Can I Eat Pepperoni While Pregnant? Here’s What You Need to Know!

Who leaves a chance to grab a slice of pipping hot pepperoni pizza with a sip of Pepsi but what if you’re pregnant? Can you still satisfy your pepperoni cravings as you did before? Well, it is very difficult to control your cravings during pregnancy and especially when it’s something spicy. However, making sure what you’re eating doesn’t affect your baby’s health should be your priority! 

Women often ask, can I eat pepperoni while pregnant? 

A smooth pregnancy demands visible changes in diet and lifestyle. Pepperoni is an American-based salami that adds a relishing spicy flavor to your food be it pizzas or sandwiches. However, this might be bad news for you but experts recommend not having pepperoni during pregnancy due to multiple reasons.

So, if you are pregnant and craving pepperoni, then read this article to decide whether to eat it or not! To learn all about eating pepperoni during pregnancy, keep reading on! 

Pepperonis are loved by all but to have them during pregnancy isn’t usually considered safe by the doctors.

Craving Pepperoni While Pregnant: Can You Have It? 

The nine months of pregnancy pass with tons of food cravings especially during the second trimester. It happens due to hormonal fluctuations and an increase in your senses. However, being cautious about what you eat is important to avoid any unwanted consequences. 

Experts suggest that craving anything during pregnancy can be due to multiple deficiencies among which meat cravings are due to iron deficiency. 

Pepperoni is an Italian American Salami made of cured pork or beef and is widely used as pizza toppings worldwide. Knowing about its composition isn’t the need of the hour, if you’re pregnant you must be aware of its effects during pregnancy. 

pepperoni

Now, you must be wondering why is having pepperoni during pregnancy questionable. Well, pepperoni is a preserved undercooked salami that if eaten raw can lead to bacterial infections. 

Nitrates are often used in ready-to-eat food items to preserve them. So, does pepperoni have nitrates? Yes! Pepperonis often have nitrates that are used to aid in the preservation of food items. However, nitrates are considered carcinogenic agents most likely to cause cancer. 

Can I Eat Pepperoni While Pregnant?

I ate pepperoni while pregnant. Is it dangerous? If you’re craving strongly for pepperoni, then taking it in a moderate amount won’t harm your pregnancy However, there are certain factors you must be careful about when eating it. The most important thing to consider is that it shouldn’t be raw or uncooked when you eat it because this can make you vulnerable to bacterial infections; however, cooking it properly minimizes the chances of infections.

So, can I eat pepperoni and salami while pregnant? Typically, experts suggest not having pepperonis during pregnancy due to the aforementioned reasons. Moreover, the spicy flavor of the salami can also lead to heartburn. Although the relishing flavor of pepperoni can satisfy your cravings but preventing risks of all kinds should be your priority for a smooth pregnancy. 

It’s not that pepperonis are the worst thing to eat when you’re pregnant; however, there are better choices honestly! Some of its benefits include being rich in vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin B12, niacin, vitamin B6, D, and K. Moreover, it has a mineral called selenium which is a vital antioxidant that boosts the immune system thereby defending against toxic compounds. 

can-i-eat-pepperoni-while-pregnant

Now that you’re well aware of the good side of pepperoni, let us throw some light on its side effects during pregnancy

  • 100 grams of pepperoni contains nearly 500 calories of which the total fat is 44g. Pepperoni is a high-fat salami that if consumed in large quantities can make you gain weight. Consuming in bulk can also increase the levels of LDL and cholesterol in your body, putting you at risk of cardiovascular problems. 
  • Pepperonis are rich in sodium which means that larger quantities can cause a spike in your blood pressure. 
  • Pepperonis are rich in saturated fat which if consumed a lot can cause pregnancy-related complications. 
  • Foods containing nitrates and nitrites pose a potential threat to your health whether you’re pregnant or not. These are used as preservatives and are carcinogenic agents (cancer-causing agents). Bacon or beef are cured which makes them bad for health anyways. Moreover, studies show that such nitrites and nitrates can make the baby vulnerable to developing a brain tumor. 
  • Heartburn is one of the commonest happenings during pregnancy but you might be surprised to know that pepperonis are spicy and if consumed in greater quantity can also lead to heartburn. 

During pregnancy, you should be a little more careful about what you eat because even the slightest negligence can make you suffer a lot! Pepperonis are loved by all but to have them during pregnancy isn’t usually considered safe by the doctors. Hence, it’s better to refrain from anything that puts either your or your child’s health at risk. However, a strong craving can be satisfied a few times during the gestation period. 

