If you’ve ever been pregnant you know that the lists of dos and dont’s from the obvious — like don’t drink alcohol or smoke — or the not so obvious— like cured meats, fruit, or eggs — can be daunting. But it looks like one pregnancy no-no just might make its way off the “don’t eat” list: fish.Although pregnant women have been warned for decades not to consume fish due to possible high levels of mercury, a new study from the Spanish government published in the American Journal of Epidemiology suggests that eating fish, even fatty tuna, could lead to better brain health for the baby.
The observational study looked at the diets of 2,000 pregnant women across Spain, and followed their health and the health of their children from the first trimester to the child’s fifth birthday. The results showed that women who ate 21 ounces of fish weekly during pregnancy found improved brain function in their children as compared with mothers who abstained from consuming seafood.
“Seafood is known to be an important source of essential nutrients for brain development, but at the same time accumulates mercury from the environment, which is known to be neurotoxic,” lead author Jordi Julvez, of the Center for Research in Environmental Epidemiology in Barcelona told Medical Daily. “I think that in general people should follow the current recommendations. Nevertheless this study pointed out that maybe some of them, particularly the American ones, should be less stringent.”