There’s a squabble brewing in U.S. governmental agencies over the recommendations for fish consumption by children and pregnant women. The Food and Drug Administration wants to reconsider the government recommendation for expecting moms and children to limit their fish intake, due to harmful levels of mercury.
But now there’s a proposal to encourage eating fish for its health benefits, and that has some folks with the Environmental Protection Agency challenging the validity of these new recommendations.
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I was reading an article discussing whether or not it is safe for people to eat fish. There is much controversy and debate over pregnant women not eating fish because the mercury found in fish can have a detrimental effect on fetal brain development. However, a more recent study showed that children of women who ate fish on a frequent basis did better on tests displaying higher cognitive scores compared to the children of women who did not eat fish.
There is no doubt that fish is a healthy food- it’s a good source of high-quality protein, contains essential nutrients, are low in saturated fat, contain omega-3 fatty acids and DHA; all of which are vital to brain growth and development and help reduce your risk of heart disease. However, some caution is needed regarding eating too much fish that contain high amounts of mercury.
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The United States has been reporting for the past couple of years, on the dangerous levels of mercury contained in certain fish, most notably, tuna. In high concentrations, this metal can cause very serious brain damage which is why pregnant and nursing women and children are often recommended to severly limit their intake of fish known to contain mercury.
Last week, The New York Times reported that eight of 44 pieces of tuna sampled from restaurants all over the city contained levels of mercury that meet the Food and Drug Administration’s measure for taking the fish off the market completely. That’s scary stuff, especially when sushi restaurants are almost as ubiquotious as pizza joints. Well, maybe they are not at that level of popularity yet, but we’re getting close.
Having been pregnant myself, I still find myself adhering to most of the restrictions that pregnant women are supposed to follow in regards to diet (no raw fish, no unpasturized food or beverages, no alcohol and no caffeine). Why? Because I feel that these restrictions, which are for the benefit and safety of the woman’s health and her baby’s, say something about the unsafety of our own food supply, or at least the unknowns of the food that stocks are grocery store shelves. And I care too much about my health and my longevity to give in to a passing craving for a piece of tuna sashimi.
If you are pregnant, give these pregnancy diets a look.