Should Pregnant Women Stay Away from Canned Tuna?

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As if pregnant women don't have enough to worry about, you can add something new to the list.

Women have long known to avoid eating too much fish when they're pregnant; the FDA recommends only 2-3 servings per week. But now Consumer Reports is recommending they stop eating canned tuna completely.

Tuna has high levels of mercury, but "light" canned tuna was thought to be better for you. Consumer Reports says not so much. Mercury levels are on the rise, up 30 percent in the last 20 years, and no one really knows the long term effects. Small fish eat plants that contain mercury and since the bigger fish eat the smaller ones, they too get contaminated with mercury.

So to be safe, Consumer Reports says pregnant women shouldn't eat it at all. Forget the "chicken of the sea," stick with chicken on land. They also break down recommended fish consumption based on mercury levels. These are their findings:

Lowest-Mercury Fish
According to Consumer Reports, if you love to eat fish, then you can enjoy the following without much worry: scallops, shrimp, sardines, wild and Alaskan salmon, oysters, squid and tilapia. These fish typically contain the lowest levels of mercury, but it's important to find out the origins of the fish. So make sure you know where exactly the fish came from. A 132-pound person can enjoy 36-ounces of the lowest-mercury fish a week.

Low Mercury-Fish
These fish Consumer Reports indicates are low in mercury: pollock, flounder, sole, haddock, trout, catfish, domestic crawfish, Atlantic croacker, Atlantic mackerel, crab and mullet. They say that a 132-pound person can eat 18 ounces of low-mercury fish a week.

Highest Mercury Fish
The FDA and EPA say that most women and young children should avoid consuming swordfish, shark, king mackerel and gult tilefish. The FDA and EPA are considering adding marlin and orange roughly to the list as well. Consumer Reports also suggests limiting your consumption of grouper, chilean sea bass, bluefish, halibut, Spanish mackerel (Gulf), sablefish (black cod) and fresh tuna (except skipjack).

Watch the video above to learn more about the new report on pregnant women avoiding canned tuna. Then, check out the slideshow below to discover how to pick the safest fish to eat.

Image Credit: Getty Images

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