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New guidance to the United States Departments of Agriculture (USDA) and Human and Health Services (HHS) from 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) recommends that mothers and children eat more seafood to promote better brain health.

Among the recommendations are that women should eat seafood before, during and after pregnancy, and as children are weaned seafood should be prioritised as a food.

"Women who are pregnant should consume at least 8 and up to 12 ounces of a variety of seafood per week from choices that are lower in methlymercury and higher in omega-3 fatty acids. Women who are lactating should continue to consume seafood at the same amounts recommended during pregnancy."

READ MORE: Eating salmon helps brain development in children

The DGAC report will form the foundations of official dietary advice for all Americans for the next five years. According to the Seafood Nutrition Partnership, the 835 scientific study concludes that:

  • Seafood consumption before pregnancy may be related to reduced risk of gestational diabetes and hypertensive disorders.
  • Consumption during pregnancy may be related to reduced risk of hypertensive disorders and preterm birth and better cognitive development and language and communication development in children.
  • Women who are lactating should continue to consume seafood at the same amounts recommended during pregnancy.
  • Provide good sources of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, such as seafood, beginning at ages 6 to 12 months, and prioritise seafood for toddlers ages 12 to 24 months.

From the 2020 DGAC Final Report Executive Summary

  • The Committee’s reviews also suggested that seafood intake before pregnancy as part of a healthy dietary pattern, particularly intake of fish high in omega-3 fatty acids, may be related to reduced risk of gestational diabetes and hypertensive disorders, and that consumption during pregnancy may be related to reduced risk of hypertensive disorders and preterm birth and better cognitive development and language and communication development in children.
  • …the Committee’s review suggested that seafood choices are important components of a healthy dietary pattern for women.
  • For toddlers ages 12 to 24 months who are fed neither human milk nor infant formula, the Committee was able to establish a recommended Food Pattern. The Pattern allows for a variety of nutrient-rich animal-source foods, including meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, and dairy products, as well as nuts and seeds, fruits, vegetables, and grain products, prepared in ways that are developmentally appropriate for this age. Key aspects to emphasize include choosing potassium-rich fruits and vegetables, prioritizing seafood, making whole grains the predominant type of grains offered, and choosing oils over solid fats

READ MORE: Why salmon is good for seniors

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