Eating Fish During Pregnancy Might Decrease ADHD Symptoms In Kids

A new study says that eating fish during pregnancy decreases the risk of ADHD. Seriously, the benefits of fish while pregnant just keep getting better, so bring on those tuna fish sandwich cravings!

Fish, particularly the fatty kind, is kind of like a pregnancy magic food. It is full of healthy antioxidants has been shown to improve the baby's brain power. It is good for both the baby's and the expectant mama's health.

But now there is even more specific evidence proving that eating fish during pregnancy can reduce your baby's risk of developing Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, a debilitating condition.

READ MORE: Moms Who Exercise During Pregnancy Give Their Baby A Motor Skills Boost

A study published in the International Journal of Epidemiology on Wednesday found that children around eight years of age, whose mothers ate four servings of nutrient-rich fish a week, scored 16 percent higher on attention span testing than their peers. Oily fish like salmon and mackerel appeared to have the most significant effect when eaten during the first trimester of pregnancy. The first trimester is the time when most of the brain development takes place.

Baked salmon garnished with asparagus and tomatoes with herbs. Top view
Credit: iStock

In fact, the more fish the expecting mothers ate, the better their results were. Those who ate one serving of fish every day scored 24 percent higher compared to moms who ate just one serving of fish per week.

The ADD Research Center estimates that 6.4 million American children ages 4-17 have ADHD. ADHD  affects a person's ability to pay attention, sit still, and exhibit self-control. Struggling with these types of behaviors makes success in school, and later in the workplace, extremely difficult.

There is one major caveat. Despite its many benefits, fish comes with a warning label. Because our oceans are polluted, the fish we eat is contaminated with mercury. The FDA's guidelines to eat just two to three servings a week of fish during pregnancy trump other benefits, unfortunately.

Smaller fish are safe, so stick with low mercury fish like light canned tuna, cod, mackerel, and trout. Lastly, avoid raw fish which has a higher potential to carry listeria.

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