Consuming fish while pregnant can lower anxiety
Pregnancy can be an extremely stressful time for women, but based on the results of a recent study, they may be able to reduce their anxiety by making sure they eat a lot of fish. The research from Bristol University in the U.K. and Federal University of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil found that women who never ate seafood were 53 percent more likely to have high levels of anxiety than women who frequently ate it during their pregnancies.
The study looked at 9,530 pregnant women who responded to food questionnaires throughout their pregnancies. At 32 weeks, their anxiety symptoms were measured. The results showed that women who never ate seafood were more likely to have high anxiety, and that pregnant women who ate a vegetarian diet were 25 percent more likely to have high anxiety than those who ate meat and fish.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends that pregnant women eat up to 12 ounces a week of varying fish and shellfish, including shrimp, canned light tuna, salmon, pollock and catfish. The FDA recommends against eating shark, swordfish, king mackerel or tilefish when pregnant, as these fish are more likely to have high mercury levels.
The researchers suspect that there is a connection between consuming n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids – found in fish – and anxiety during pregnancy, though little is known about this connection.