Fish and shellfish are important in anyone’s eating habits. They contain high-quality protein, are low in saturated fat, and contain omega-3 fatty acids. These combine to get a food that is hard to get anywhere else. Fish is especially important in young children’s and pregnant and nursing mom’s eating habits. They enable young children to have proper growth and development.
While fish is very important in young children and pregnant and nursing mothers, it can also be dangerous to them, or anyone, if the wrong kinds of fish are eaten too much. Nearly all fish contain some mercury and some fish can contain dangerous levels of it if they are eaten too much. Young children and pregnant and nursing mothers are even more susceptible to it than most people. Too much mercury from fish or anything else can harm the nervous system of a developing baby or young child. The most dangerous fish that contain the highest mercury levels are shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish. Some of the most commonly eaten that contain the lowest amounts of mercury are shrimp and pollock. A good amount of fish and shellfish that are lower in mercury to eat is about 12 ounces (2 average meals) a week. This can lead to healthier babies and children if these guidelines are followed.