Can You Eat Sushi When Pregnant: the Do’s and Don’ts for a Safe and Tasty Experience
If you are a sushi lover and an expecting mother, you may have heard mixed opinions on whether it is safe during pregnancy. But fear not; we have got you covered. Sushi can be a delicious and healthy option for pregnant women, but remember some essential dos and don’ts to ensure a safe and tasty experience.
Pregnancy is a time when women need to be careful about what they eat. Sushi is a popular dish many pregnant mothers enjoy, but there are concerns about its safety. We have researched and compiled a comprehensive guide on the best practices for enjoying it during pregnancy.
We will discuss the nutritional benefits of sushi during pregnancy, the risks of consuming it during pregnancy, safe alternatives for pregnant ladies, and common myths about it.
With all the information, you’ll better understand how to enjoy sushi safely during pregnancy.
Nutritional Benefits of Sushi with Cooked Fish During Pregnancy
Sushi is a popular Japanese dish of rice, seaweed, and seafood or vegetables. It’s a low-calorie and nutrient-dense food packed with vitamins and minerals.
Sushi is an excellent source of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and iodine, which are all essential nutrients for a healthy pregnancy.
One of the main nutritional benefits of sushi is its high protein content. Protein is essential for the growth and development of the fetus, and pregnant women need to consume more protein than non-pregnant women. It is an excellent source of protein because it contains fish, which is high in protein and low in fat.
Omega-3 Fatty Acid
Another nutritional benefit of sushi is its omega-3 fatty acid content. Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for the baby’s development and the fetal brain and eyes. They also help reduce the risk of preterm labor and preeclampsia. It is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids because it contains fish like salmon, tuna, and mackerel.
Finally, sushi is a good iodine source, vital for fetal brain development. Iodine is essential for the production of thyroid hormones, which regulate metabolism and growth. Pregnant mothers need more iodine than other women, and it can be an excellent way to get this essential nutrient.
While sushi can be a healthy food choice during pregnancy, there are also some risks. One of the main risks of consuming it during pregnancy is the risk of foodborne disease. Let’s discuss it further.
Risks of Eating Raw Fish Sushi During Pregnancy: Why Your Doctors Advise You Not To Eat It
You must first know why doctors advise you not to eat raw fish sushi during pregnancy.
The raw fish is what makes eating sushi dangerous for expectant mothers. Raw fish can contain harmful bacteria and parasites that can cause food poisoning. Pregnant women are at a higher risk of getting flu like symptoms from foodborne disease and bacterial contamination because their immune systems are weaker.
Salmonella bacteria can be present in raw fish if not treated correctly. Salmonella grows exponentially faster as their habitat gets warmer. These bacteria thrive in raw animal foods, mainly where they can spread quickly.
Typically, cooking stops salmonella’s spread since it eradicates all germs found in meat, produce, or other food items. Sushi isn’t cooked; therefore, that’s where the issue lies.
So what exactly occurs when you get a salmonella infection?
A severe illness drains your body severely and risks your life. Also, it weakens your body’s immunity to other diseases. An infection may persist for a week or more. Even when you recover from an illness, you might spread the infection for a while.
The risk to your unborn developing baby is also present, so physicians advise against eating fish when pregnant. Since their immune system is so weak, your growing baby may also get the infection and that can affect the baby’s brain development. This is the worst possible situation for an unborn kid.
Risks of Mercury Exposure
Another risk of consuming sushi during pregnancy is the risk of mercury poisoning. Some types of fish, like swordfish, shark, and king mackerel, can contain high levels of mercury.
Mercury is a toxic metal that can harm the fetal brain and nervous system and lead to birth defects. Therefore, pregnant women should avoid eating fish and limit their consumption of other types of fish to two servings per week.
Despite these risks, there are still safe types of alternatives that expecting mothers can enjoy.
Safe Types of Sushi to Eat During Pregnancy
Even if you can’t eat sushi with raw fish, don’t be worried. While pregnant ladies should avoid certain types of options, there are still plenty of safe options.
There are several sushi eating options besides raw fish when craving outstanding Japanese cuisine.
- You may get equally excellent vegetarian sushi. From basic cucumber to avocado or even tofu, ingredients are available.
- Instead, you may cook the fish. It’s not that unusual to find cooked fish in sushi. Smoked Salmon or fried is frequently paired with other ingredients, such as cream cheese, soy sauce, avocado, and a few spring onions.
