Can Pregnant Women Eat Hummus?
Enjoying Your Favorite Spread Without Worry
If all you're craving is sashimi and vodka, it's going to be a long nine months. But if all you can think about is smooth, garlicky hummus, you're in luck. Hummus is perfectly safe for pregnant women to eat, provided it's packaged and stored properly. In fact, this tasty spread is high in protein and other nutrients that you need during pregnancy. Grab some pita bread and carrot sticks and dive in.
Is Hummus Safe to Eat While I'm Pregnant?
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Yes. Hummus is made primarily of chickpeas and tahini, which is a paste made from sesame seeds. Those ingredients, plus the lemon and other seasonings that are traditionally used in hummus, generally pose no safety risk to an expectant mother or her baby. Because hummus is loaded with protein, fiber, calcium, iron, vitamins and folate, it packs a major nutritional punch that benefits both you and your growing baby.
Still, some women are wary of hummus during pregnancy because of listeria. The bacteria is dangerous for pregnant women because eating food contaminated with listeria can be deadly for your baby. It's the reason that expectant mothers are warned not to eat deli meats and unpasteurized dairy. The bacteria can be found in deli cases and salad bars, so avoid eating hummus from one of these types of places. Stick to prepackaged hummus, which should be safe. Or better yet, make your own.
In the same manner, plain sesame seeds or tahini are safe for you to eat. Occasionally, one of these products will be the subject of a food recall if traces of listeria or salmonella are found in a brand's products. While you're pregnant, make a habit of checking food recall notices on the FoodSafety.gov website.
What About Tofu and Other Health Foods?
If you're a hummus devotee, you may favor other healthy, high-protein foods such as tofu, fish, nuts and seeds.
Tofu is safe to eat while you're pregnant, as long as you don't eat it with every meal. It's made of soy beans, and some experts warn that eating too much soy could have repercussions for pregnant women, although research is ongoing.
Eating fish is a healthy choice during pregnancy, within reason. Avoid raw seafood and types of fish that are high in mercury, including swordfish and bigeye tuna. Limit yourself to one serving per week of fish species that have moderate levels of mercury, including haddock and albacore tuna. If you opt for low-mercury fish, such as cod, salmon and tilapia, enjoy up to three servings per week.
Nuts and seeds can be part of a healthy pregnancy diet, too. They're high in the healthy fats that you and your baby need. Peanuts are also a good source of folate. Nuts and seeds are a high-calorie snack, so eat just a serving or so per day.
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- Eating for Pregnancy: The Essential Nutrition Guide and Cookbook for Today's Mothers-to-Be
- U.S. National Library of Medicine: The Nutritional Value and Health Benefits of Chickpeas and Hummus
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Listeria Prevention
- Fit Pregnancy: Is Soy Safe During Pregnancy?
- U.S. Food & Drug Administration: Eating Fish: What Pregnant Women and Parents Should Know
- UWMC Maternal and Infant Care Clinic: Nutrition and Food Safety During Pregnancy
- National Institutes of Health: Folate