Getting enough calcium in your diet during pregnancy is not only important for your baby's bones but yours too. While it's not safe for you to drink raw milk, you can drink calcium-rich cultured milk, also known as buttermilk, as long as it's pasteurized. Talk to your doctor for help following a safe and healthy diet during pregnancy.
What Is Cultured Milk?
It was once the milk left over after making butter, hence the name buttermilk. But now milk is cultured by adding the lactic acid bacteria Streptococcus lactis to pasteurized nonfat or low-fat milk. The bacteria ferments the milk, making it more acidic, creating a tangy-flavored thick milk product, which is referred to as buttermilk or cultured buttermilk.
Nutrition in Cultured Milk
Despite its thick and creamy taste, cultured milk is nutritionally similar to the low-fat or nonfat milk used to make it. A 1-cup serving of low-fat cultured milk has only 98 calories and just 2 grams of fat. It's also a good source of protein with 8 grams per cup, which is also an important nutrient during pregnancy. The cultured milk can also help you meet your calcium needs, with 284 milligrams per serving. That's almost 30 percent of your daily calcium requirements during pregnancy.
Uses for Cultured Milk
While you can drink cultured milk as you would regular milk, it also works especially well in cooked foods. When you use cultured milk as the liquid in baked goods, it works with baking soda to add airiness, making your treats more tender and moist. Use the milk in soups to add a bit of tang and creaminess. The acid in the milk also makes a good meat tenderizer. Use it on your chicken or in a meat marinade.
Avoid All Raw Milk
When you're pregnant, your immune system changes, making you more vulnerable to certain bacteria, including those that cause food-borne illness. Raw milk is a potential source of a number of bacteria, including Listeria, Salmonella and E. coli. Exposure to these bacteria during pregnancy can be dangerous to you and your baby, which is why it's recommended that you not consume raw milk or raw milk products, including cultured milk made from raw milk. While cultured milk is made with bacteria, it's friendly bacteria, not the kind that causes harm.