Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Ralph Brennan's New Orleans Seafood Cookbook May Help Pregnant Women

Yes, its true, seafood is great for you! A study by Dr. Shelia M. Innis and Ralph W. Friesen published in the March 7, 2008, edition of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition demonstrates a link between DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid), the source of Omega-3 fatty acids, and the development of the eyes and brains of newborns via the consumption of seafood and other foods rich in Omega-3. The study focused on pregnant women and their intake of DHA starting in the fourth month of pregnancy till birth and showed that some women were DHA deficient.

A news release (PDF) dated March 7, 2008, from the Child & Family Research Institute where the study originated goes into more detail and states that the typical North American diet, rich in meat and little fish, may pose a risk to the neurological development of infants. The study is part of a general trend to update dietary recommendations for pregnant and breastfeeding women.

For the study, the researchers recruited 135 pregnant women and randomly assigned them to either a group that took an omega-3 fatty acid supplement or ones that took a placebo. All the women continued eating their regular diets. The supplement added the equivalent of two fatty fish meals per week, an amount that the researchers estimated would prevent deficiency. The researchers tested the women’s blood samples at 16 and 36 weeks of pregnancy and measured the amount of DHA (docasohexaenoic acid), a type of omega-3 fatty acids that’s known to be important for brain and eye function.
Women with a diet rich in fish gave birth to babies with stronger visual activity. Testing showed a noticeable difference between babies with more meat in their diet and babies with more fish in their diet (via pre-natal nutrition of the mother and breast-feeding) with babies with high DHA levels scoring better than DHA deficient babies as early as two months of age.

With Ralph Brennan's New Orleans Seafood Cookbook, expectant or breastfeeding mothers will find easy to prepare, delicious recipes that will help meet their nutritional needs. We would welcome any comments from expectant or breastfeeding mothers, doctors or nutritionists who would like to shed further light on this subject.

SOURCE: "Essential n-3 Fatty Acids in Pregnant Women and Early Visual Acuity Maturation in Term Infants" 03/07/08
SOURCE: "American Journal of Clinical Nuitrition" 03/07/08
SOURCE: "Typical North American Diet is Deficient in omega-3 Fatty Acids" (PDF) 03/07/08
SOURCE: "Child and Family Research Institute"
photo courtesy of Nereus Dooley, used under this Creative Commons license

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