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Generally, salads are healthy and recommended for women during pregnancy. But, in a clearer content, it would depend on the salad you consume. Plenty of salads have raw seafood ingredients, and most of the seafood ingredients are either half-cooked meat or high in mercury content. This is something that is not advisable for pregnant women to consume at all.
This is why we are down to this question, “can I eat tuna salad while pregnant?” If you’re pregnant, it’s better to find out the answer sooner than later. Let’s find out!
Can I Eat Tuna Salad During Pregnancy? Is It Good For Me?
Tuna has been very rich in nutrients, most of which are highly essential for expectant mothers. But, at what cost should an expectant mother consume tuna if the mercury content is also high? If the mercury content of tuna is high, then that means tuna should be avoided at all costs during pregnancy, right?
For example, it’s popularly commended for its DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) content — two omega-3-fatty acids with long chains that are essential in the development of your baby’s central nervous systems and brain. However, most tuna varieties often contain elevated amounts of mercury, a chemical associated with numerous developmental and health disorders in children.
It is for this reason that pregnant women are advised to restrict how frequently they consume tuna. If it can still be avoided, tuna is a fish along with a few others that need to be consumed at the lowest rate possible due to its really high mercury content. If it can be helped, tuna should be avoided entirely during pregnancy.
Expectant mothers who do not consume tuna salad because of food allergies and ethical or religious concerns must make sure they obtain sufficient amounts of these nutrients from other food sources and supplements.
This post explores if it is safe to consume tuna like an expectant mother, and in what proportions, if so. After reading through this article, your question will be answered, “can I eat tuna salad while pregnant?”
Can I Eat Tuna Salad While Pregnant – The Important Nutrients
Eating a tuna sandwich during pregnancy may be one of the best things that can happen to pregnant tuna lovers. Apart from the enjoyment you and everyone get eating tuna salad during pregnancy, it is abundant in several nutritional components, some of which during your pregnancy are essential for your child’s proper development. These nutrients include:
- Protein: This nutritional component is vital for all facets of development. While pregnant, consuming too little protein can lead to miscarriage, intrauterine development restrictions, and low body weight for your baby after delivery. There could also be harmful effects of excess protein consumption.
- EPA and DHA: These lengthy omega-3-fatty acids are essential for the growth of your baby’s brain and eyes. The probability of pre-term delivery, slow fetal development, pediatric reactions, and maternal depression can also be decreased by consuming these omega-3-fatty acids.
- Vitamin D: It also contains minimal quantities of vitamin D, a nutrient essential for bone health and immunity. Consuming the correct amount of vitamin D can also decrease the probability of preeclampsia and miscarriage, a condition characterized by increased blood pressure in pregnancy.
- Iron: This nutrient is essential for your baby’s nervous system and brain to help him thrive. Consuming the correct level of iron can also decrease the occurrence of maternal mortality, pre-term birth, and low birth weight of your child after delivery.
- Vitamin B12: This nutritional component in tuna helps improve the functioning of the brain and the nervous system and produces red blood cells that carry oxygen and protein. For pregnant women, low concentrations of vitamin D can increase the probability that their baby will develop congenital disabilities, pre-term birth, miscarriage, and other complications from pregnancy.
Pregnant women may also get these nutrients by opting for daily supplements that provide them with at least 250 mg EPA or 200 mg of DHA plus DHA/ day.
Tuna salad is a good protein source and long-chain omega-3-fatty acids, vitamin B12, iron, and vitamin D.
While you are pregnant, sufficient amounts of these nutritional components can lower your chances of developing complications and good boost birth results.
Why Tuna May Be Dangerous During Pregnancy
Knowing how to cook tuna steak when pregnant is one thing that tuna lovers should know. Some health experts suggest that women who usually consume tuna throughout gestation should keep up with the habit.
They also warn that expectant mothers should stop consuming so much of it due to its mercury content. Even though it is a naturally occurring chemical compound, the bulk of mercury present in seafood is human waste.
There is some level of mercury in all seafood, so the bigger, higher, and older a seafood is on the food chain, the greater the concentration of mercury it has a high concentration of containing.
Tuna is a predatory fish that’s able to grow old and tall which means most fish accumulate large quantities of mercury in their skin.
