After pregnancy, eating what, drinking what, not eating what, not drinking what… These are all related to the health of the baby, and expectant mothers may wish to become nutrition experts overnight.
There are many true and false statements about eating seafood during pregnancy. The following is a look at the latest guidelines on this issue, which are all very practical suggestions.
Benefits and Risks of Seafood to Pregnant Women
Everything has two sides, and seafood is the same for pregnant women.
Seafood is rich in protein, iron and zinc, which are key nutrients for fetal growth and development. In addition, many marine fish are rich in-3 fatty acids, which can promote fetal brain development.
However, some seafood also needs the attention of pregnant women. In particular, large predatory fish such as sharks, sailfish, mackerel and square head fish may contain high concentrations of mercury.
Although the concentration of mercury in these seafood is not harmful to what in most adults, it is better to pay attention if you are pregnant or preparing for pregnancy. If expectant mothers often eat these fish with high mercury content, mercury will accumulate in the blood, eventually affecting the development of the fetus’s brain and nervous system.
How much seafood should I eat?
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommend a maximum seafood intake of 12 ounces (about 340 grams) per week for pregnant women. The 2010 U.S. Dietary Guidelines recommend that pregnant women should consume 8-12 ounces (about 227-340 grams) of seafood per week or eat two seafood meals.
Of course, this figure is not a strict indicator. Some studies have pointed out that pregnant women who ate slightly more seafood than FDA recommended did not show adverse results.
Which seafood can be eaten safely?
It is recommended to eat seafood rich in-3 fatty acids and low in mercury, such as:
- Salmon, anchovies, herring, sardines, trout, Atlantic and Pacific mackerel
Shrimp, cod and catfish are also safer choices.
Albacore tuna and tuna steak should not be consumed more than 6 ounces (about 170 grams) a week. In addition, although the mercury content in most canned tuna is safe, even for the same brand, the mercury content in each can may vary greatly.
Suggestions on Eating Seafood during Pregnancy
Avoid eating large predatory fish: Considering reducing mercury intake, do not eat sharks, sailfish, mackerel and square head fish.
Avoid undercooked fish and shellfish: In order to avoid harmful pathogens, try not to eat undercooked fish and shellfish, including sushi, sashimi and refrigerated fresh food that is rough processed, pickled, smoked or air dried.
Cooking seafood correctly: Cooking must at least ensure that the internal temperature of the fish reaches 145 ° F (63 ℃). Fish should be cooked until the meat can be easily separated into lumps and the color is opaque. Shrimp, lobster and scallop should be cooked until milky white. Shellfish need to be cooked until their shells are open, and those that do not need to be thrown away.
How to obtain-3 fatty acid by other means?
In addition to seafood,-3 fatty acids can also be supplemented from the following sources:
Natural foods: flaxseed seeds and oil, rapeseed oil, walnuts, sunflower seeds, pine nuts and soybeans (hairy beans) are all good sources of-3 fatty acids.
Fortified foods: At present, some yogurt, milk, eggs, bread and some meat (such as chicken and pork) fortified with-3 fatty acids can also be considered as sources of-3 fatty acids.
Supplements: Nutritional supplements with-3 fatty acids are also an option, but pregnant women must consult a doctor before taking them.
However, researchers have not yet determined whether plant-derived-3 fatty acids can promote fetal brain development. Although pregnant women can obtain-3 fatty acids from a variety of sources, most people currently believe that fatty fish is the best source of-3 fatty acids.
Although mercury can damage the brain development of the fetus, so far no adverse reactions have been found when eating seafood with normal low mercury concentration during pregnancy.
A variety of marine fish, especially salmon and tuna, are rich in-3 fatty acids, which can promote fetal brain development. As long as you avoid eating fish with high mercury content or contaminated fish, seafood is actually an indispensable part of a healthy diet during pregnancy.
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