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Can You Eat Canned Tuna While Pregnant?

author image Janet Renee, MS, RD
Janet Renee is a clinical dietitian with a special interest in weight management, sports dietetics, medical nutrition therapy and diet trends. She earned her Master of Science in nutrition from the University of Chicago and has contributed to health and wellness magazines, including Prevention, Self, Shape and Cooking Light.
Can You Eat Canned Tuna While Pregnant?
A small glass bowl filled with canned tuna Photo Credit: Ildi_Papp/iStock/Getty Images

Fish are a good source of protein and other nutrients and an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids. They are low in saturated fat, promote heart health and are part of a well-balanced diet. However, as a pregnant woman, you must reduce your exposure to chemicals that can harm your growing baby. Because tuna and other fish contain varying levels of mercury, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency offers specific recommendations for expectant mothers.

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Tuna Guidelines for Expectant Mothers

The EPA recommends you limit your fish consumption to 12 ounces per week, which equates to two average meals containing 6 ounces each. Canned light tuna is low in mercury and is one of the best options if you are pregnant. Albacore is a white variety of tuna and comes from a bigger fish than light tuna. The larger the fish, the higher the mercury levels. The EPA confirms that albacore contains higher mercury levels than canned light tuna. If you choose albacore canned tuna, limit your consumption to 6 ounces weekly. Following these guidelines will help reduce your exposure to mercury.

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