Though they are small, anchovies pack a powerful punch of flavors that is unique. Their distinct taste and aroma come from the healthy oils they contain mainly omega-3 fatty acids. Given that it is an acquired taste, many women find anchovies unappealing or have concerns about eating them during pregnancy. This article clarifies the safety of eating anchovies during pregnancy and provides some ideas on how to include them in your diet if you choose to do so.
Is anchovy safe to eat when you’re pregnant or not? Let’s get the facts straight and learn more about this fish and how it affects your unborn child.
Is it Safe to Eat Anchovy During Pregnancy?
Yes, It is safe to eat anchovies during pregnancy. It is a good source of protein, B vitamins, and vitamin D. There is no conclusive evidence on the safety of eating anchovies during pregnancy. However, there have been no studies showing that pregnant women should avoid consuming them. Women who are pregnant should consult their healthcare provider before consuming them.
It is best to consume anchovies in moderation, as they do contain some mercury, so limit your intake if you’re at risk for mercury poisoning. Anchovies are very nutritious and an important protein source in the diet. They can be used in salads, pasta dishes, fish dishes, sauces, and dips. They’re also a great source of vitamin B6 and omega-3 fatty acids.
Pregnant women should be careful not to eat raw or pickled anchovies in open containers in stores, and if anchovies come from cans, tins, or glass, it is safe for pregnant women.
Nutrients in anchovy
- DHA or docosahexaenoic acid: helps the development of the child’s brain
- Low fat and low calorie
- No sugar
- Vitamin A and K
Risks of Anchovy in Pregnancy
Anchovies can cause a variety of problems during pregnancy. These include Anchovy poisoning: Anchovy poisoning can happen when you eat anchovies or any other fish that contains the toxin tetrodotoxin. Tetrodotoxin causes paralysis and death in some people, which is why eating it is dangerous. The most severe form of anchovy poisoning happens when you eat several of them at once. Symptoms include muscle weakness, tremors, seizures, and eventually coma and death. The best way to avoid anchovy poisoning is to stay away from them completely. If you must eat anchovies, make sure that they are from a clean source such as a store-bought can or a restaurant that has been inspected by the government.
Worsening preeclampsia with anchovy ingestion: Preeclampsia is a complication of pregnancy that increases your risk of having a stroke or heart attack. It usually occurs after the 20th week of pregnancy and is also known as toxemia. Pre-eclampsia can be caused by many factors including high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, and high blood sugar levels (hypoglycemia). One study found an association between pre-eclampsia in pregnant women and their consumption of salmon and sardines containing high levels of omega-3 fatty acids (DHA), which is what anchovies provide.
Mercury Level in Anchovies
Anchovy fish is placed in the category of low-mercury in the classification of fish pamphlets, so pregnant women can safely eat this fish during pregnancy, but they should be careful to use this fish during the week.
How to consume anchovy fish?
- Anchovy fish can be consumed by frying, grilling, or smoking.
- They can also be consumed as a snack, straight out of the can
- They are often used as a flavoring or seasoning in dishes.
- A salad like an anchovy Caesar salad
- Including them in sushi
- Fried anchovies and steamed vegetables
Eating raw or Pickled anchovy fish during pregnancy
Pregnant women should avoid eating cold, pickled, and creamed anchovies that are sold in open containers in stores because they can carry listeria while eating pickled anchovies that are sealed can be safe for pregnant women.
Consuming canned anchovy during pregnancy
Anchovies are not sterilized by heat unlike other tuna fish, but they are semi-preserved.
Salted anchovies are safe to eat during pregnancy because when the fish is processed with salt, the bacteria are less likely to survive.
Can pregnant women use anchovy paste?
This dough is not raw, but sometimes it can be semi-preserved by using salt and other preservatives. It is safe to eat this paste during pregnancy, but it should be noted that it must be stored in the refrigerator after opening.
Anchovy fish is a delicious food for pregnancy, since this fish is rich in nutrients and minerals needed for the health and growth of the fetus, it is recommended that pregnant women use this fish in moderation or in general twice a week. But they should be careful that the fish is completely fried or cooked. Pregnant women should pay attention to buy anchovy in factory packaging and avoid eating anchovy in open containers in stores.