If you’re reading this, you may be pregnant or thinking about conceiving soon — and you’ve probably heard many conflicting ideas on what you can and can’t put in your body, particularly when it comes to seafood. Sushi can be a big no-no. What’s more, other types of fish can contain high levels of mercury. Since this metal can accumulate in your bloodstream, it can have an impact on the developing brain and nervous system of a baby, according to the Mayo Clinic. High-mercury fish include shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish.
However, there are upsides to consuming certain seafood when you’re pregnant, because fish and shellfish contain protein, iron, and zinc, as well as the all-important omega-3 fatty acid which can promote the development of your baby’s brain. And there’s one offering from the sea that’s truly the best and most beneficial for pregnant women.
Salmon is a healthy choice for pregnant women
One fish that doctors can agree on is salmon. The American Pregnancy Association says a pregnant (or breastfeeding) woman may have between 8 to 12 ounces — or about two to three servings — of the recommended fatty fish a week. Other than the fact that salmon is very high in omega-3 fatty acids, it is also high in a certain acid called DHA, which also helps boost fetal brain development (via The Daily Meal).
What the American Pregnancy Association is not recommending, is that you give fish a hard pass altogether. It says that while omega-3 supplements are helpful, they don’t provide other nutrients a pregnant woman might need to keep the baby healthy. Mayo Clinic adds that research currently doesn’t indicate whether these supplements are as beneficial to a baby’s brain development as the omega-3s derived from eating fish. But if you’re vegetarian and don’t want to expand your diet while you are pregnant, there are other food sources that might help you get omega-3s, including flaxseed, canola oil, walnuts, sunflower seeds, and soybeans.
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