can i eat biltong while pregnant

Can I Eat Biltong While Pregnant?

Pregnancy brings about a multitude of changes, including dietary considerations. While some foods are off-limits during this crucial time, you may wonder if it’s safe to enjoy biltong – a popular dried meat snack originating from South Africa. In this article, we’ll delve into the question of whether or not biltong is a suitable snack for expecting mothers.

What is Biltong?

Biltong consists of thin strips of raw meat that are seasoned with spices like salt, pepper, and coriander, and then air-dried to preserve their flavor. Traditionally made from beef, this snack has gained popularity worldwide due to its long shelf life and high protein content.

can i eat biltong while pregnant

The Concerns with Biltong During Pregnancy

When it comes to eating biltong during pregnancy, there are a few potential concerns to be aware of:

1. Food Safety:

Because biltong is dried rather than cooked, there is a risk of contamination with bacteria such as Salmonella or Listeria. These pathogens can cause serious illnesses, especially during pregnancy, when your immune system is weakened. It’s crucial to ensure that the biltong you consume is hygienically prepared, stored, and sourced from a reputable supplier.

2. Sodium Intake:

Biltong is often seasoned with salt, which can contribute to higher sodium intake. Excessive sodium levels may lead to complications like high blood pressure or swelling during pregnancy. As these conditions can be harmful to both you and your baby, it’s important to monitor your sodium intake and consume biltong in moderation, opting for low-sodium varieties whenever possible.

The Benefits of Biltong During Pregnancy

Despite the potential concerns, biltong also offers some benefits that may make it a suitable snack choice during pregnancy:

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1. Protein Powerhouse:

Biltong is packed with protein, which is essential for fetal development and growth. Protein assists in the formation of your baby’s organs, muscles, and tissues. Consuming adequate protein during pregnancy can also help prevent complications such as low birth weight.

2. Nutrient Density:

Aside from being a high-protein food, biltong also contains various essential vitamins and minerals. These include iron, zinc, vitamin B12, and niacin. Iron is particularly important during pregnancy as it aids in the production of red blood cells and helps prevent anemia.

3. Convenient and Portable:

One major advantage of biltong is its convenience. This snack is shelf-stable, meaning it does not require refrigeration and can be easily carried with you wherever you go. This can be especially beneficial when pregnancy cravings strike or you need a quick and nutritious on-the-go snack.


Ultimately, the decision to consume biltong during pregnancy is a personal one. While it offers several nutritional benefits, it’s important to be cautious and mindful of potential food safety risks and sodium intake. If you choose to incorporate biltong into your diet, ensure that it is hygienically prepared and consumed in moderation. Consulting your healthcare provider is also advised, as they can offer personalized guidance based on your specific nutritional needs and any potential pregnancy-related complications.

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