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Is It Safe to Eat Fior Di Latte Cheese During Pregnancy? Benefits and Risks

Can I eat fior di latte cheese during pregnancy? Is it safe? Fior di latte cheese can be a healthy and delicious addition to a pregnancy diet when eaten in moderation, as it boasts significant amounts of protein and calcium.
fior di latte

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During pregnancy, it is recommended to avoid certain cheeses, such as brie, chevre, and gorgonzola. But what about the beloved Neapolitan pizza topping, fior di latte mozzarella? As this is a fresh cheese, many pregnant women wonder if it is safe to consume.

Good news for fans of this fresh, milky cheese. Fior di latte made from pasteurized milk is on the menu during your pregnancy.

Keep reading for the scoop on all things cheese-related during pregnancy, including the safety, benefits, considerations, and even a few healthy snack ideas. 

What is fior di latte? 

fior di latte pizza

Fior di latte means ‘flower of milk’ in Italian and refers to something made from high-quality, farm fresh cow’s milk. For example, fior di latte cheese is a type of fresh mozzarella that showcases the natural complexity of quality dairy (Source: Serious Eats). 

Though not widely available in the US, traditional mozzarella is made from buffalo milk. While fior di latte and traditional fresh mozzarella look similar, it is important to note that they come from different sources.

How safe is fior di latte safe for mom and baby during pregnancy?

While most fior di latte cheese that is widely available is made using cow’s milk that has been pasteurized, some is not. In particular, fior di latte being sold at farmer’s markets is more likely to be unpasteurized. To be on the safe side, double-check with the producer or chef when eating out at a restaurant to ensure that the cheese has been pasteurized.

Still concerned? Cook your cheese. Eating this mild and milky fresh mozzarella when it is steaming helps to keep you and baby safe by reducing your risk of contracting a foodborne illness.

What kinds of cheese are safe to eat during pregnancy?

cheese plate

While most varieties of cheese are safe to consume during pregnancy, pregnant women are at an increased risk of contracting bacterial infections from contaminated cheeses that have not been pasteurized.

According to the CDC, pregnant women have a 10 times greater risk of listeriosis (an infection caused by the pathogenic bacteria, listeria) than the general population (Source: CDC).

This infection is of particular concern in this population due to the risk of premature delivery, miscarriage and stillbirth that can come as a result of a listeria infection during pregnancy.  (Source: CDC). To promote a healthy, full-term pregnancy extra precautions around foodborne illnesses are encouraged.

What cheeses to avoid:

  • Unpasteurized milk or cream 
  • Soft cheeses that have been mold-ripened (pasteurized or unpasteurized), such as chevre, camembert 
  • Soft bleu cheeses (pasteurized or unpasteurized) such as Roquefort or gorgonzola

The exception? You can safely consume these cheeses after cooking them until steaming (165 degrees Fahrenheit) to kill harmful bacteria.

What cheese is safe to eat:

  • Soft cheese (pasteurized) without a white coating on the outside such as feta, paneer, fior di latte, cottage cheese, halloumi, etc.
  • Hard cheese (pasteurized or unpasteurized), such as Gruyere, parmesan, and cheddar
  • Semi-hard cheese (pasteurized), such as cotija and Edam

Is fior di latte cheese a healthy option during pregnancy?

fior di latte

Fior di latte cheese can be a healthy and delicious addition to a pregnancy diet when eaten in moderation, as it boasts significant amounts of protein and calcium – both of which are important during pregnancy. 

What are the benefits of fior di latte during pregnancy?

Fior di latte is a great source of calcium:

Fior di latte contains 250 mg of calcium per (1 oz) serving of cheese which is one-quarter of mom’s needs for the entire day.

Pregnant women need adequate calcium to build their baby’s bones, promote a healthy nervous system, and support healthy muscle contractions. In order to move your muscles and send signals from your brain to other parts of your body, calcium is required.

To support a healthy pregnancy, it is suggested that women of child-bearing age consume 1,000 mg of calcium per day. For teenage mothers, the recommended amount increases to 1,300 mg of calcium per day (Source: NIH). 

This increased calcium need for teen moms is due to the fact that the majority of bone mineralization takes place during the teenage years. In fact, most individuals reach their peak bone mass by age 30.  Therefore, mom will need to consume enough calcium for her own developing body as well as her growing baby (Source: NIH). 

Fior di latte is high in protein:

Per one ounce of fresh fior di latte mozzarella, there is 8 g protein (Source: USDA) making it a good source of this crucial nutrient. 

