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Go Fish or No Fish?

The fresh seafood of summer is one of the benefits of suffering through these heat waves. There’s nothing better than a trip to the coast and enjoying your favorite fish or shrimp or oysters …

Unfortunately, while it is a healthy food and an important source of primary nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids, it can also be contaminated with mercury, a dangerous toxin that is not something you want in your body when you’re trying to conceive. A recent study from the University of Albany has found that even low levels of mercury can be harmful to IVF pregnancies. And while more studies are needed to determine if lower level guidelines should be set, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does already have advice for women who may become pregnant, pregnant women, nursing mothers and young children.

The FDA recommends avoiding some types of fish and eating fish and shellfish that are lower in mercury. Following three recommendations can reduce your exposure to mercury’s harmful effects:

  • Do not eat shark, swordfish, king mackerel, or tilefish because they contain high levels of mercury.
  • Eat up to 12 ounces a week of a variety of fish and shellfish that are lower in mercury. These include such fish as shrimp, canned light tuna, salmon, pollock and catfish. Note: albacore (white) tuna has more mercury than canned light tuna.
  • Check local advisories about the safety of fish caught local lakes, rivers and coastal areas. If no advice is available, eat up to 6 ounces per week of fish you catch from local waters, but don't consume any other fish during that week.

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