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freaked out, pregnant woman in front of sushi
freaked out, pregnant woman in front of sushi

Apparently sushi is good for pregnant women

“In Japan, pregnant women eat sushi and it’s not only perfectly normal but encouraged by the doctors”.

Sarah, my pregnant friend who leaves in Singapore told me this the other day while ordering a salmon sashimi with no shame. “What? those crazy Japanese…” I immediately thought… Because as a pregnant woman myself, I have been indoctrinated to put sushi in the list of “forbidden things to do” for the next 9 months; like drinking unpasteurized milk or eating salami. However after that chat, and seeing her so sure about it, I looked into it and it turns out she was right! It’s not only safe to eat sushi during pregnancy (if you take certain precautions) but eating it could actually help your baby’s brain development thanks to the omega 3’s

 

But here is why sushi has had such a bad reputation…

Occasionally raw fish contains parasitic worms, such as anisakis, that can make you ill. However freezing the wild fish would kill any worms that may be present.  According to the National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine, most seafood-related illnesses are due to shellfish—not fish. The risk of falling ill from seafood other than shellfish is 1 in 2 million compared to 1 in 25,000 from chicken.
Raw fish can contain listeria. But so does kale and cantaloupe melons. Listeria originates from waste (animal or human), used as fertilizer, and flourishes in water. Fruits and vegetables become contaminated with listeria when they touch soil, mud or water that contains the bacteriaHowever, you can minimize this risk by buying raw fish from trusted restaurants or suppliers that have properly handled and prepared it.
Mercury levels in sushi. Aside from the feared parasites, another reason to avoid raw fish while pregnant, (and fish in general), is mercury, since that can cause serious birth defects. With our oceans being anything but clean, fish have been storing more and more level of mercury in their bodies, so in  general, avoiding fish high in mercury is a good rule of thumb for anyone, not just for pregnant women. However, not all types of fish have mercury and certainly not the ones raised in farms  like farmed salmon. So the solution would be something as simple as just switching your “ahi” for some “sake”.
So if you have been dreaming of California rolls, feel free to game on. It’s still advised to speak to your doctor before that,  but the widespread panic about pregnant women eating sushi it has certainly been overinflated.
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