Contrary to the popular belief, pregnant women are encouraged to include fish in their meals as a means of preventing risks concerning both the mother and the baby. The new discoveries were published in a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Why is fish important during a pregnancy? Research showed that the unborn babies benefit immensely from the n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids which are found in high numbers in the ocean fish. Before this study was released, the doctors’ main concern was the possible side-effect of mercury poisoning through a high consumption of fish. However, these findings show that there are much more benefits overtaking the risks in the case of pregnant women.
Sean Strain, the Human Nutrition professor who conducted the research, explains that the fatty acids ingested by the mother may have an impact on the baby’s neurological development. This impact has its roots in the Omega 3 coming from the fish, which has a tremendous role in the development of the baby’s eyes and brain. Not only does it help in forming the brain and the eyes, but the fatty acids also provide a sort of “shield” around the brain, protecting it from mercury-produced toxic acids.
A high intake of fish is highly recommended for all of us, as the human body is not able to produce Omega 3 on its own. However, the pregnant ladies should include fish in their meals even more, reaching as high as 12 fish-based meals per week of pregnancy.
The study included a survey conducted by a team of researchers from the Ulster University, as they inquired about how fish benefited pregnant women. This survey observed approximately 1,500 pregnant women from the Republic of Seychelles. They were closely monitored for about 20 months, and they were chosen as participants because of the region’s large consumption of fish, higher than the average of any other country. The people of Seychelles come to an average of 8 meals which include fish, in a form or another, per week.
The results of the research showed that women who ate more fish during their pregnancies gave birth to much healthier babies. Even so, after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) revealed a contradicting report on fish intake during pregnancy, the researchers were asked to reevaluate the benefits and the risks.
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