In the study, participants who never or almost never ate oily fish or oily (like tuna or salmon) were 53 percent more likely to have high levels of anxiety in the third trimester of pregnancy, compared with women who ate fish at least once a week.
The researchers also found that vegetarian women, those who followed a strict diet were 25 percent more likely to have anxiety, compared with women who were more flexible vegetarian diets and even occasionally ate meat or fish.
The link between higher fish consumption and reduced risk of anxiety may be due to omega-3 fatty acids from fish, according to researchers, who published their findings in the journal PLoS ONE on July 12.
While stress is not uncommon in pregnant women, studies have linked high levels of anxiety during pregnancy with preterm delivery or low birth weight.
Some fish and shellfish are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are among the substances that our body is not able to generate by itself and must be obtained from the diet.
While poor intake of omega-3 can exacerbate anxiety out of pregnancy, as suggested by previous research, the effects can be more pronounced during pregnancy. Because the nutritional demands of the fetus, a pregnant woman may experience a more severe deficiency of omega-3, according to the researchers.
Pregnant women should avoid eating fish that contain high levels of mercury, such as bluefin tuna, emperor, king mackerel or shark. It's safe to eat up to 340 grams a week (the equivalent of two meals) of a variety of low-mercury fish such as albacore tuna (canned tuna) or salmon, sardines, herring, mackerel, anchovies or anchovy , mullet, eel, common-mackerel, mackerel, halibut, sea trout, dogfish, in short, smaller fish that accumulate mercury.
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