Fishy diet – in moderation – when pregnant improves the child’s metabolism

To eat or not to eat fish is a question that has long concerned pregnant women. Now, a new USC study shows that children whose mothers ate fish from one to three times a week during pregnancy were more likely to have a better metabolic profile — despite the risk of exposure to mercury — than children whose mothers ate fish rarely (less than once a week).

“Pregnant women should stick to one to three servings of fish a week as recommended, and not eat more, because of the potential contamination of fish by mercury and other persistent organic pollutants.”

Dr. Leda Chatzi, associate professor of preventive medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC

Fish is a major source of omega-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids which are important for the developing fetus.

Eating salmon during pregnancy may reduce risk of asthma in offspring in later life

However, some types, such as swordfish, shark and mackerel, can contain high levels of mercury — a potent toxin that can cause permanent neurological damage. Mercury contamination is also found in soil, air, water and plants.

More fish is not better

In other news: Drinking orange juice and tomato juice while pregnant has been shown to improve infant intelligence

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The children of women who ate fish from one to three times a week had lower metabolic syndrome scores than the children of women who ate fish less than once a week.

But the benefit declined if women ate fish more than three times a week.


Photos: Smoked salmon on toast by Lum3n at | Cooked salmon steak on lettuce by Dana Tentis at