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SEAFOOD: ONE OF THE SECRET INGREDIENTS FOR TOP GRADE BREAST MILK

Dr. Nita Landry has been engaged by the National Fisheries Institute to provide her honest professional perspective on the health benefits of eating seafood.

One of my patients recently came in with a t-shirt that said, “Breast milk is liquid gold.”  I love, love, love that quote.  Why?  Because it is true!  Breast milk is amazingly nutritious. But there is a simple way to make your “liquid gold” (aka breast milk) even more nutritious. It’s all about the “recipe!”

Most people know the basic ingredients that are recommended for breast milk:
-Drink lots of water
-Eat lots of fruits/vegetables/whole grains
-Avoid foods that produce gas, like chocolate or cauliflower
-Avoid spicy foods and caffeine

But one of the secret ingredients for “top grade breast milk” is frequently forgotten or sometimes even intentionally left out of a mom’s diet due to a health myth.  Any guesses? Seafood!  I know what many of you are thinking – “I thought that seafood is a ‘no go’ during pregnancy and breastfeeding.”  Well, listen up. That is a MYTH! Let me explain.

If you thought it was unsafe to eat seafood while pregnant and/or breastfeeding, think again. According to the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines, pregnant and breastfeeding moms should be eating 2-3 servings (8 to 12 ounces in total) of approved types of seafood per week. Here is a chart with some of the approved types of seafood:

(*Ask your doctor for a complete, updated list of approved seafood to eat during pregnancy.)

Here’s the scoop:  Fish is really good for you. It is a protein-rich food that is low in saturated fat and high in vitamin D. Plus, it is packed with nutrients that can help a child’s growth and development. For example, two of the key nutrients contained in seafood are omega-3 fatty acids called “DHA” and “EPA.” The omega-3 fatty acids found in seafood are passed to babies in breast milk.

Why do babies need them? 50% of the fat in an infant’s brain is made up of DHA, that omega-3 fat found in seafood!  According to a 2014 U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) report, moms-to-be who eat two seafood meals (8-12 ounces) per week could provide their child with an additional 3.3 IQ points by age 9. So seafood = baby brain food!  As a bonus, canned light tuna is the least expensive option to achieve maximum IQ benefit – so you really get your bang for your buck. Don’t let your baby miss out on the nutritional benefits of fish/ seafood while you are pregnant or when you are breastfeeding!

On another note, seafood doesn’t just help baby. It is also important for moms! Studies have shown that eating 2-3 servings of fish each week is good for a mommy’s heart. So even if you did not eat seafood before, it is a good idea to give it a try when you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Everybody wins!

Now that you know that you should be eating fish while you are pregnant and/or breastfeeding, I’ll help you out. Try one of these delicious dishes from GetRealAboutSeafood.com. Then, pass those nutritious omega-3s to your beautiful baby through breastfeeding!

Sidebar – if you are having a hard time breastfeeding, don’t be discouraged.  Chat with your healthcare provider about breastfeeding tips and tricks and to make sure that your baby is getting enough breast milk.

So moms and moms-to-be, don’t forget this secret ingredient for the best breast milk. #DrNita

Want to learn more about eating seafood while pregnant? Click here

Resources:

https://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines/chapter-1/a-closer-look-inside-healthy-eating-patterns/#callout-seafood

https://nutritionj.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12937-016-0182-9

http://www.getrealaboutseafood.com/pdfs/NFI-Pregnancy-Infographic.pdf

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