Will chowing down a little extra salmon make your baby brainier? It might, at least by the time he reaches the ripe old age of 8.
Eight-year-old kids with moms who ate fish during pregnancy tended to score better on tests of verbal intelligence, complex motor skills, and social skills compared to children with moms whose prenatal meals had been mainly fish-free., according to a study out of Europe.
Studying umbilical cord blood samples from approximately 2,000 women, researchers detected genetic materials from both moms and babies that seemed to "unlock" the omega-3s before they were absorbed and used by babies. While much is still left to learned, scientists think this "double metabolism" of omega-3s is what turns fatty acids from fish into such a readily absorbed brain boosters. By testing kids at age 8, researchers were able to demonstrate the lasting effects of these omega-3s throughout childhood.
Sworn off fish over fears of mercury contamination? You might want to give that salmon steak a second chance. According to current FDA guidelines on safe fish consumption for pregnant women, fish with the highest levels of mercury—and therefore fish not to eat during pregnancy—include shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish. However, it is perfectly fine to eat up to 12 ounces (two average meals) a week of a variety of fish and shellfish that are lower in mercury. Those that make this "green light" list include shrimp, canned light tuna, salmon, pollock, and catfish. Since albacore ("white") tuna has more mercury than canned light tuna, it is recommended to limit albacore tuna to 6 ounces per week.
The only question we have now: Will that be blackened, grilled, or baked?