Once you find out that you're expecting, you're likely going to do everything you can to maintain healthy fetal development. Some of this involves eating healthy, staying active and listening to your body as your baby develops. Now, a new study claims that incorporating certain foods into your meals more often may provide you with additional benefits during your pregnancy.
Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health were able to determine that consuming "healthy fats," such as those found in seafood, can potentially reduce the risk of autism. In their research, they found that 34 percent of pregnant woman who maintained high levels of omega-6 were less likely to give birth to a child with autism. More studies need to be conducted on the matter, but the experts believe that healthy fats may benefit babies in the womb by encouraging brain development.
"Our results provide preliminary evidence that increased maternal intake of omega-6 fatty acids could reduce risk of offspring [autism spectrum disorder], and that very low intakes of omega-3 fatty acids and linoleic acid could increase risk," the researchers wrote in their study.
How much seafood should I be eating?
As a pregnant woman, you might have heard about the need to consume omega-3 fatty acids in the past. However, there are certain foods that you should avoid while expecting to maintain the health of your child - how do you know which ones are right for you?
Seafood can contain high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, but they it can also contain mercury which is harmful to both mother and child. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommended limiting your intake of seafood to cod, salmon, canned light tuna and shrimp, which are known for having little or no chance of containing mercury. Mackerel, swordfish and shark have a higher potential of mercury, meaning you should avoid them at all costs.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture noted that mercury isn't the only contaminant that you need to worry about when it comes to seafood. There may be local pollutants in your water that could be harmful to you and your unborn child. Check water reports in your area before consuming seafood that has been caught locally. This can give you peace of mind throughout your pregnancy.
Did you choose to eat seafood during your pregnancy? How did you avoid toxins such as mercury? Leave your feedback in the tips section!