Tuna Consumption and Healthy Pregnancy

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tuna salad, healthy pregnancy, tuna consumption

Photo courtesy of Hatem Riahi via Flickr

  • Tuna consumption and healthy pregnancy: New seafood guidelines by the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee recommend that Americans consume a wide variety of seafood as part of their diet. The report also mentions the risk of mercury exposure from certain kinds of seafoods, and suggests that women who are pregnant, nursing or plan to become pregnant avoid certain kinds of fish including tilefish, shark, swordfish and king mackerel, because of their high mercury content. However, the panel withheld a recommendation about tuna consumption, although the current guidelines from the Food and Drug Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency suggests that pregnant and nursing women should limit tuna consumption to six ounces per week. The advisory committee has actually recommended that these agencies “re-evaluate” their stance on tuna consumption for pregnant women, mainly albacore tuna. The panel explains: “All evidence was in favor of net benefits for infant development and (cardiovascular disease) risk reduction.” The suggestion that pregnant women should eat more white albacore tuna has upset advocacy groups that have called for increased warnings about mercury on tuna packaging. Dr. Steve Abrams, a panel member involved in the seafood recommendations and medical director of the Neonatal Nutrition Program at Baylor College of Medicine, noted that while pregnant women need to be aware of the types of fish they consume, there is a strong evidence that fish consumption is highly beneficial for baby’s brain development. “The goal of the dietary guidelines is to give people a healthy way to eat and not to include or exclude certain foods. The benefit of having (omega-3 fatty acids) in your diet really exceeds the likely risk of contamination. The point is that you should have a variety of types of seafood and not limit yourself to one type, and variety includes canned tuna.”
  • High levels of vitamin D linked to cardiovascular deaths: According to a new research from the University of Copenhagen recently published in the Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism, high levels of vitamin D in our blood are linked to an increased risk of dying from a stroke or a coronary. As Peter Schwarz, professor at the Department of Clinical Medicine, explains: “We have studied the level of vitamin D in 247,574 Danes, and so far, it constitutes the world’s largest basis for this type of study. We have also analyzed their mortality rate over a seven-year period after taking the initial blood sample, and in that time 16,645 patients had died. Furthermore, we have looked at the connection between their deaths and their levels of vitamin D.” The conclusion of the study is clear: the results confirm that there is indeed a correlation between mortality rates and too low levels of vitamin D, but the new thing is that the level of vitamin D can also be too high.
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