Pregnant women who love pepperoni often ask if they can eat it cooked, raw, or cold. Here are the answers,

Can I Eat Cooked Pepperoni While Pregnant?

Well-cooked pepperoni is quite safe to have during pregnancy in a moderate quantity. Although it still has those nitrates and nitrates, at least it is free from bacteria and other infection-causing agents after being properly cooked. 

cooked-pepperoni

Can I Eat Cold Pepperoni While Pregnant?

When it comes to cold pepperoni, you can only eat them if the product label says to. This is because there is a reduced risk of bacterial infections if the package claims that it is ready to eat. However, you should be careful while eating it during pregnancy. 

Can I Eat Uncured Pepperoni While Pregnant?

The basic difference between cured and uncured meat is the use of preservatives; cured meat uses artificial preservatives and has a longer life than uncured meat that uses natural preservatives such as celery powders. Cooking kills all the bacteria in pepperoni; however, if you’re pregnant, then having uncured pepperoni is only fine if the packet says so.  

Can I Eat Raw Pepperoni While Pregnant?

Eating raw meat, fruits, and vegetables is strictly prohibited during pregnancy because raw food has bacteria that can enter your body and lead to infections. Raw pepperoni has a higher amount of bacteria and even nitrates which can even cause toxoplasmosis.

raw-pepperoni

The presence of them increases the risk of miscarriages. Hence, you should avoid having raw pepperoni during pregnancy. 

Can I Eat Turkey Pepperoni While Pregnant?

1 ounce of Turkey pepperoni has only 3.5 grams of fat which is lesser than that of regular pepperoni and is therefore considered a better and healthier option than the regular one. Hence, turkey pepperoni helps you get rid of that extra saturated fat you could get from regular ones. Hence, you may try turkey pepperoni while being pregnant. 

FAQs

Is it safe to eat pre-packaged pepperoni while pregnant?

During pregnancy, you have to filter your diet to avoid mishaps. Having pepperoni in bulk while being pregnant won’t do any good to you. It has high sodium and fats levels that can make you gain weight and also cause high blood pressure.  However, if you’re strongly craving it, then you can have it a few times during your gestation period. 

Why should pregnant women eat pepperoni with caution?

Pepperoni might look like thinly sliced meat but it has a lot more to offer! It is rich in saturated fat, nitrates, nitrites, and sodium that can make you gain weight, promote the risk of cancer, and can increase your blood pressure if consumed in bulk. Hence, experts suggest not to eat pepperoni during pregnancy but if you have it, then try to cook it properly to avoid infections. 

Can you eat pizza when pregnant?

Yes! Eating pizza during pregnancy is fine but only if it is cooked well. Pizza is a calorie-rich food item that has a lot of cheese, meat, and veggies. However, to have it during pregnancy, the meat and vegetables should be properly cooked. The foods in your diet during pregnancy should be fresh and well-cooked. 

Can I eat cold pepperoni pizza while pregnant?

Pepperoni is a salami rich in fats especially saturated fat used as one of the most loved pizza toppings worldwide. Cold pepperonis aren’t recommended during pregnancy due to the bacterial infections it might cause. However, cooking pepperoni can eliminate the risks of infection and can be used. 

Final Verdict

We know that it is difficult to control your overly growing weird food cravings during pregnancy but for the sake of a healthy baby, you have to control them. Pepperoni is loved by everyone and when it is added to the pizza, it just boosts the flavor. But having it during pregnancy is still questionable.

So, if you’re asking, can I eat pepperoni while pregnant? Then, let me tell you that experts don’t suggest having pepperoni during pregnancy in large quantities because of the presence of nitrites, nitrates, high sodium, and saturated fat. Hence, it is better to refrain from eating it to avoid the risks of pregnancy complications. 

However, if you’re craving it to an extent you can’t back off, then having it one to two times during the gestational period is fine. However, a smooth pregnancy demands compromising food cravings!

Mehrosh Ahmer

Mehrosh Ahmer

My name is Mehrosh Ahmer and I’m currently a student of MBBS at Jinnah Sindh Medical University. My passion for studying the wonder that is the human body and the desire to give back to my society has led me to pursue a career in medicine. As I research, I learn more about my field, and it improves my understanding. This is why I enjoy writing the articles so that more people might get to read about subjects that they otherwise might never encounter.

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