Omega-3 and Mercury Matter Before PregnancyWednesday, December 18th, 2013
Fish oil is good for us. In recent years a lot of information has come out about the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids. DHA and EPA omega-3s are good for fetal brain development as well as other health benefits in adults. They can be found in fatty fish, walnuts, flaxseeds and vegetable oils like canola, soybean and olive oil. Certain fortified foods such as milk, juice, bread and yogurt also have them.
Seafood can be an important part of a balanced diet. It’s a good source of high-quality protein and other nutrients and it’s low in fat. Some fish, however, are high in mercury which can be harmful to an unborn baby’s developing nervous system. Methyl mercury is a metal that can be found in certain fish, such as swordfish, tilefish, king mackerel, and shark.
Recent studies have shown that mercury can accumulate in the body over time. Our bodies remove it naturally but if you become pregnant with a high level in your body it can harm a growing fetus.
The Monterey Bay Aquarium has an excellent website called seafoodwatch.org http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/cr/seafoodwatch.aspx. You can access pocket guides that tell you which fish contain what amounts of mercury. I have one on my kitchen bulletin board.
None of this means you should not eat seafood. Just be aware and follow the guidelines of what kind of fish and how much is safe to eat.