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May I eat sushi when pregnant?

Still controversial and one of the biggest doubts of pregnant women. Afterall, can women eat sushi during pregnancy? Or should it be avoided?

May I eat sushi when pregnant?
Margarida Gamboa
by Margarida Gamboa
Sushi is a dish of Japanese origin, with fermented fish and / or seafood and rice, preserved with salt. Despite the considerable amount of carbohydrates, sushi is a nutritionally interesting food that can be rich in protein, minerals, vitamins and omega 3.

Why avoid sushi?

Sushi isn’t different from other foods and involves careful preparation. High mercury values in some fish, such as tuna, can cause allergic reactions and / or bacterial contamination. By the way, tuna and swordfish should be avoided during pregnancy, as you may read in our article Foods to avoid when pregnant.

But the most commonly mentioned risks are parasite contamination, such as the so-called anisakia hematodes, which are destroyed by the heat of cooking or prior freezing of the fish (for at least 24 hours); and toxoplasmosis, caused by oocytes of the causative agent, toxoplasma gondii, present in the cats intestine cells. Toxoplasmosis contamination of fish is possible but unlikely. However, this parasite is also destroyed by cooking or freezing processes.

6 tips to eat sushi safely

1. Choose a restaurant you already know and have complete confidence in food preparation;
2. Even if you already know the restaurant, always ask them about the origin and preparation of the fish. Commonly, the fish is not previously frozen. Maybe the restaurant could prepare specially sushi for you if you book in advance;
3. At each visit, confirm with the chef that the fish has actually been previously frozen;
4. Choose to eat sushi with wasabi. Wasabi is an antimicrobial agent that helps in the elimination of bacteria;
5. Choose for tuna-free sushi pieces (commonly used). Tuna has high level of mercury;
6. You can also eat fried sushi pieces, called commonly hot sushi, usually fully cooked.

If you do not feel safe to eat sushi wait for the end of pregnancy (eating sushi while breastfeeding is safe). You can even ask the father to bring you sushi to the maternity: what a good first postpartum meal!
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