Excessive consumption of mercury while pregnant will affect the nervous system and brain formation of your baby. This can lead to some issues, the most common of which are:
- difficulties in learning
- attention, memory, and speech deficits
- delayed development of motor skills
- lower intelligence quotients
- poor visual-spatial abilities
- heart problems or high blood pressure in adulthood
In difficult situations, during infancy, elevated mercury concentrations often lead to the loss of hearing, vision, or smell in babies, and congenital abnormalities, coma, seizures, and even mortality in infants. Any concern regarding the development of babies is at risk with high levels of mercury – this is why mothers need to make sure they are healthy and safe, for the sake of the baby.
Strangely, some evidence shows that contact with mercury in early pregnancy does not have any detrimental consequences on the conduct, growth, or cognitive function of a child so far as its mother eats fish while pregnant.
This indicates that some chemicals may counterbalance the detrimental consequences of mercury consumption in fish. Even so, before any firm assumptions can be drawn, further analysis is required. It is always better to prevent what happens than face the consequences and crave a cure or solution after.
Besides that, expectant mothers should shy away from consuming raw tuna to mitigate the chance they’ll contract an infection caused by Listeria monocytogenes.
This microorganism can have negative impacts on child development and growth. Tuna is seafood that frequently contains high concentrations of mercury.
During pregnancy, consuming excessive amounts of mercury will affect the growth of your baby’s nervous system and brain, potentially leading to a variety of developmental and health complications.
How Much Tuna Should You Consume As An Expectant Mother?
The risk of mercury is cumulative, and various species of fish produce varying concentrations of it.
Hence, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) advises that expectant mothers should consume 225–340 grams (8–12 ounces) of seafood and fish every week, and no greater than:
- Three hundred forty grams (12 ounces) of canned light-weight tuna or other minimal mercury seafood like cod, anchovies, carp, or tilapia.
- 112 grams (4 ounces) of albacore, white, yellowfin tuna, or other moderate mercury fish, like halibut, bluefish, snapper, tilefish, or mahi-mahi.
In comparison, bigeye tuna and some other high mercury species like shark, swordfish, orange roughy, marlin, tilefish, and king mackerel are recommended to be entirely avoided by expectant mothers. These fish have the highest mercury levels in their meat and skin – it is not healthy for anyone, pregnant or not.
Suggestions on tuna intake while pregnant have also been provided by several foreign food regulators.
Many are somewhat close to the FDA standards, but the variety of tuna declared suitable for eating differs from country to country. But most importantly, don’t forget how to cook tuna steak when pregnant.
Alternatives to Tuna During Pregnancy
It cannot be helped sometimes to have tuna for breakfast or dinner during pregnancy. It’s understandable because tuna is one of the most accessible fish on the market. But, the good news is that there are other fish that are healthier for your consumption during pregnancy.
Some of the fish that can be served instead of tuna are tilapia, farmed salmon and even trout. These fish are healthy and may even have the more complete package to a healthy diet during pregnancy. Especially farmed salmon is fatter and more packed with omega 3 than wild salmon because of the healthy feeds they consume while being farmed.
While wild salmon is more organic (hence, its name), wild salmon has higher mercury content which may put the risk of developmental delay for the baby in the womb. So, cross wild salmon off the list and make sure you indicate farmed salmon specifically.
Remember that it all comes down to how well the fish is cooked. For pregnant women, it is essential that the fish is thoroughly cooked.
Can I Eat Tuna salad While Pregnant? The Conclusion
Tuna is a good repository of nutrients, several of which are highly essential for expectant mothers.
Any tuna, though, can include elevated amounts of mercury, a substance that may impact the well-being of your child and contribute to a variety of developmental disorders. Also, consuming uncooked tuna will raise the risk of being contaminated with Listeria.
Expectant mothers are advised to stop consuming uncooked tuna to maximize the advantages of consuming tuna while mitigating any dangers. Low mercury varieties of seafood can also be preferred when looking out for excessive consumption of mercury.
Are you still asking, “can I eat tuna salad while pregnant?”
For pregnant mothers, the amount of tuna recognized as being healthy differs by region. In the U. S., no greater than 340 grams (12 ounces) of canned moderate tuna or lower than 112 grams (4 ounces) of albacore or yellowfin tuna, a week is prescribed for expectant mothers to consume.