Wednesday, July 3, 2019

What fish can you eat during pregnancy

The consumption of fish during pregnancy, especially due to its mercury content, is one of the issues that can cause most doubts to pregnant women. We clarify which and how many rations to take and which ones to avoid.



Practising a healthy diet during pregnancy , as in other stages of life, can prevent diseases or complications. In this case, in addition, food plays an important role in the health and physical and mental development of the baby. what can and can not do an adequate feeding of the mother for the baby. Among others, he states that he can prevent disorders related to muscle function, contribute to the proper development of his organs or influence the correct functioning of his immune system.


To define what healthy eating would be, we should think of two fundamental premises: on the one hand, the avoidance of superfluous or overly processed products; on the other, prioritize the consumption of foods such as vegetables and fruits, nuts without salt, whole grains and legumes . Also, although to a lesser extent, dairy products , vegetable oils, fish and unprocessed meats, red meat being the least recommended, and whose consumption should not exceed 500 grams a week.


As we see, nothing out of the ordinary, however, in one of these very common foods sometimes arise doubts about their consumption, or at least, on which in particular is best to take and which to avoid or reduce during pregnancy: fish .


Which fish to consume and which ones to avoid during pregnancy



The intake of fish during pregnancy "should be limited to one or two servings a weekand no more than three or four." Add the nutritionist to get an idea, just know that a generous ration are 150-200 grams net of fish, ie without head or spines.
Although the consumption of fish does not present any problem for the pregnant woman in principle, it is the mercury that these animals accumulate in their bodies due to the pollution of the water of our rivers, seas and oceans . Faced with the question of which fish are more or less recommended during pregnancy, Merino clarifies that all can be consumed, bearing in mind that large fish such as swordfish, shark, bluefin tuna and pike are bioaccumulators of mercury.


As recommended by its contribution of nutrients such as omega-3, and a more moderate level of mercury, highlights the blue fish : mackerel, salmon, sardines ... Of course, we must take special care with tuna tins, since it is possible to find bluefin tuna labeled as 'light tuna'"We should not exceed two cans a week," .


To avoid any risk, it is also recommended to cook the fish well , freeze it at least 72 hours before consumption and avoid raw fish preparations , since any poisoning can be fatal to the fetus.


Bad for mercury or good for omega-3 ?: doubts and certainties



One of the most common doubts regarding the consumption of fish is related to mercury. Although the Spanish Ministry of Health recommended pregnant women (and also infants) in 2011 to avoid eating the most contaminated species with mercury , a more recent report by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) does not consider it justified that women avoid any fish"The EFSA does not believe that it is necessary to stop consuming large fish, but it has indicated that taking more than three or four servings of fish per week can mean consuming too much mercury. This applies to the entire adult population, whether or not they are pregnant or lactating women. The reason for limiting it in pregnant women is that large doses of mercury cross the placenta and can cause alterations in the neural development of the fetus ", explains this expert.


To publicize the levels of accumulation of this substance, the New York Department of Health and Mental Health elaborated in 2011 the document Eat fish, choose wisely . It explains in detail how to avoid an excessive intake of mercury and divided the most popular fish into four groups:









  • Fish with very low mercury content: anchovies, clams, river lobsters, hake, herring, sardines, shrimp, whiting.









  • Fish with low mercury content: pomfret, cod, crab, mussels, Atlantic mackerel, perch, sole, squid, canned tuna.









  • Fish with high mercury content: sea bass, eel, lobster, monkfish, sea trout, ray, snapper, albacore tuna or albacore type, also in can.









  • Fish with too high a mercury content: grouper, mackerel, marlin, shark, swordfish, fresh tuna.

Another issue that may produce some uncertainty regarding fish is omega-3 . According to Merino, "omega-3 is a long-chain fatty acid that has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant function and also is part of cell membranes, so in pregnancy should be consumed regularly. Fatty acid is important because, among the benefits it provides , it improves cognitive and neurological function in the baby: it promotes brain development, helps the development of vision and reduces the risk of preeclampsia.

Other studies on the subject have affirmed that taking fish in pregnancy reduces the risk of premature birth , thanks to the anti-inflammatory effects of these fatty acids; and if it is especially rich in DHA (such as salmon or sardines) it even helps to prevent schizophrenia .

The nutritionist adds that although the omega-3 is mainly found in blue fish (sardines, anchovies, anchovies, bonito, tuna, jack mackerel, salmon, mackerel, herring, conger, sea trout, red mullet, swordfish, turbot ) and shellfish (mussels, oysters, cockles), can also be synthesized by our body from precursors present, especially in foods of vegetable origin, such as nuts.

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