Omega-3s during pregnancy and while breast feeding

  • Wild, cold water fish like salmon, mackerel, anchovies, herring, and sardines are the best source of the essential fatty acids called omega-3s.  These fats are not only important for a baby’s developing brain and visual system, but also keep mother’s immune system and that of the developing baby functioning optimally.  As long as pregnant women eat small, wild (not farm raised) cold water fish they will minimize exposure to mercury which can be harmful to developing infants.  Three (3-4 ounce) servings per week of these small wild fish provide the omega-3s mom and baby need.  (Try canned wild salmon which can be prepared like tuna salad and is delicious.)  While pregnant, women should never eat raw fish.  No sushi during pregnancy!
  • Because omega-3 fatty acids are not produced by our bodies, it is important to supply these essential oils, if not by eating fish then by taking a fish oil supplement.  A pharmaceutical grade fish oil supplement will have no detectable heavy metals and will cause no fishy burps, even in pregnancy.  It is important to purchase a reputable brand such as Nordic naturals, Carlson’s or Pharmax and to take at least 300mg of DHA and 500mg EPA daily.
  • It’s important that a breast feeding mother’s diet include small cold water fish and/or fish oil in order for her breast milk to pass adequate amounts of the essential fatty acids to baby.  If she doesn’t eat fish or supplement with fish oil, her milk will have very low quantities of the omega-3s.  Infant formulas add these omega-3s because they are so widely recognized to be essential to optimal brain growth, a reminder that all breast feeding women need omega-3s in their diets.
  • Dr. Getzelman’s Favorite Fish Taco Recipe
    • 3-4 oz per person of sole or other white fish–cook for about 2 minutes on each side in olive oil and chopped garlic (season to taste with a pinch of sea salt).  Be careful not to overcook and cause fish to dry out.  Set aside, keeping fish warm.
    • warm up corn tortillas (preferably organic which are available at Bi-Rite or Whole Foods) in tin foil in the oven at 325 F for 15 minutes
    • quarter sweet cherry tomatoes using a sharp knife (Del Cabo brand is organic and these tomatoes are delicious); cut a ripe avocado into bite size pieces; wash and chop several sprigs of fresh cilantro; finely chop half of a medium size red onion
    • combine the tomatoes, avocado, cilantro, and onion and squeeze the juice of a lime on the mix; add a pinch of sea salt (and a small sprinkle of cayenne for a kick!) and toss these salsa ingredients; put in the fridge to keep cool
    • place 1 to2 warm tortillas on each plate, cover with fish, and generously spoon fresh salsa on top
    • serve with lime wedges, and rice, beans or a green salad and VOILA– it’s a meal in under half an hour!

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