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Cold Cuts Deli Meats and Pregnancy - Safe to Eat?

Deli Meat Cold Cuts and PregnancyCold cuts or lunch meats are surely delicious. Especially during pregnancy when you have all these cravings.

The slices of cold cheeses or precooked / cured meat, cold cuts, sausages or meat loaves served with sandwiches or alone, are available pre-sliced in vacuum packs or may be purchased from deli counters and then sliced. Such lunch meats like ham, salami, turkey and bologna are not recommended for pregnant women, especially if they are cut and served on a deli counter where they can become contaminated.

The pre-sliced cold cuts are especially high in fat. They are also rich in salt / sodium. Too much fat can cause obesity and related diseases like high cholesterol, heart ailments and hypertension to name a few. Packaged lunch meats are high in a preservative called sodium nitrate. Some specialists are of the opinion that sodium nitrates can lead to difficult complications during pregnancy. This is because the body turns nitrates into potential carcinogens.

Another issue with cold cuts is that they may contain lots of the Listeria bacteria. Listeria can grow in refrigerated temperatures. This bacterium causes an ailment called Listeriosis which can cause problems during pregnancy such as miscarriage, premature delivery, infections or even death of the new born baby. If the disease affects the nervous system of the mother it can cause stiff neck, disorientation and convulsions.

The third trimester is the period when your immune system weakens so you are at a greater risk of being afflicted by Listeriosis in this phase. If at all you are eating cold cuts ensure that you reheat them until steaming. You can do this by grilling them. Also take foods rich in Vitamin C along with cold cuts to prevent conversion of nitrates to carcinogens. Deli meats purchased from the deli counter have less fat and salt than the packaged lunch meats.

However to be on the safe side it is recommended that you avoid lunch meats and cold cuts during pregnancy for your baby's sake.

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