Eat Fish; The Dangerous DeFISHency
By: Dr. Ashley S. Roman
Each day medical researchers discover more and more compelling evidence about the link between what you eat when you’re pregnant and your baby’s overall health and development. Believe it or not, by making certain foods a regular part of your diet you can enhance your baby’s fetal brain, eye, bone, motor, and behavioral skills development. But munching on carrot sticks and the occasional apple doesn’t quite cut it.
A recent study conducted by Harvard Medical School’s Dr. Emily Oken specifically illustrates how eating fish leads to better infant motor and visual development. Dr. Oken and her team looked at 25,446 children born to mothers participating in a study that includes pregnant women enrolled from 1997-2002.
According to the study, children whose mothers ate fish during pregnancy were more likely to have better motor and cognitive skills. Compared with women who ate the least fish, women with the highest fish intake – about 60 grams or 2 ounces per day on average – had children who were 25 percent more likely to have higher developmental scores at 6 months and almost 30 percent more likely to have higher scores at 18 months.
According to researcher and obstetrician *Dr. Ashley Roman, MD, MPH, member of the New York University School of Medicine and fellow mom, there are “5 Powerhouse Nutrients Vital during Pregnancy” – all of which can be found in seafood like salmon and tuna.
• Omega-3s help improve cognitive and motor skill development in fetuses and young children, particularly in the development of the fetus’ brain and retina, may reduce pre-term labor and post-partum depression and improves heart health.
o Omega-3 DHA is a long-chain fatty acid that is essential for normal functioning of the brain and nervous tissue. No other fatty acid can substitute for omega-3 DHA in these tissues.
• Calcium is extremely important in bone development, particularly in the third trimester.
• Vitamin D is important to consume along with calcium allowing for better absorption and also lowers the risk of pre-eclamsia and high blood pressure.
• Folic Acid helps avoid neural tube defects in the fetus and reduces the risk of pre-term birth.
• Iron builds up necessary blood count which is necessary for mothers during pregnancy.
The American Heart Association and the USDA suggests that pregnant women consume 12 ounces of fish per week. But according to the CDC’s National Health and Nutrition Examination, women aren’t getting enough as a great deal of confusion exists about the risks and benefits of fish consumption. Unfortunately, this confusion has lead to a decline in overall consumption, depriving pregnant women and their babies of the nutritional and developmental benefits associated with eating fish.
Tortellini Tuna Salad
1 (9-oz.) package refrigerated cheese tortellini, cooked according to package directions
3 cups assorted fresh cut vegetables such as broccoli florets, yellow squash, colorful bell peppers, red onion, carrots, tomatoes etc.
1 (15-oz.) can artichoke hearts, drained
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1 (12 oz.) can drained Chicken of the Sea® Chunk Light Tuna in Spring Water
1 cup light roasted garlic and white wine dressing
In large bowl, combine first 4 ingredients. Gently flake and fold in Chicken of the Sea® Tuna; add and toss in dressing. Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes or up to 24 hours before serving. Toss once before serving. Garnish with Parmesan cheese if desired. Makes 6 servings.
Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Serving Size 1; Calories 279; Calories from Fat 80; Fat 9 g.; Saturated Fat 2 g.; Carbohydrates 26 g.; Fiber 5 g.; Sugars 4 g.; Protein 21 g.; Cholesterol 35 mg.; Sodium 1100 mg.; Vitamin A 35%; Vitamin C 80%; Calcium 4%; Iron 8%;
Recipe courtesy of Chicken of the Sea.
MEDITERRANEAN TUNA SALAD
2 cans or pouches (5 oz each) Bumble Bee® Tuna, drained and flaked
8 oz. pasta, cooked, drained and cooled
2 c. cherry tomatoes, cut in halves
2 c. seeded, diced cucumber
1 c. cubed mozzarella cheese
1/2 c. pitted Kalamata olives
1/4 c. drained capers (optional)
1/4 c. each chopped basil and parsley
1/4 c. shredded Parmesan cheese
red wine and herb dressing or your favorite vinaigrette
Combine first nine ingredients. Toss with store bought red wine and herb
dressing and serve. Makes 8 cups.
Recipe courtesy of Bumble Bee Foods, LLC.
*About Dr. Roman
Dr. Ashley S. Roman, MD, MPH, has been a member of the faculty of the New York University School of Medicine since 2005 about the importance of this study. She is an assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology in the Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine and is board certified in obstetrics and gynecology. Roman is associate director of the Obstetrics and Gynecology Residency Program at New York University. She graduated from Princeton University and received her Doctor of Medicine and Master in Public Health from Tulane University. Roman is widely published in the area of preterm birth, and has authored or co-authored more than 70 manuscripts in peer-reviewed journals, abstracts and book chapters. She was selected by her peers to be included in the “Best Doctors in America” database for 2007-2008.