Seafood is called “brain food” for a reason.Consistently eating seafood rich in omega-3 fatty acids has been shown to improve long-term brain health and even help reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Scientists are discovering that there might be even more benefits of eating seafood for pregnant women and growing children.
After 29 studies with over 100,000 mother-child pairs, there is evidence that regular consumption of seafood during pregnancy and childhood leads to improved test scores on “mental skills.” In comparison to children of mothers who ate no seafood, the children of mothers who ate over 12 ounces of seafood per week (about 2 servings) had significantly higher verbal I.Q. scores. Furthermore, eating seafood can help lower the risk of children developing ADHD, improve school grades, and improve I.Q. by as much as 9.5 points. Higher intakes of seafood (over 8 to 12 ounces a week) were linked to increased benefits. Consistency is key!
Taking mercury content into account, these studies found NO adverse effects of eating seafood. Eating seafood twice a week is not only important for your health and brain boost but for the development of your children too!
- Liu, J., Cui, Y., Li, L.et al. The mediating role of sleep in the fish consumption – cognitive functioning relationship: a cohort study.Sci Rep 7, 17961 (2017).https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-017-17520-w
- Innis, S. M. Dietary (n-3) fatty acids and brain development.J Nutr 137, 855–859 (2007).
- Oken, E.et al. Maternal fish intake during pregnancy, blood mercury levels, and child cognition at age 3 years in a US cohort.American Journal of Epidemiology 167, 1171–1181 (2008).
- Helland, I. B., Smith, L., Saarem, K., Saugstad, O. D. & Drevon, C. A. Maternal supplementation with very-long-chain n-3 fatty acids during pregnancy and lactation augments children’s IQ at 4 years of age.Pediatrics 111, e39–e44 (2003).