Often called “brain food,” the nutritious benefits derived from eating fish has been well documented and well-known for many years. Fish is a rich source of valuable Omega fatty acids, which are essential for various body functions. Now, a recent nutritional study states that eating fish is not only beneficial for expecting mothers, but for their unborn children as well, because of fish’s rich Omega-3 fatty acid content. In the past, the risk of mercury poisoning from eating fish while pregnant caused many doctors and scientists to dissuade expecting moms from eating fish. However, now, researchers are saying that the benefits of eating fish may outweigh the risks.
Omega-3’s cannot be produced by the human body naturally. Therefore, it is essential to eat a healthy amount of fish to be able to reap its benefits. Considered a high protein, low-calorie “brain and heart food” because of the strands of Omega-3 found in fish oils, eating fish high in essential fatty acids is paramount for full-body wellness.
The benefits derived from eating fish while pregnant have been studied by researchers at Ulster University in Northern Ireland. Comments by Sean Strain, Ph.D. (professor of Human Nutrition), state that the research provided them with the opportunity to study the role of polyunsaturated fatty acids on fetal development and their potential to supplement or offset the toxic characteristics of mercury. The study concluded that the child’s neurological development could be influenced by the types of fatty acids that a mother consumed during pregnancy.
Although a chance exists that eating large quantities of ocean fish during pregnancy could expose you to mercury, the benefits of consuming omega-3 fatty acids far outweigh the chances of mercury poisoning.
The lead author of the study, Phillip Davidson from Seychelles Child Development, says that the relationship between mercury and the nutrients derived from eating fish is more complex than appreciated. Their findings show that there may be a preferred balance between the various inflammatory properties of fatty acids that promote the development of the fetus and that these findings require further study.
Based on the new data, it is not clear whether limiting your fish intake during pregnancy is actually warranted when it is offset against the benefits received to both the mother and the unborn child. It’s clear that the presence of Omega-3 fatty acids in a pregnant women’s diet holds great benefits for an unborn child. However, it’s also clear that mercury that sometimes found in fish can lead to birth defects, et al.
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