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Seafood That Is Safe To Eat During Pregnancy

Fish are extremely healthy and packed full of Omega-3 fatty acids – a nutrient that is vital for a healthy pregnancy. However, the fact of the matter is that certain fish including tuna are known to contain contaminants like PCBs, mercy and dioxins, all of which tend to cause breast cancer, learning problems and many other health issues. The worst part about these contaminants is that they pass from the mother to child during pregnancy and through breastfeeding as well.

Most women out there are unsure of the rules on fish and pregnancy. Over the years, a number of conflicting views have come up in this regard, but the simple fact is that fish is very healthy. But of course, it is full of mercury too – on the one hand, it is loaded with baby-friendly DHA, but on the other hand, it is full of PCBs too. So what’s the real deal here? Should pregnant women have fish or not? The bottom line is that eating fish of the right types is extremely healthy for pregnant women and is actually recommended for both you and your baby. Here’s a bit of information about seafood that is safe to eat during pregnancy:

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7 Cooked shellfish

Eating shellfish during pregnancy is completely safe as long as it has been thoroughly cooked. The fact of the matter is that any bacteria or viruses contained within the shellfish usually die when they are thoroughly cooked. However, you need to bear in mind the fact that in case any toxins are present in shellfish, cooking is not going to remove them. On the whole, experts in the field have labeled cooked shellfish a safe to eat seafood during pregnancy. If you have concerns as to whether you should eat shellfish during pregnancy or not, make sure that you get in touch with your health care provider right away.

Eating shellfish during pregnancy does not pose any risk as such as long as you cook it thoroughly. If anything, shellfish happen to be packed full of nutrients that play an important role in maintaining and progressing a healthy pregnancy. For the record, fish and shellfish happen to be a very important part of a healthy diet. For this reason, you should not stop consuming fish and shellfish once you get pregnant. Remember, there are nutrients found in shellfish that can play an important role in your baby’s growth and development in the womb, so make sure that you consume shellfish during pregnancy in moderate amounts at least.

Nutrients found in shellfish

Shellfish are particularly known to contain high quality protein and several other essential nutrients that assist the progress of a pregnancy. Apart from that, shellfish also happen to be low in saturated fat and contain adequate amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. Apart from assisting your baby’s proper growth and development, the consumption of shellfish can also contribute to your heart health. For this reason, make sure that shellfish are a regular part of your diet.

6 Salmon

We all know that contaminants make fish unsafe for consumption during pregnancy. However, you should also know that salmon happens to be an exception. Believe it or not, but this oily fish is packed full of omega-3 fatty acids, which promote visual and neurological development for the baby. The best part about omega-3 fatty acids is that these nutrients play a significant role in lowering your risk of pre-term delivery and pre-eclampsia. You should also know that salmon is one of the healthiest sources of proteins and B vitamins. However, moderation is key here and it is recommended by experts for pregnant women to limit themselves to two 6-ounce servings of salmon per week.

Pregnant women have major concerns when it comes to eating fish. Naturally, they are concerned for the well-being of their developing babies and wish to make the healthiest choices. Their concerns are genuine considering the adverse effects of consuming fish that are high in mercury. Fortunately, salmon is on the list of fish that have the lowest possible mercury levels and are totally safe for pregnant women craving that bit of seafood.

Preparing salmon – soothe your taste buds!

Although the consumption of salmon is safe for pregnant women, it is necessary for you to avoid raw preparations, including sushi. This is because raw fish at times consists of harmful bacteria and parasites that need to be avoided. Serve poached, baked or broiled salmon fillets with a side of vegetables and brown rice – that’s going to be one hell of a nutritious meal. If you want, you can even top a fresh salad with salmon. 

5 Cat fish

Cat fish is extremely nutritious and full of great minerals, vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids and lean protein. With so many nutrients found in catfish, there is no reason why you should refrain from consuming it during pregnancy. If anything, the nutrients contained within this fish will help your baby develop and assist in progressing your pregnancy. The best part about catfish is that it is considered to have the lowest mercury levels, so you can easily enjoy up to 6-oz servings a week. Remember, for your pregnancy to progress smoothly, it is highly recommended for you to eat a well-balanced diet that includes food from all the different food groups.

A majority of people out there enjoy the flavor of catfish, and the best part about it is that it offers endless health benefits too. Not only is the fish flavorful and delicious, it is nutritious too. By including this amazing fish in your diet, it will be easily possible for you to fulfill your protein needs and give your body the boost it needs in terms of fatty acids, vitamins and healthy fats. Just so you know, a 3-oz. serving of catfish consists of about 6.1g of fat and 122 calories – this low amount of calories is what makes it a healthy choice. The fat content in the fish is also very low, which adds to the reasons why it should be a part of a healthy diet plan during pregnancy.

Healthy fatty acids

If you want a tasty means of boosting your intake of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids during pregnancy, then it is highly recommended for you to eat cat fish. With one serving of this delicious fish, you will be able to acquire 875 mg of omega-6 and 220 mg of omega-3 fatty acids.

