Can Pregnant Women Eat Pepperoni?

Can Pregnant Women Eat Pepperoni?

Wondering can pregnant women eat pepperoni?

As fellow fans of America’s favorite pizza topping, we get it.

Better yet, we’ve got everything you need to know about pepperoni and pregnancy.

One of the tougher parts of pregnancy is knowing what food is safe to eat.

Well, good news pizza fans: when it’s on a piping hot pizza pie, pepperoni is perfectly safe to eat while you’re pregnant.

But as ever, there are a few added deets you need to know to make sure pizza night is good for more than your soul.

We’re covering ingredients, nutritional benefits, and when you should avoid pepperoni during your pregnancy.

Plus some yummy alternatives should such a day come to pass.

In this article 📝

  • Can I eat pepperoni while pregnant?
  • What is pepperoni made from?
  • When is eating pepperoni during pregnancy risky?
  • Is pepperoni good for you?
  • Can pregnant women eat pepperoni pizza?

Can I eat pepperoni while pregnant?

In short, yes! Pepperoni is safe to eat while pregnant – as long as it’s thoroughly cooked.

Making sure it’s cooked through (like on a pizza) gets rid of any harmful bacteria and minimizes the risk of food poisoning and all the unpleasantness that brings.

This makes sense when we consider that pepperoni is technically raw.

More on that below.

What is pepperoni made from?

Pepperoni is a type of spicy salami made using cured ground pork and beef seasoned with garlic, paprika, and cayenne pepper.

The word pepperoni actually means “large peppers” in Italian. 🌶️

Alongside its paprika seasoning, its reddish color comes from being processed and preserved with nitrates and nitrites.

So yes, in so far as it is dried and cured, pepperoni is raw.

Which begs the question: Is it safe to eat pepperoni out of the packet when pregnant?

While there’s no conclusive evidence as to whether these preservatives are bad for you during pregnancy, there are other reasons why eating cold pepperoni while pregnant is not recommended.

When is eating pepperoni during pregnancy risky?

When it’s uncooked (read: not on a pizza).

Cured deli meats, such as pepperoni, aren’t cooked with heat but rather dried with salt to remove moisture, preserve the meat, and reduce the growth of bacteria.

And while in most cases, cured meats are perfectly safe to eat, they’re not entirely risk-free.

They can still host nasty bacteria and parasites such as listeria and toxoplasma, which can result in food poisoning or more serious conditions, such as listeriosis or toxoplasmosis.

Given your fluctuating hormone levels and stretched-thin immune system, developing these conditions could be potentially harmful to both you and your baby.

Your best bet is to always check the label to see whether the pepperoni you’re buying is uncooked, needs to be cooked first, or should be avoided altogether.

Is pepperoni good for you?

Aside from making sure it’s well-cooked, the other aspect to consider when choosing to eat pepperoni during pregnancy is its nutritional value.

Spoiler alert: it’s not exactly a superfood.

In terms of its nutritional content, one 28g (1 oz) serving of pepperoni contains:

  • 12g of fat
  • 4.5g of saturated fat
  • 0.4mg of iron
  • 6g of protein

We know protein has a vital role in pregnancy – namely helping your baby’s tissues and organs grow – but there are definitely healthier sources to choose from.

In general, lean protein is best, but hey, sometimes you just need the comfort of a thick slice from your favorite pizza place.

Call it soul food.

Can pregnant women eat pepperoni pizza?

We’ve come full circle to answer the most pressing question.

If those pregnancy cravings have taken hold and you’re dreaming of a steaming hot pepperoni pizza, should you give in and grab that takeout menu?

Well, first, the important part: it’s highly recommended that you aim for a nutritionally diverse diet during pregnancy, including lots of lean protein and iron.

And because pepperoni contains high levels of salt and fat, it’s not something you’ll want to eat a lot of while you’re expecting.

That said, so long as it’s cooked properly and from a source you trust, you can definitely enjoy the occasional pepperoni pizza slice (or slices, let’s be honest).

And if you’re wondering about alternative toppings, here are a few FAQs to ponder:

What deli meats can I eat while pregnant?

Just like pepperoni, many deli meats aren’t cooked but rather cured.

It’s best to avoid deli meats, luncheon meats, and cold cuts during pregnancy, as bacteria can continue to grow on them even when refrigerated.

Can you eat bacon on pizza when pregnant?

Same deal as your fave spicy pepperoni, bacon is fine as long as it’s cooked thoroughly.

However, it’s also quite salty and fatty and should be saved for the occasional slice instead of a regular serving.

Can I eat sausage while pregnant?

Yes, but it needs to be cooked properly.

If you’re doing it yourself, follow food hygiene guidelines, always wash your hands, utensils, and surfaces, and make sure you’re cooking your sausages to an internal temperature of between 160°F (71.1°C) and 165°F (73.8°C).

So there you have it; as long as it’s cooked thoroughly and made with love, you can still indulge in a woodfired meat lovers pizza with all the trimmings.

Buon appetito!

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