The moment you find out you’re pregnant is exciting. The moment you’re told you can’t eat certain foods like soft cheese and cold cut meats (good-bye easy work lunches), not so much. During pregnancy, your immune system is lowered, which means your body is more susceptible to foodborne illnesses, such as vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach pain. Because of this, you have to be extra careful of what you eat, since those foodborne illnesses can also greatly affect your unborn child’s development. In this article, restaurant guru and an expert in Asian cuisine Matthew Delsignore explains whether or not you can eat sushi while pregnant.
When you get pregnant, you might have a lot of questions about what foods you can and can’t eat, and you might be surprised to find out that eating sushi while pregnant is safer than you’d think.
While most people warn against consuming raw fish while pregnant, recent studies have actually shown that there is little you have to worry about. Still, there are certain kinds of sushi that you should avoid while you’re pregnant. Here’s what Matthew Delsignore shared with us.
Yes, It’s Okay to Eat
For decades, women have been cutting out one of their favorite foods—sushi—because most of it contains raw fish, but in reality, you can continue to eat it while pregnant. In fact, some studies have even revealed that it may reduce anxiety levels in a woman, which may result in a healthier pregnancy and baby.
That’s because most sushi-grade, raw fish is safe to eat. The main concern is parasites, which are incredibly rare today with the way fish is harvested and processed.
It starts with where they come from. Most salmon and other fish are farm-raised and harvested today, which makes them less likely to have parasites. Then, almost all the fish sent to sushi restaurants is frozen, so if they do have some sort of parasite, the process of being frozen will kill them, making the fish safe to eat. The same goes for pickled or cured fish.
Types You Should Avoid
However, even though most sushi is okay for you to eat, there are a few types you should avoid.
Don’t eat fish high in mercury, like swordfish, king mackerel, and tuna. Mercury is a toxin found in fish, which can cause serious health issues, such as Minamata disease and developmental issues if consumed during pregnancy. There are some fish that are quite low in mercury and they are the safest to eat. They include salmon, whitefish, and shrimp.
Then, don’t eat raw shellfish. Most foodborne illnesses associated with seafood comes from bacteria from uncooked shellfish rather than fish. If you order sushi that contains shellfish, make sure to ask the waiter if it is fully cooked.
If you’re still wary of eating sushi, opt for cooked rolls or ask if the fish has been frozen, cured, or pickled to ensure it is safe for both you and baby.
About Matthew Delsignore:
Matthew Delsignore is an expert in the restaurant business, particularly specializing in
Asian cuisine. A position of a sushi chef at a new establishment allowed Matthew to
share not only his love of food but also his knowledge of the industry. He is best known
for his work ethic and enthusiasm, combined with a passion for fitness.
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