Pregnancy is a very important time for women, and they have to be careful with what they eat. There are a lot of different foods that pregnant people need to avoid during this period, as certain foods can carry risks for both the mother and the baby.
One of those tricky food items is tuna - the eternal fish debate. You might have heard different opinions about it: some say it's great for you because it has omega-3 fatty acids; others claim there are high levels of mercury in tuna which pose a significant health risk.
So which one is true? Is eating tuna safe or risky while pregnant? Let’s find out!
What makes tuna dangerous during pregnancy?
Let's start by discussing why there are concerns about eating tuna while pregnant.
Tuna is known to contain mercury, primarily due to human pollution in oceans where most tunas come from. Mercury exposure may lead to adverse effects on development, particularly brain function and cognitive processes like learning abilities.
Although a moderate intake of low-mercury fish like canned light skipjack, albacore / white tuna should be fine (in limited amounts up-to 6 ounces/1 serving per week), okasanomics & other detailed FDA guidelines[^(1)] recommend limiting the overall consumption during pregnancy & breastfeeding as well2 .
Big versus small balls
Fatty fishes like salmon, trout and mackerel just ooze with wholesome benefits such as heart healthy fats , protein ,vitamins .They embody these virtuous characters despite also containing small amountsof mercury if any at all !
But howdy! Some tunas get cautious worthier than gold when exposed under polluted waters absorbing more deadly quantities inside them ! So better avoid these big fish balls – King Mackerels , Shark ,Marlin -to avoid getting affected by long-term mercury poisoning[^(3)] – also skipjack tuna isn’t the one for sushi-lovers as they mostly have much higher mercury levels compared to canned chunk light tuna .
All in moderation
Moderation is key. Eating some fish during pregnancy, including tunas , may be beneficial and can add extra nutrients such as proteins containing amino acids along with essential fats like omega 3 long chain ECO & DHA that aid fetal growth - kicking away developmental defects .
On the other hand overeating even safe fishes could lead to an overdose of certain chemicals resulting in unwanted toxins inside your system contributing to premature deliveries or worse.
So keep it minimalistic and smart, follow seafood guidelines issued by food authorities (such as FDA) which classify tunas into three groups based on their average amounts of mercury; & go for a scientific check-up if feeling worried about any symptoms post-consuming these gilled friends 2.
Pregnancy doesn't equal bland diets, so while sticking to limits try experimenting with different recipes-adding slices, flakes pestos etc or rely on different meal moments altogether.
Despite its potential benefits, pregnant people should moderate intake of tuna during gestation mainly focusing on consuming low-mercury types primarily feeding themselves protein-rich diet alternatives rather than depending solely upon this fish. So next time when you want quick boxed lunches bring up alternatives made from chicken,turkey , tofu & legumes to tickle those craving taste buds ignoring unhealthy delicacies putting at risk not only yourselves but also little swimmers metikously growing inside.
US Food And Drug Administration-Center For Food Safety And Applied Nutrition-U.S. Environmental Protection Agency: Revised Advice On Fish Consumption: https://www.fda.gov/media/102331/download ↩
P Lerchundi et al.: Mercury exposure in highly exposed newborns and children without overt clinical symptoms; International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health ; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph9010096 ↩↩
J.Bornmann et al.:Individual, specefic changes in mercury exposure through consuming fish among children after the shutdown of a mercury recycling plant: Environ Int. 2018 Mar;112]]>;%20Harvard%20T.H.%20Chan%20School%2 ↩