It might sound questionable, but alligator meat actually has a delicious flavor. This not-so-common meat is popular in the southern United States. If you find yourself having cravings for it during pregnancy, you might wonder if it’s safe.
Unfortunately, due to the high mercury level content of alligator meat, it is recommended that women avoid consuming it while they are pregnant. Instead, opt for a safer lean protein such as chicken, fish, or lean beef.
In this article, we will dive into more information about eating meat from alligators during your pregnancy.
Is it Safe to Eat Alligator When Pregnant?
Alligator meat is popular in the United States, specifically in the southern states. It has a unique flavor and texture that can be easily substituted in recipes that call for chicken, seafood, or veal (Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services).
Additionally, “Gator Bites,” alligator kabobs, and other forms of alligator meat are commonly enjoyed.
Unfortunately, previous studies, primarily from the 1990s and early 2000s, have demonstrated some mercury content in alligator meat (source: Georgia Department of Natural Resources). Researchers concluded that it often contains a high level of mercury, so it is best for pregnant women to avoid it.
Is Alligator Beneficial for Pregnant Women?
Despite its impressive nutritional profile, pregnant women should not eat alligator meat.
A 100-gram portion (which is approximately 3.2 ounces) of alligator meat has 232 calories, 4 grams of total fat, and 46 grams of protein (Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services). That’s a lot of protein!
As a pregnant woman, you need about 71 grams of protein per day to support your baby’s growth and development throughout the pregnancy (source: Mayo Clinic). Therefore, 3.2 ounces of alligator meat already has more than half of the daily requirement.
Alligator meat does not contain any carbohydrates, cholesterol, sodium, saturated fat, or trans fat.
However, because of the high mercury content mentioned above, you should avoid eating it during your pregnancy. Instead, stick with other lean proteins such as poultry, seafood, lean beef, or vegetarian protein sources, such as tofu or tempeh.
As with any type of meat, make sure you cook whatever source of protein you choose thoroughly. For example, cooking your chicken to at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit is recommended to reduce the risk of foodborne illness (source: United States Food and Drug Administration [FDA]).
Eliminate the risk of cross-contamination by keeping raw meat separate from anything that will not be cooked, such as lettuce or vegetables. Use different cutting boards and knives, and wipe down countertops between uses. Additionally, always wash your hands thoroughly after touching raw meat, poultry, seafood, or eggs.
I hope this article helped explain the safety and nutritional benefits of alligator meat for you during your pregnancy.