- Moreover, you may pair your sushi with an omelet. To make the filling for a maki roll, fry three to four eggs, season with salt and pepper, and perhaps add some salsa.
Cooked sushi is generally safe to eat as it’s made with fresh ingredients and prepared in a clean environment. Any cooked fish sushi roll would do. Select seafood with reduced mercury levels, such as salmon. Avoid eating seafood with high mercury levels, such as cooked eel, tilefish, swordfish, and bigeye tuna.
Some types of cooked and safe sushi rolls include:
- California roll
- Vegetable rolls
- Cucumber rolls
- Avocado rolls
- Tempura rolls
In addition to cooked sushi, some raw types are safe to eat during pregnancy. For example, sushi with fish that has been frozen first is generally safe to eat because freezing kills any harmful parasites or bacteria.
It’s important to note that most fish is deep frozen. Even yet, several nations advise against consuming raw or undercooked fish while pregnant because of the possibility of bacterial infection.
We advise pregnant women to limit their consumption of raw sushi, even deep-frozen, and choose high-quality items from reputable sources.
Sushi to Avoid During Pregnancy
While there are safe types of sushi to eat during pregnancy, some types of sushi should be avoided. Raw sushi made with high-mercury fish should be avoided, as well as sushi made with raw shellfish.
Some kinds of fish to avoid during pregnancy include:
- King mackerel
- Raw oysters
- Raw clams
- Raw scallops
You must also avoid sushi sitting out at room temperature for an extended period, as this can increase the risk of foodborne illness.
Tips for Ordering Sushi During Pregnancy
If you’re a sushi lover who’s expecting, there are some tips you can follow to ensure a safe and tasty experience.
Eat in a clean sushi restaurant
First, choose a reputable restaurant like Rika Moon with fresh ingredients and a clean environment. Ask the chef if the fish has been previously frozen, and avoid sushi sitting out for a long time. The best choice is sushi made from cooked fish.
Have small servings
When ordering sushi during pregnancy, you must be mindful of portion sizes. Pregnant women should limit their consumption of raw fish to two servings per week and choose cooked ones or vegetarian options i
Wash your hands before eating
Finally, wash your hands before and after eating sushi to reduce the risk of foodborne illness.
Can Pregnant Women Eat Sushi? Check The Alternatives
If you’re uncomfortable eating sushi during pregnancy or are confused about what type of smoked fish to eat, there are plenty of other options. You may find even more safe dishes if you exercise a little creativity.
Some typical sushi menu for pregnant mothers include:
- Poke bowls made with lightly cooked fish or tofu
- Sashimi made with cooked fish or tofu
- Vegetable rolls
- Avocado rolls
- Cucumber rolls
These alternatives are healthy and delicious options that can satisfy your cravings without the risks of raw fish.
Read: Steer clear of Uncooked sushi. Also, don’t consume too much though. A significant quantity of iodine, which can even be detrimental to healthy, non-pregnant persons, is present in nori leaves. But, if you consume sushi in moderation, it will not harm your child.
Common Myths About Sushi During Pregnancy
There are many myths about sushi and pregnancy, and it’s important to separate fact from fiction.
Pregnant women should avoid all sushi
While some types of sushi should be avoided, there are also safe options that expecting women can enjoy.
Pregnant women should avoid all raw fish
While pregnant mothers should limit their consumption of raw or undercooked seafood and fish, some types of raw fish are still safe to eat. For example, sushi with fish that has been frozen first is generally safe to eat.
Sushi can induce labor
Some people believe that sushi can induce labor. There is no scientific evidence to support this claim, and sushi is not known to have any effect on labor or delivery.
Again, we advise eating sushi only when you are comfortable. It is best to avoid raw fish. If in doubt, skip sushi while pregnant. You must consult your gynecologist as they will recommend the best and healthy eating choice, depending on your health.
Enjoying Sushi Safely During Pregnancy
Sushi can be a healthy and delicious food choice during pregnancy, but it’s essential to be mindful of the risks. Pregnant ladies should avoid uncooked and raw sushi made with high-mercury fish, raw seafood, and shellfish. They should limit their consumption of raw fish to two servings per week.
Cooked sushi and vegetarian options are safe alternatives to raw sushi, and pregnant women should choose high-quality sushi from reputable sources. With these guidelines, you can enjoy sushi safely and satisfy your cravings for this tasty and nutritious food.
So, if you’re an expecting mom or know someone who is, learn how to enjoy a safe and tasty sushi experience during pregnancy.