Eating Mayonnaise During Pregnancy – Is It Safe?
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A major concern of mothers-to-be is what foods they can or cannot include in their diet to ensure their baby’s healthy growth and development. In this article, we talk about whether it is safe to eat mayonnaise during pregnancy, the nutritional value of mayonnaise, and the risks of consuming mayonnaise during pregnancy.
Can Pregnant Women Eat Mayonnaise?
Pregnant women can eat mayonnaise if it is made using pasteurised eggs. Commercially produced mayonnaise is also safe since it is made of pasteurised eggs. Mayonnaise is made of egg yolk, lemon juice or vinegar, and vegetable oil. The lecithin and protein present in the yolk act as emulsifiers and stabilise the mayonnaise, keeping all the ingredients blended.
The primary risk associated with eating raw eggs is a food-borne disease caused by the salmonella bacteria. The disease is called salmonellosis and it causes nausea, vomiting, fever, headache, diarrhoea and abdominal cramps. It also causes other serious complications like extreme dehydration, reactive arthritis, bacteria in the bloodstream, and meningitis. This disease can also be transferred to the foetus and cause severe developmental defects.
Types of Mayonnaise
There are several varieties of mayonnaise available, and you can decide which one you want to get based on the egg and fat content. Here are the different kinds of mayonnaise available in the market:
- Full-Fat Mayonnaise: This contains 65%-75% fat.
- Light Mayonnaise: This has low-fat content (less than 30%) and 3% egg. It may contain a thickening agent like corn starch.
- Extra Mayonnaise: It contains about 4% egg and 10% fat.
- Real Mayonnaise: This contains 6% egg and over 78% fat.
Nutritional Values of Mayonnaise
Whether you opt for homemade, fresh, or commercially produced mayonnaise, it is important to know the nutritional content and ingredients to make sure it is healthy for you and your baby. Here is the nutritional content of mayonnaise:
- Mayonnaise is very high in calories. It contains 700 Kcal per 100 grams or 94 Kcal per tablespoon.
- Mayonnaise is also very high in fat content. One tablespoon of mayonnaise contains 5 mg of cholesterol.
- One tablespoon of mayonnaise can contain up to 125 mg of sodium. The recommended daily salt intake should not exceed 2 gm.
- Mayonnaise also contains vitamins A, D, E, K, B6, and B12.
How Much Mayonnaise Should You Consume During Pregnancy?
You can consume mayonnaise by using it as a dressing on your salad or spreading it on your bread slices before making a healthy veggie or chicken sandwich. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can mix in other condiments with mayonnaise and make it a fun dip for your carrot sticks, turning it into a healthy snack! But consume it in a limited amount.
Furthermore, do remember that you consume mayonnaise made of pasteurised eggs only (and in limited quantities). For a healthy pregnancy, eat it once in a while!
Can Mayonnaise Be Harmful During Pregnancy?
Although mayonnaise contains several vitamins and minerals, excessive consumption can cause harm to you and your baby. Some of the effects of excessive mayonnaise consumption are:
- High-Calorie Content: As mayonnaise is very high in calories, having mayonnaise with other foods can lead to over-consumption of calories, which may result in excess weight gain.
- High Sodium Content: Mayonnaise is very high in salt content. One cup of mayonnaise contains nearly 50% of the daily recommended intake of sodium. High sodium can cause dangerous spikes in blood pressure, which can be detrimental to both the baby and the mother-to-be.
- High-Fat Content: Mayonnaise has a high fat content. Studies have shown that high amounts of fat consumed by the mother-to-be can harm the baby’s immune system. Furthermore, a high-fat diet during pregnancy can affect the brain and endocrine system of the baby.
- May Contain Artificial Preservatives: Commercially made mayonnaise contains chemicals and additives to keep it from spoiling. These chemicals may not be safe for the growing baby. The chemicals may cause side-effects such as fatigue, nausea and allergies in pregnant women.
Tips for Selecting the Right Mayonnaise
Here are some tips for choosing the right type of mayonnaise:
- Read the Manufacturing Details: Read the manufacturing details carefully to know how the mayonnaise was prepared. Make sure it has been produced in a hygienic environment.
- Check the Label: Read the label to ensure that the product does not contain raw eggs.
- Choose One Made From Pasteurized Eggs: Always buy mayonnaise that has been prepared using pasteurised eggs.
- Do Not Buy Homemade or Conventional Brands: Do not buy homemade or conventional brands of mayonnaise, as they will most likely contain raw eggs.
- Ask Farm Shops and Restaurants If the Eggs Are Raw: Ask farm shops and restaurant owners if their mayonnaise contains raw eggs before you buy the mayonnaise.
Healthier Alternatives to Mayonnaise
In case you are concerned about the high fat and sodium content present in mayonnaise and are worried about the threat of salmonellosis, you can try these healthier alternatives:
- Commercially sold eggless mayonnaise
- Tofu mayonnaise
- Mustard sauce
- Low-fat sour cream
- Almond or cashew paste spread
How You Can Make Mayonnaise at Home
You can enjoy homemade mayonnaise using pasteurised eggs. Here’s how!
- Take two pasteurised eggs. Separate the yolks into a bowl.
- Add half a teaspoon of mustard powder and 1/4th teaspoon of salt. Whisk and combine well.
- Whisk in 1 teaspoon of vinegar and 1.5 teaspoons of lemon juice.
- Slowly add in 3/4th cup of olive oil while continuously whisking the mixture until well blended.
- If it appears like the oil is not blending, stop adding oil and keep whisking till it blends. Then continue adding the rest of the oil and ensure that it blends in well. Add 1/4th teaspoon of white pepper and adjust the salt.
- Cool this in the fridge until ready to use.
1. Is Commercial Mayonnaise Safe?
Commercial mayonnaise is made from pasteurised eggs and is free from bacteria that cause food-borne illnesses. It is better to be safe by consuming only pasteurised mayonnaise during pregnancy.
2. Can I Eat Hollandaise and Bearnaise Sauces During Pregnancy?
Hollandaise and bearnaise sauces are made by mixing eggs and clarified butter on low heat. The heating can get rid of some of the bacteria, but not all of it. These sauces can be eaten if they are made using pasteurised eggs.
3. Can I Eat Expired Mayonnaise During Pregnancy?
Usually, expired mayonnaise can still be eaten 3-4 months after the best-before date. However, pregnancy is not the time to take unnecessary risks by eating spoilt or expired foods. This can make you ill and affect your baby. So, it is better to avoid expired mayonnaise during pregnancy.
You do not have to avoid mayonnaise completely during pregnancy. Small amounts of mayonnaise will not harm the baby. You only need to ensure you don’t eat mayo made using raw eggs during pregnancy to prevent food-borne diseases.
Resources and References: Being the Parent