Pregnancy

Can You Eat Hummus While Pregnant?

Team PeanutTeam Peanut6 months ago5 min read

If you have a hankering for hummus, we understand the urgency. It’s one tasty snack packed with plant-based power.

But can you eat hummus while pregnant? We hate to be the bearer of bad news here, but the answer is not a simple one. While many of the ingredients in hummus are safe to consume during pregnancy, there are some risks.

Can You Eat Hummus While Pregnant?

Let’s take a look.

In this article: 📝

  • Can pregnant women eat hummus?
  • Can I eat chickpeas during early pregnancy?
  • Is hummus safe for pregnancy?
  • Why can you not eat hummus when pregnant?
  • Hummus while pregnant: the bottom line

Can pregnant women eat hummus?

We know—of all the topics that you may have thought were contentious in this world, eating hummus while pregnant was probably not one of them.

The reality is, the hummus-pregnancy relationship is complicated.

That being said, provided you put in a bit of behind-the-scenes work, there are ways to enjoy hummus while pregnant, relatively risk-free.

To understand the ins and out of this twisted tale, let’s start by looking at this story’s hero—the chickpea.

Can I eat chickpeas during early pregnancy?

Chickpeas are nutrient-dense legumes that contain a whole lot of good stuff that you need when you’re pregnant.

Protein, folates, and fiber are just some highlights of this versatile food.

On their own, they’re safe to consume while pregnant and help you meet your nutritional needs. (Hot tip? Try them toasted as an alternative to chips)

But chickpeas are not the only ingredients in hummus. What about the other ingredients in the mix?

Is hummus safe for pregnancy?

With its mix of chickpeas, tahini, garlic, and lemon, hummus can be a nutritious addition to any diet.

Packed with protein, fiber, and powerful antioxidants, it’s not hard to see why hummus has a special spot in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean diets—as well as a reach that now extends across the globe.

Sounds like the perfect pregnancy snack, right? Um, sadly, not necessarily. Here’s why.

Why can you not eat hummus when pregnant?

In the past twenty years, there have been over seventeen hummus-connected food-borne illness outbreaks in the U.S.

Of those outbreaks, four deaths were reported, all of which were related to listeriosis, an infection caused by the germ Listeria.

When you are pregnant, you are ten times more likely to get listeriosis, and it can be passed on to your unborn baby and cause dangerous complications.

Another harmful bacteria in the mix is salmonella.

Recently, there was a recall of some hummus products because of salmonella contamination—and while salmonella is not as dangerous as listeriosis for pregnant women, it can increase your risk of some pregnancy complications.

Is store-bought hummus pasteurized?

Yes, most store-bought hummus is pasteurized, meaning it has been heat-treated to prevent bacteria growth and extend shelf life.

But with its low PH and high water content, pasteurized store-bought hummus can still provide a perfect environment for bacteria to thrive in.

Added to this, there is a chance that contamination can occur at many points along the hummus production line.

Tahini, one of the key ingredients in hummus, is made from sesame seeds, which are especially vulnerable to contamination.

So does this risk apply to all store-bought hummus—or are there ways to shop safely?

Can I eat store-bought hummus when pregnant?

The difficulty with ready-made food products is that you have a lot less control over both the ingredients that go into them and the methods of preparation.

You don’t know, for example, if the sesame seeds have been roasted—which would be one way to decrease the risk of contamination.

That doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy hummus while pregnant. To keep things as safe as possible, prepare your hummus at home from ingredients you can trust.

Some other ways to protect yourself?

  • Steer clear of sharing hummus as a dip, as this could increase the risk of contamination.
  • Don’t store it for too long. Use within its expiry date and, if possible, within two days of making it.
  • Store it in the fridge in an airtight container. Try not to leave it out at room temperature for too long, as this could increase the risk of contamination.

Hummus while pregnant: the bottom line

Hummus can be a welcome addition to your pregnancy diet—but should be consumed with caution.

The more control you have over what goes into it and how it is prepared, the better.

And if you’re feeling like you need some support as you navigate all these new changes, reach out to your Peanut community. We don’t have to do this alone.

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