A woman’s needs for protein increase during pregnancy to support the rapid growth and development that is happening for both mom and baby during this time. The general recommendation for non-pregnant adults is 0.8 g protein/kg/day. During pregnancy, this increases to roughly 1.2 g protein/kg – 1.5 g protein/kg (Source: PubMed).

Protein is a critical nutrient during pregnancy. Because protein contains the essential ‘building blocks of life’ ensuring that you are getting enough will positively affect the growth and development of your baby. 

Not only is a protein needed to properly form your baby’s brain and other vital organs, your needs increase to keep up with the demand for growing breast and uterine tissue. From your fingernails to your baby’s brain, getting enough protein during pregnancy is crucial. 

For example, a woman weighing 130 lbs. would aim to consume 71 g – 88 g protein/day to meet her basic needs. Keep in mind that this amount increases based upon a woman’s level of physical activity. 

What else should I consider when eating fior di latte during pregnancy?

pregnant woman

While fior di latte boasts some health benefits, there are a few nutritional considerations to keep in mind when thinking about adding this cheese to the diet.

  1. Food allergies/sensitivities/intolerances:  Unfortunately, many individuals are unable to tolerate cow’s milk. According to the FDA, Dairy is one of the top 8 food allergens in the US. Additionally, roughly 68 percent of the world’s population is lactose intolerant (Source: NIH). 

In cow’s milk, there are three main macronutrients: fat, protein and carbohydrate or ‘sugar’.

Those who have an allergy or a sensitivity to cow’s milk are having a reaction to 

one or more of the proteins found in milk.

Individuals with lactose intolerance do not make enough of the enzyme lactose and 

therefore are unable to adequately breakdown the ‘milk sugar’ lactose.

Listening to your body and avoiding foods that do not make you feel well is a form of self-care. Continuously consuming foods that are not well-tolerated can lead to a host of downstream negative health effects.  

  1. Saturated fat content: For many individuals, saturated fat is a nutrient of concern. This is because it can raise LDL or ‘bad’ cholesterol levels. Keeping our levels of LDL low is important because it can decrease our risk of stroke and heart disease. 
  1. Sodium content: According to the CDC, cheese is one of the top ten sources of sodium in the standard American diet. Consuming an excess amount of sodium without adequate dietary potassium can raise blood pressure levels. To promote a healthy cardiovascular system, consume this cheese with potassium-rich fruits and veggies (Source: CDC). 

Healthy Fior Di Latte snack ideas during pregnancy

caprese salad

While fior di latte boasts some health benefits, there are a few nutritional considerations to keep in mind when thinking about adding this cheese to the diet.

  1. Make a sweet and savory Caprese salad by drizzling fresh basil, juicy tomatoes, sweet peaches and fior di latte mozzarella iin extra virgin olive oil and red wine vinegar.
  1. For a quick and easy lunch or dinner, spread fresh pesto on a whole wheat flatbread, top with fior di latte mozzarella and fresh veggies. Bake at 375 Fahrenheit for 15 minutes. 
  1. For a filling breakfast, top whole-wheat toast with freshly sliced fior di latte, ripe avocado, juicy tomato, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and ‘Everything but the bagel’ seasoning.

Q & A

Is fior di latte cheese safe to consume during pregnancy?

As fior di latte cheese is a fresh, semi-soft cheese it is important to ensure that it has been prepared using pasteurized milk. Check with the producer or your server when eating out at a restaurant if you have any concerns. If the cheese has not been pasteurized, heat it to steaming (or 165 degrees Fahrenheit) to kill any harmful bacteria.

What are the benefits of eating fior di latte mozzarella during pregnancy?

If tolerated, fior di latte can help to supply needed protein and calcium in the diet during pregnancy. 1 (1 oz) serving provides 8 grams of protein which provides over 10 percent of your daily needs. 

What are the negative effects of eating fior di latte cheese during pregnancy?

It is important to avoid dairy products if your body does not tolerate them well. 68 percent of the world’s population is lactose intolerant and dairy is one of the top 8 allergens. Listen to your body! While some can tolerate this food, those who experience signs and symptoms of an allergy/sensitivity/intolerance should avoid this food when possible. Additionally, fior di latte is high in sodium and saturated fat which should be eaten in moderation. Especially when healthy blood pressure or weight gain are a concern.

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Disclaimer: Data is given for guidance purpose. They are not supposed to replace a doctor advices