Feta cheese is made from a mixture of sheep and goat milk and is full of natural probiotics. Feta cheese is rich in calcium and protein and has very few carbohydrates. This cheese also contains vitamins such as K, A, and B and nutrients such as magnesium, folate, and pantothenic acid.
Table of Contents
- Can a pregnant woman eat feta cheese?
- The dangers of unpasteurized cheese
- Benefits of feta in pregnancy
- Feta lowers cholesterol levels in pregnant women
- Feta during breastfeeding
- Feta for children
- The difference between feta, sheep cheese, and goat cheese
- Tips for keeping feta
Can a pregnant woman eat feta cheese?
Pasteurized, soft, and mild feta cheese is considered safe during pregnancy, you just need to make sure that it is pasteurized. If the feta is too soft, it is better to avoid it, even if it is made with pasteurized milk. Also, keeping feta cheese in the refrigerator is not recommended because it can double the bacteria in it.
The dangers of unpasteurized cheese
The harmful bacteria Listeria monocytogenes is a reason to avoid unpasteurized feta cheese. This bacterium lives in the body of many dairy animals without any visible symptoms, which may not harm the animals, but it is not useful for the human body, especially during pregnancy or over 65 years of age when your immune system is weakened.
The disease caused by this bacterium is called listeriosis, which can cause miscarriage or infant disease. So, if you doubt whether the cheese is pasteurized, cook it for at least 2 minutes to kill the bacteria. (If the temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit or 75 degrees Celsius, cooking it eliminates the risk of contracting Listeria).
When should you not eat feta cheese during pregnancy?
If you have digestive problems, lactose intolerance, or any type of allergy and acne, you should avoid eating this cheese.
The correct choice and eating feta during pregnancy
- A clear sign on the label should indicate that the cheese is made from pasteurized milk and that grass-fed goat and sheep milk are best.
- Does it contain added salt or sugar or not? Avoid if present.
- Checking the presence of allergic substances such as nuts or any other plant.
Pregnant women can melt this cheese a little and eat it with
- fresh vegetables
- dried figs
- roasted tomatoes.
feta in tart, pie, or quiche; It is safe to eat feta in a quiche or similar baked product, as it is baked together with the rest of the filling and is suitable for pregnant women to eat. Feta in a salad like Greek salad is safe if pasteurized milk is used.
Benefits of feta in pregnancy
Like all cheeses, feta can be high in saturated fat and sodium, but because it tastes so good and is often crumbled or served with other things (like salads) rather than on its own, serving sizes tend to be smaller. This cheese has less fat than other cheeses such as cheddar. Feta contains a significant amount of calcium and protein and is a good source of vitamins B12 (effective in the formation of hemoglobin and various metabolic processes, cell division, and the development of the child’s nervous system and brain) and B6. It is also rich in a certain amount of iron. 100 grams of feta is equivalent to 5% of the daily requirement of iron, phosphorus, selenium, and magnesium.
Feta is also high in phosphorus. This mineral creates its greatest effect in cooperation with calcium. Phosphorus is also important building material for cartilage tissue.
Zinc plays a significant role in the formation of growth hormones and in fetal cell division and supports the child in building bones, cartilage, and connective tissue. The need for zinc increases by 40% during pregnancy. So you need 0.9 mg per day in the first trimester and 11 mg in the second and third trimesters. During breastfeeding, your need increases by another 2 mg.
Feta lowers cholesterol levels in pregnant women
Feta contains bacteria that support the intestinal flora and can strengthen the immune system, as well as conjugated linoleic acids (CLA), which are unsaturated fatty acids that studies have shown can prevent diabetes.
Painful leg cramps are not uncommon during pregnancy, the muscles tighten and take some time to relax again. Feta prevents leg muscle cramps. This constipation is usually due to magnesium deficiency. Feta is also very high in orotic acid (vitamin B13). This little-known substance supports various physiological processes such as regulating cholesterol levels.
Another function of uric acid is to transfer magnesium to our body cells. If you eat magnesium-rich foods like lentils, whole grain products, or oatmeal, feta can optimize absorption.
Vitamin B3 in feta is an excellent prevention against neurodermatitis and can reduce the risk of developing this skin disease in your child by 30% and prevents genetic mutations that can lead to heart and kidney abnormalities.
Craving for salty foods during pregnancy
Your appetite for salt is caused by the hormone aldosterone, which keeps salt in the body and thus, along with other substances, regulates your fluid balance. Your aldosterone levels increase significantly during pregnancy. In this way, the body ensures that your blood volume increases. This increase is a normal process during pregnancy because you have to give blood to two living beings. Aldosterone keeps salt in itself, during pregnancy you experience a “salt hunger”. Feta is a healthy alternative to chips and the like to satisfy your salt cravings.
Feta during breastfeeding
While breastfeeding, you can continue to pass the healthy ingredients of feta to your baby through breast milk. The need for specific micronutrients such as zinc or vitamins B3 and B12 increases even during this period. High salt in feta will not harm your baby. However, many midwives recommend limiting salt intake after weaning. You don’t need to worry about listeria during breastfeeding. In case of infection, the bacteria is not transmitted through breast milk
Feta for children
The child should not be given protein-rich food early. Excess protein can stress the organism. Sensitive kidneys are especially under pressure. In the first year of life, the child receives the protein it needs from its mother’s milk. From the age of 1 year, your children can consume between 0.8 and 1 gram of protein per kilogram of body weight.
The difference between feta, sheep cheese, and goat cheese
Feta: cheese in salt water from sheep’s milk and a minimum percentage (but not more than 30%) of goat’s milk. It can only be called if it comes from mainland Greece or the island of Lesbos
Sheep cheese: 100% made from sheep’s milk
Shepherd’s cheese: cheese in salt water, but from cow’s milk. Its taste is usually milder than sheep or goat cheese. Depending on the region, it is also called Balkan cheese or simply cheese in brine
Tips for keeping feta
If you store the opened package properly, you can keep feta in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days. Feta should be stored in a sealed package since Listeria can also multiply in refrigerator temperatures. You can pickle feta in salt water or olive oil. Make sure that the cheese is completely covered. On the other hand, you can keep the feta in a fresh and tightly closed box. If you want to play it healthy, you can use feta for baking dishes. Note: During pregnancy, you should definitely use only vacuum-packed feta cheese
Which is healthier, sheep’s milk or cow’s milk during pregnancy?
Sheep’s milk is much better than cow’s milk. Contains vitamins and unsaturated fatty acids to a significant extent. In terms of protein, sheep’s milk can be offered more than cow’s milk. Sheep’s milk contains 5.5% protein, while cow’s milk contains only 3.3% protein. Sheep milk also has more fat. However, fat molecules have a very fine structure and are therefore easier to digest.