29 September 2008

Advice for Childbearing Women: Eat Fish...

...but not too much. From a Harvard study:

The research, which looked at 25,446 children born to mothers participating in a Danish study between 1997 and 2002, found that children whose mothers ate the most fish during pregnancy (about 2 ounces a day on average) were more likely to have better motor and cognitive skills. Meanwhile, those whose mothers ate the least fish had the lowest developmental scores at 18 months of age.

Children who were breast-fed for longer periods of time also scored better, especially at 18 months. Breast milk also contains omega-3 fatty acids.

And from the Food Standards Agency:

Women of child bearing age, including pregnant and breastfeeding women, and girls, can eat up to two portions of oily fish a week.

Fish that are high in omega-3 fatty acids ("oily fish"): mackerel, smelt, lake trout, herring, sardines, anchovies, albacore tuna and salmon.

Fish that are highest in mercury and should NOT be eaten by pregnant/lactating women: shark, swordfish, king mackerel and tilefish.

Fish that are somewhat high in mercury and should rarely be eaten: grouper, tuna, orange roughy, marlin, red snapper.


Mark said...

I always wonder how healthy catfish are? On the one hand, they can be fishfarmed and wouldn't absorb mercury like a shark or swordfish. On the other hand, they're practically swimming hotdogs.

WestEnder said...

I checked out the catfish data a while back because I eat it all the time. They are among the safer choices as far as mercury and PCBs are concerned.

Generally speaking, fish grown on U.S. farms are a better choice than foreign fish because the U.S. has more stringent quality controls.