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Canned tuna in pregnancy: is it really dangerous because of mercury?

Certain types of fish such as swordfish or canned tuna when pregnant should be restricted due to the large amounts of mercury they contain. But what does it mean? Let’s go in order and try to understand what are the precautions to be taken if you are pregnant.

The canned tuna during pregnancy should be eaten in moderation, this is due to the fact that large fish contain large amounts of mercury in their tissues when compared with other medium or small fish. Therefore, it is better not to overdo it, to avoid that mercury can be potentially toxic to the fetus.

Can I eat fresh tuna when pregnant?

Avoiding canned tuna when pregnant is a good idea, but that doesn’t mean it should be completely eliminated from your diet. Tuna remains one of the most common fish on Italian tables, but in pregnancy, it could be part of the list of foods to pay attention to.

The calories of fresh tuna are 130 per 100 grams of product, and it is a fish rich in beneficial properties. In fact, it contains phosphorus, iron, selenium, vitamins, omega 3, all useful substances for the human body.

The problem remains that it is a large fish, which contains a lot of mercury harmful to the fetus. It is a long-lived fish, living in the sea more than other fish and storing much more mercury than smaller fish.

Large amounts of this toxic metal can be harmful to the baby in your womb, which is why it is best not to eat tuna when pregnant.

The canned tuna can not be excluded altogether, you simply must resize the amount also to avoid:

exceeding the often very high amounts of salt in canned products;

losing precious nutritional qualities of fresh fish, especially during pregnancy, when the intake of omega 3 fatty acids are essential for the development of the fetal nervous system.

Canned tuna in pregnancy: is it safe?

The health and the ‘ Power of pregnant women are always in the first place, that’s why we want to add that for a pregnant woman on canned tuna is the most secure of fresh tuna because this product is more controlled and falls in effect between safe food in pregnancy excluding the risk associated with large amounts of mercury.

Obviously, it will be the expectation of the future mother to choose a high quality canned tuna, preferring, if possible, the natural one, or the one preserved in extra virgin olive oil.

The dose that should never be exceeded is 100g per week, just enough to cook, for example, an excellent pasta with tuna or a fresh summer salad.

Canned tuna in pregnancy and mercury risk: let’s deepen!

In fish and other aquatic organisms, there is a form of mercury called methylmercury, which is also the most toxic form. Methylmercury, if ingested, tends to be deposited in the kidneys, liver, and nervous system. Obviously, if you overuse foods that contain it during pregnancy, mercury passes through the placenta and could, therefore, cause cognitive delays in the baby and damage to the central nervous system.

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) reassures that consuming foods that contain mercury in moderation (tuna, swordfish, dogfish, emery, blue shark, mackerel) does not cause serious poisoning.

What is the best type of fish in pregnancy?

In pregnancy, fish is excellent food, balanced and low in calories, also rich in all the substances useful for the correct development of the fetus. The leanest and most easily digestible are plaice, sole, and sea bream. In addition, there is also ample space for oily fish such as sardines, mackerel, herring, anchovies, garfish, amberjack, an excellent source of vitamin D.

It is recommended that pregnant women eat at least two or three portions of low-mercury fish per week. , to meet the needs of proteins and fatty acids.

Frequently asked questions about canned tuna in pregnancyCanned tuna in pregnancy

Tuna in pregnancy and toxoplasmosis: is there a link?

While the risk of toxoplasmosis in pregnancy with canned tuna is absolutely excluded, as the tuna is cooked before being canned, the future mother could contract toxoplasmosis by consuming raw tuna fillet during pregnancy which is absolutely to exclude. Like all other types of raw fish, consumption will be postponed until after delivery.

Is seared tuna in pregnancy safe?

The seared tuna is a dish much appreciated by fish lovers: this is only for a few minutes to cook the tuna steak on the sides on a hot plate, in this way the center will remain uncooked and rose. Despite the delicacy of this dish, pregnant women should avoid it as the tuna actually remains raw in the center and could be risky. If you are preparing seared tuna at home, you can check the internal temperature with a cooking thermometer, but you cannot do the same in the restaurant, so opt for another type of cooking, specifying “well done”.

I went too far with canned tuna while pregnant, what can I do?

If we realize that we have consumed more than the recommended dose of canned tuna during pregnancy, a piece of valid advice could be to avoid fish for a whole week, to allow the body to dispose of excess mercury.

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