Seafood Do and Donts
Seafood has always been considered as healthy food. In fact, it is a lean protein that is excellent alternative to fatty meats and poultry. Should not be forgotten that seafood is highly recommended for pregnant women because of the high levels of omega-3 fatty acids that are important for the brain development of a growing baby. However, not every species of fish! The oceans are so polluted that also seafood have become so contaminated with chemicals and heavy metals that they are no longer safe to eat. There was recently discovered an island of plastic garbage in the Pacific ocean as large as France but the specialists estimate it as twice as this.
Unfortunately, there are so many babies that are born with high levels of mercury — a condition that can lead to neurological, developmental, and cognitive problems for the baby. But it does not mean that one need to eliminate all seafood from the diet. Just we have to be very cautious about the types and quantity of seafood that we consume. Pregnant women can safely eat about 12 ounces of cooked fish each week.
What to avoid?
Environmental protection agencies currently recommend that pregnant women avoid eating shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish as these fish are known to contain high levels of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and mercury. These are two contaminants that are particularly harmful to a developing fetus. Many doctors and midwives also suggest that expectant moms limit their consumption of tuna, oysters, salmon, marlin, halibut, and sea bass. Also, the way of how the seafood is prepared is important. One should avoid eating refrigerated, smoked seafood labeled lox, kipper or jerky that has not been cooked, as these may be contaminated with listeria. Avoid fish caught locally from contaminated lakes and rivers.
Wild or Farmed?
Wild-caught fish is the better option than farmed varieties. Fish that is farm-raised often may facilitate the spread of disease and contamination, and in addition it is raised in tanks or net enclosures that are stressful for the fish. Sometimes, farm-raised fish tends to contain significantly higher concentrations of PCBs, dioxin, and other pollutants. ON the other hand, wild-caught fish is harvested directly from its natural habitat. Depending on the species of fish, they may have a lower risk of disease and contamination than farm-raised varieties.
There is type of seafood that is relatively low in toxins and healthy to eat. This is shrimp. However, shrimp is harvested in a way that is often harmful to the environment. During shrimp trawling, a large number of other species are inadvertently killed as well as the coastal wetlands can be harmed.
Here is a list of wild-caught fish species that are the most likely to have been harvested sustainably:
Crab (blue, Dungeness, snow, and stone)
The following farm-raised fish species are also likely to be harvested sustainably:
Scallops (both sea and bay)