Eat At Least 2 Servings of Seafood per Week to Boost Babies’ Brain Development
Choosing the right foods during pregnancy can make a big difference in your baby’s health and growth. Seafood is an essential part of a healthy diet for you and your unborn child or breastfed baby. The recent Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend pregnant and breastfeeding women eat 2 to 3 servings of seafood per week to improve babies’ eye and brain development. It is so important that the Dietary Guidelines for Americans suggest pregnant and breastfeeding women should eat no less than 8 ounces (2 servings) of seafood each week.
To get the recommended amounts and the health benefits, eat a variety of seafood, which can include all types of tuna – white (albacore) and light canned tuna. Pregnant women can eat up to 6 ounces of white (albacore) tuna per week.
There are only four fish to avoid during pregnancy and breastfeeding; shark, swordfish, king mackerel and tilefish. Most women in the U.S. already do not eat these types of seafood. If you are not pregnant or breastfeeding, there are no types of commercial seafood to avoid.
Help Your Baby Get a Good Night’s Sleep
Eating seafood increases the amount of essential omega-3s in a mother’s breast milk, which helps nourish developing babies. One study found that babies of mothers with higher DHA levels during pregnancy showed significantly quieter and less active sleep, and less sleep-wake transition than those of mothers with lower DHA levels. In other words, they slept better.
Eating seafood 2 to 3 times per week has scientifically-proven health benefits
The latest Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that everyone, including pregnant and breastfeeding women, should increase the amount of seafood they eat to 2 to 3 servings each week for heart and brain health benefits. At a time when people are told to limit many foods, seafood is among the handful of “winning” foods that Americans are encouraged to eat more of for their health.
Fight Alzheimer’s Disease
The nutrients found in seafood are important to your brain health. Studies have suggested that seafood nutrients, such as omega-3s, may reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and cognitive decline. The Alzheimer’s Association recommends that people should eat more fish high in omega-3s, such as tuna.
Protect Your Sight
Seafood may also help reduce the risk of chronic eye conditions, including macular degeneration. The American Optometric Associations says that eating omega-3s from sources like tuna or salmon is “linked to healthy eyes and may reduce risk of some chronic eye conditions.”
Maintain Your Joint Health
Nutrients found in seafood may help to relieve symptoms such as inflammation caused by rheumatoid arthritis. The Arthritis Association reports, “adding about two 3-ounce servings of seafood to your menu each week is a good way to increase your levels of omega-3s and help decrease the body’s inflammatory reaction.”
Keep Your Bones Strong
Eating the recommended amount of seafood may help protect against bone loss. One study suggests that the combination of nutrients found in seafood – particularly the omega-3s, DHA and EPA – can help you maintain your bone density.v This is particularly important for those concerned about osteoporosis. So take control of your heart health – it’s as easy as eating 2 or 3 seafood meals each week!