4 Anchovies

Women have an increased need for certain nutrients during pregnancy. These are inclusive of calcium, iron and docosahexaeconic acid – a type of omega-3 fatty acid. Believe it or not, but anchovies happen to be an amazing source of all these nutrients along with many others. What makes anchovies stand out is the fact that unlike larger fish, anchovies happen to be low in mercury – yes, the neurotoxin that pregnant women needs to be particularly careful about.

Anchovies are basically tiny fish that pack a punch of nutrients that are important for a woman during pregnancy. Including these small fish in your diet is one of the tastiest means of fulfilling these prenatal needs, but when doing so, make sure that you keep an eye on your salt consumption too. Best of all, the vitamin D that is found in anchovies is known to assist in the absorption of calcium, which is extremely important for your and your baby’s bone health. Most importantly, it also assists in reducing inflammation. Remember, vitamin D is not commonly found in the food supply and anchovies happen to be one of the few foods that contain it naturally. Just so you know, a 3-ounce serving of anchovies contains about 60 international units of vitamin D – that is nearly 10 percent of the daily required value.

They’re full of iron

It is advised for pregnant women to get at least 27 milligrams of iron per day – that is nearly 50% more than women who are not pregnant. Anchovies are a great source of iron, which adds to the reason why pregnant women should consume them. Most importantly, anchovies are also known to contain heme iron – the form of iron that is more easily absorbed than non-heme iron.

3 Herring

Oily fish like herring are safe to eat during pregnancy, and if anything, these fish should be a regular part of your diet for the nutrition that they have to offer. You need to bear in mind the fact that oily fish like herring work wonders for baby’s development during pregnancy. However, it is highly recommended for you to limit your portions so that you don’t have to worry about pollutants such as PCBs and dioxins. For the record, a portion happens to be nearly 140g when cooked, or nearly 170g before it is cooked.

Just so you know, oily fish such as herring, sprats and whitebait etc. are great for your baby’s eye and brain development. These fatty acids cannot be acquired from any other foods, which is why it is recommended for you to eat oily fish at least once or twice a week. Apart from that, these fish happen to be a great source of protein too. They consist of healthy fats that assist in reducing your cholesterol levels and in improving your health. All the ‘oily fish’ are particularly beneficial for a healthy pregnancy for the omega-3 fatty acids that they have to offer. Remember, these fatty acids are known to keep your heart healthy and can work wonders in improving your mood as well. It is, I suppose, for reasons such as these that fish have long been shown to be a vital part of the diet of many long-lived peoples’ lives around the world. 

How many servings should I have?

If you are pregnant, it is best for you to limit your consumption of herring to about 12 ounces or 2 servings a week. If you aren’t pregnant, you can have up to 3 servings a week.

2 Haddock

Pregnant women can enjoy haddock all through their pregnancy as part of the two six-ounce servings of low mercury cooked seafood they eat per week. As is obvious, it is recommended for pregnant women to limit the amount and kind of seafood they eat to prevent harm to themselves and their developing babies. Experts have claimed that haddock is in the class of fish that are considered to have the most minimum amount possible of mercury. However, during pregnancy, it is highly recommended for you to consume haddock only if it is fully cooked. Any raw or uncooked seafood, including haddock, should not be eaten – you are only allowed to have haddock that has been cooked to at least 145°F.

There are plenty other white fish that women can have during pregnancy. These are inclusive of turbot, halibut, sea bass and sea bream etc. However, the catch is that these fish have separate guidelines in terms of their consumption. Although it is safe for these fish to be consumed by a pregnancy woman, their serving should be limited to just two portions a week as they may have similar levels of pollutants to oily fish. But no matter which fish you wish to eat, it is highly recommended for you to make sure that it is cooked properly so that you don’t have to worry about dealing with the risk of food poisoning.

It can help lower your child’s risk of developing ADHD

Eating fish like haddock during pregnancy has shown to lower the risk of your child developing certain ADHD-like symptoms later on in life. However, this benefit can only be gained through the consumption of fish like haddock, and big fish like swordfish and tuna have no benefits to offer in this regard.

1 Sardines

As sardines are small fish, they are one of the best seafood that you can eat during pregnancy due to the low amounts of mercury they possess. The best part about sardines is that these are very high in protein, fatty acids and calcium. As long as you don’t eat these raw, sardines don’t pose a risk to your pregnancy.

Sardines are what you can consider a ‘health food in a can’. This is because they are literally oozing with omega-3 fatty acids, which are extremely important for your baby’s eye and brain development. Research studies have even shown that women who eat fish like sardines during their pregnancy are more likely to give birth to sociable and brainy babies. In this research study, the consumption of oily fish like sardines, tuna and salmon during pregnancy produced infants who later scored better in various tests of intelligence and skill. The infant children were basically tested on their fine motor and social skills together with verbal intelligence quizzes. Kids of mothers who consumed the most oily fish during pregnancy were found to do the best in the tests. For the record, the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish like sardines contain the acid DHA, which is a major component of brain cell membranes.

How to eat sardines?

If you want to eat sardines, it is best for you to choose the ones packed in sardine or olive oil. You can either toss them in salad or eat them on a cracker spread with Dijon mustard. Not only are sardines nutritious, they are delicious too!

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