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Eating Fish When Pregnant May Lower Depression Risk

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Sweet and Spicy Tuna Pot Stickers

(Family Features) - The typical pregnant woman in America eats less than two ounces of fish per week, but a significant new study shows this may increase her risk of developing symptoms of depression. Researchers found that moms-to-be who ate no seafood were nearly 50 percent more likely to have symptoms of depression than those who ate seafood at least three times per week (12 or more ounces weekly).

"This study reminds us of yet another benefit of eating seafood during pregnancy," said Ashley Roman, M.D., MPH, OB/GYN and mother of two. "I tell my patients to strive for at least two to three fish meals per week."

Published in July's issue of Epidemiology, the study of more than 14,500 pregnant women shows that those who ate fish at least three times per week had the lowest level of risk for symptoms of depression. Most American women, however, miss out on this important benefit because they eat on average only one-sixth this amount. Depression during pregnancy can have serious effects on a woman's health and that of her baby; emerging science suggests that depression during pregnancy may increase the risk of:

  • Having a caesarian section
  • Delivering a premature or low-birth-weight baby
  • Lowering cognitive test scores and babies' brain and behavior development
  • Having depression after pregnancy

Not eating seafood during pregnancy appears to be associated with high levels of depression because marine foods like fish are the only naturally rich source of a special omega-3 fatty acid called DHA. In addition to better mental health in adults, DHA is needed for the very best possible brain and eye development in babies. 

Seafood also has many other nutrients that benefit pregnant moms and their growing babies. It's an excellent source of lean protein and is rich in vitamin D and calcium which are needed for a healthy pregnancy. In addition, seafood like canned tuna and salmon are affordable and convenient options for moms eating lunch on the go or making a quick meal for the family.  For more information on the health benefits of eating seafood, visit www.hmhb.org/pnwg.

Sweet and Spicy Tuna Pot Stickers

  • 2 pouches (4.5 ounces) Sweet and Spicy flavored tuna
  • 1/4 cup chopped water chestnuts
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions
  • 24 wonton wrappers
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
Dipping Sauce
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon canola oil
  • 1/4 -1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
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    1. Mix tuna, water chestnuts and green onions in a bowl. Put one wonton wrapper in the palm of your hand. With a wet finger, moisten boarder of the wrapper. Place 1 tablespoon of tuna mixture in middle of each wonton wrapper; fold it over and seal edges together tightly. Place on a cookie sheet and continue making the rest of the dumplings.
    2. Heat oil in non-stick skillet. Place dumplings in skillet (a large skillet should hold 12) and fry until golden on the bottom - about 2 -3 minutes. Add 1/2 cup water and cover, cooking for 7-10 minutes until all water is evaporated. Meanwhile, mix soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, canola oil and red pepper flakes in a bowl. Take dumplings out of skillet and serve with dipping sauce.
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SOURCE: National Fisheries Institute

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