Seafood, mainly fish, is found to ensure brain development of babies. That is why doctors ask pregnant women and lactating mothers to eat at least twelve ounces (approximately two servings daily) of seafood. However, tilefish, shark, king mackerel and swordfish should be excluded from this group due to their high content of mercury. Albacore tuna should not be eaten to more than six ounces a week.
Fish and other seafood are important dietary sources of essential omega-3 fatty acids. They contribute an essential substance called docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) to our diet. DHA acts as a key nutrient for the development of brain and nervous systems of the foetus and breast fed babies. A recent study conducted in UK showed that children whose mothers ate little fish during pregnancy had lower IQ level than those whose mothers consumed plenty of seafoods. It is advisable that pregnant women eat lots of seafood during the second trimester of pregnancy. However, women with high mercury scores need to consult their doctor before including seafoods in their diet.
Higher rate of seafood consumption is also found to bring down the rate of pregnancy related depression. Women who are prone to post delivery depression should be fed on more fish and other sea dishes. The communication and language skills of babies whose mothers have taken seafood during pregnancy are also found to be more effective. However, not all varieties of fish are equally beneficial. Fishes like tuna and salmon are found to be better options for infants’’ brains than swordfish. Prefer oily fish varieties such as sardines since they are rich in the vital omega-3 fatty acids. Fatty fish varieties are more likely to be contaminated with mercury, which is toxic to the cells of baby’s brain. Studies conducted on three-year-old kids also showed that eating more seafood enhanced their visual-spatial skills.