Cold-pressed juicing is a trendy way to make delicious juice. This method of juicing also preserves more nutrients that are typically killed in the heating process. However, is cold-pressed juice safe for pregnant women?
Unfortunately, cold-pressed juice is unpasteurized and not safe for pregnancy. Pregnant women should opt for store-bought pasteurized juice instead.
Cold-pressed juice is unpasteurized and may contain harmful bacteria. Yet, it’s thought by many to be healthy. Is there another caveat?
Is Cold Pressed Juice Safe During Pregnancy?
Cold-pressed juicing is a popular way to obtain juice from fruits and vegetables using a hydraulic press. The fruits are slowly crushed and then juiced.
Whereas traditional juicing methods involve a centrifugal juicer, which processes at high speed and produces heat, the cold-pressed juicing method uses a hydraulic press. The processing is slow and does not create very much heat.
One downside of cold-pressed juice is that the hydraulic press method of processing removes the pulp from the juice. The pulp contains the insoluble fiber from the fruits and vegetables. This is unlike traditional and commercial processing, in which pulp remains in the juice.
Fiber promotes a healthy gastrointestinal tract and digestive system during pregnancy and helps reduce constipation. It also acts as a prebiotic, meaning that it feeds the bacteria in the gut microbiome – the community of healthy bacteria living in the gastrointestinal tract. The fiber from the pulp is removed in the hydraulic press method.
However, there are also some downsides to traditional juicing. In traditional juicing for commercial purposes, the juice is typically pasteurized. Pasteurization is the process of heating food or beverages to kill any potential bacteria.
Pasteurization destroys some of the nutrients, vitamins and minerals that are heat-sensitive, and also inactivates digestive enzymes (source: Rutgers University). For example, in orange juice specifically, heat from pasteurization reduces the amount of vitamin C, a helpful micronutrient that supports a healthy immune system, wound healing, and cell growth.
The main reason cold-pressed juicing uses a hydraulic juicer is to avoid using heat in the juicing process. This process maintains the maximum amount of vitamins and minerals in the juice. However, since cold-pressed juice is raw and never heated, it is unfortunately never pasteurized.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends that pregnant women avoid unpasteurized products, including fruit juices, due to the risk of consuming harmful bacteria.
Although fruit and vegetable juices have high acidity, which tends to kill off some harmful bacteria, there is still a risk of contamination from harmful microorganisms in cold-pressed juice due to the lack of pasteurization.
Some research suggests that pasteurization may not have such a detrimental effect on the nutrient composition. Instead, the heat may turn the vitamins and minerals into more bioavailable forms, meaning the body can more easily use them (source: Rutgers University).
However, some companies have decided to use high-pressure processing to avoid the pasteurization of their cold-pressed juice, while also killing any potentially harmful bacteria and microorganisms that may be present (source: Rutgers University).
High-pressure processing of juice also extends the shelf life of cold-pressed juices, making them desirable for companies.
Unfortunately, homemade cold-pressed juice is also not recommended for pregnant women as there is still a risk of harmful microorganisms and bacteria. Therefore, it is not recommended to consume cold-pressed juice during pregnancy or breastfeeding. Pregnant women should opt for a store-bought commercially made juice that has been pasteurized to kill any harmful bacteria.
Fortunately, the majority of fruit and vegetable juices in the United States are pasteurized and therefore safe to consume during pregnancy (source: Rutgers University).
What Should I Do if I Drank Cold-Pressed Juice When Pregnant?
If you drank cold-pressed during your pregnancy, it is very unlikely that you will experience a problem. However, it is essential to be aware of any symptoms if they occur. These symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, and flu-like symptoms, including fever, body ache, and headache (source: FDA).
If you experience any of these symptoms, contact your physician immediately out of an abundance of caution.
I hope you found this article helpful in determining how to incorporate cold-pressed juice into your diet during pregnancy safely.