeep and repair of the skin, bones, teeth, and blood vessels. High vitamin C consumption may reduce the risk of cancer, osteoarthritis, cardiovascular disease, and hypertension.
According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, adult women should take in 90 micrograms of vitamin K daily, compared to 120 micrograms for males. Each cup of pimentos contains almost 16 micrograms of vitamin K.
Vitamin K is essential for blood clotting and helps maintain bone health and strength. Consuming enough vitamin K may lower the incidence of osteoporosis in women and help avoid excessive blood loss from traumas.
Is It Safe To Eat Pimento Cheese While Pregnant?
Yes, pimento cheese spread is safe to consume while pregnant. Mayonnaise, pimentos, and cheddar cheese or processed cheese are the ingredient list for pimento cheese. This delicious cheese spread is not only a pleasure for the taste buds, but it is also a powerhouse of vital vitamins and minerals.
Pimento cheese includes calcium, which is necessary for your baby’s developing bones. It is also a fantastic source of proteins, which during pregnancy serves as a terrific energy substrate and is also necessary for the growth and development of your unborn child.
Along with other minerals, it contains a significant amount of phosphorus, which is essential for the fetus’s general growth. You may thus enjoy pimento cheese in your favorite food items. However, just keep in mind to stay away from unpasteurized horseradish and mayonnaise, and to always store your cheese carefully!
Risks Associated With Eating Pimento Cheese Made From Unpasteurized Mayonnaise
Toxoplasmosis and listeriosis are two conditions that can result from eating Pimento Cheese made from unpasteurized mayonnaise while pregnant.
The primary danger is listeriosis. Listeria, a bacteria that thrives in raw cheese, is connected to this condition. It can infect the fetus when the mother consumes it, leading to a dangerous illness that may lead to an early delivery.
Eating raw meat, undercooked seafood, or unwashed fruits and vegetables can result in toxoplasmosis. Contact with cat poop is yet another instance.
How To Make Your Own Pimento Cheese At Home
Although most Southern families have their own versions of this delectable cheese spread, here are some suggestions to make sure your recipe is safe for use during pregnancy.
Most recipes begin with a base of cream cheese, Monterey Jack cheese, or shredded cheddar and 1/2 part chopped pimento peppers, which are all mixed in equal proportions.
We suggest combining one cup of pasteurized cream cheese, one cup of cheddar, half a cup of canned pimento peppers, and half a cup of pre-made, pasteurized mayonnaise. If you’d like, you can also choose to add some chopped fresh onions, garlic, and dill pickles to your pimento cheese.
After being opened and combined, these ingredients may have been exposed to bacteria that might lead to deterioration. Keep leftover pimento cheese in the refrigerator and eat it within two to three days. Pimento cheese should not be kept at temperatures over 40 °F (4 °C) for more than two hours.
Avoid eating pimento cheese at buffets since there is typically very little control over the proper temperatures to prevent bacterial development. Also, it may include substances that are unsafe during a healthy pregnancy.
So, can you consume pimento cheese while pregnant? Yes, you can; but, you must ensure that all of the components used in your cheese are safe, particularly that the mayonnaise is created from pasteurized milk.
If you are unsure, it is best to avoid pimento cheese, as it can be harmful to your health and that of your unborn child.