Bacon During Pregnancy: Is it Safe?

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Essential for the development of brain, high source of protein, antioxidant and low in carbohydrates and rich in saturated fat are some of the health benefits of bacon during pregnancy.

Basically, the processed meat of pigs is what we refer to as ‘bacon’. Bacon is extensively processed and this is also one of its main characteristics. The meat is made to undergo a process called ‘curing’ by making use of salt, spices, nitrites and even sugar. Despite its delicious taste, bacon offers very less nutritional value. Although it is one of the richest sources of protein but the meat is also high in cholesterol, fat and sodium content, all of which are very bad for the overall health.

Bacon During Pregnancy: Benefits, Risks and Precautions

bacon during pregnancy

Health benefits of bacon during pregnancy

The health benefits of bacon mainly revolve around the growth and overall development of the unborn baby. Given below are a few benefits of eating bacon during pregnancy:

Essential for the development of brain

Bacon is considered as a superfood for the infant’s brain development. One of the main nutrients found in bacon is choline.  As per a study conducted in University of North Carolina, it has been proven that choline is vital for the development of that part of the brain which is associated with memory and recalling. In addition to this, bacon also helps to reduce the risk of Alzheimer.

High source of protein

Protein offers all the amino acids that are essential for the body. Being a rich source of protein, bacon is important for the overall development of the fetus, including healthy bones, skin, muscle development and hair. Thus, bacon is among the best sources that provide enough protein during pregnancy.

Antioxidant

Being a good source of selenium, the antioxidant helps the body to fight against diseases. In addition to this, selenium also promotes thyroid development in the unborn baby. Thereby, it can be said that eating bacon is one of the best ways to deal with free radical that could be detrimental to both the baby and the mom-to-be.

Low in carbohydrates and rich in saturated fat

Consuming too much carbohydrate is one of the main reasons of obesity. However, bacon is low in carbohydrate and thus, it can help you to control your weight during pregnancy. Apart from that, bacon is also rich in saturated fat, which is otherwise considered as unhealthy. But during pregnancy, eating bacon can help the mom-to-be to deal with her craving.

Risk of eating bacon during pregnancy

Listed below are a few of the major risks of consuming bacon during pregnancy:

Preservatives

Bacon is a processed food and for obvious reasons, it also makes use of preservatives. But it does not mean that processed food will always be bad for you. You can consume it in moderation and it won’t cause you or your baby any harm.

Risk of Contamination

It is vital for the mom-to-be to make sure that she does not consume any raw meat products. Contaminated food can lead to serious infections for the infant, which can also cause miscarriage or other birth defect conditions.

High on Sodium nitrate

Bacon consists of sodium nitrate, which is believed to be a substance that increases the risk of cancer. A lot of Research has been conducted on this aspect and finally, an announcement was made from the World Health Organisation that processed meats were classified as a group 1 carcinogen. Also, nitrate free bacon is beneficial for the child in the long run.

Listeriosis

This bacterium is most commonly found in raw bacon. Listeria increases the risk of miscarriage and it has also been found that moms-to-be are more prone to the attacks of this bacteria. The results were published by Ted Golos (a UW-Madison reproductive physiologist and professor of comparative biosciences and obstetrics and gynecology) and his collaborators in the journal mBio. Thus, you must ensure that you cook the meat properly before eating it.

Precautions of eating bacon during pregnancy

Having discussed both the benefits as well the health risks associated with eating bacon during pregnancy. Let us consider some of the precautions that you must consider if you decide to have it at the time of your pregnancy:

Say NO to Raw

Make sure that you do not consume raw bacon as that can affect your as well as your baby’s health.

Pair with other healthy options

You can pair it with something healthy food, say, a glass of orange or vegetable juice. You can also slice a pineapple or kiwi. Make sure that you eat healthy vegetables and fruits for the rest of the day, if you decide to have it in the morning.

Choose the leaner bacon variety

Canadian bacon is comparatively much leaner than the regular one. So, you can decide to have that sometimes.

Consult a doctor

In case, you consume raw bacon and notice symptoms like fatigue, vomiting, nausea, uneasiness or upset stomach, contact a doctor immediately.

Store carefully

Make sure you keep the uncooked bacon away from other food items. Also, wash your hands every time before or after you touch the bacon.

Healthy Bacon Recipe

Creamed corn with crispy grilled bacon on sourdough (Serving for two)

Ingredients

  • A small white onion
  • 2 knobs of butter
  • 2 corn cobs
  • A glug of single cream
  • 2 thick slices of sourdough bread
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • 180ml water
  • 6 rashers of smoked streaky bacon

Procedure

  • Begin by setting the grill to medium-high.
  • Simmer the onion over low heat in a frying pain.
  • Cut the kernels. Repeat the same with a second cob and include the base kernels. Add the juice held from the corn cobs to the onions.
  • Keep stirring and then, add some water.
  • Add butter and bring to a simmer for approximately 10 minutes.
  • Grill the bacon until it turns crispy.
  • Now, add a little cream and nutmeg to the corn.
  • Toast or grill the bread, as per your preference.
  • Top it with some corn and bacon.

Conclusion

One can enjoy the delicious taste of bacon during pregnancy if it is well cooked. Cooking bacon will destroy any contamination with bacteria. Thus, one must ensure that the bacon is not raw or contaminated, as that can otherwise lead to a number of health issues. Moreover, as long as you consume it in moderation, it is perfectly safe for you and your baby.

References

  • https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/health/news/6936627/Bacon-and-eggs-could-help-mothers-to-be-boost-the-intelligence-of-unborn-child.html – The Daily Telegraph
  • https://www.theguardian.com/news/2018/mar/01/bacon-cancer-processed-meats-nitrates-nitrites-sausages – The Guardian
  • https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/02/170221080512.htm – Science Daily
Hope this article was of help to you! Please share your comments/queries/tips with us and help us create a world full of Happy, Healthy and Empowered Women!!

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