What Sushi Is Safe During Pregnancy?

October 8, 2015

I love sushi. It is probably my FAVORITE food on the face of the Earth! Even though I am pregnant, I still eat it.
“WHAT?? But you are not supposed to…..” I can hear your thoughts now. Ladies, rest assured-not all sushi is banned when you are expecting!

First, let’s talk facts.

When it comes down to it, undercooked or raw meats and fish are deemed unsuitable during pregnancy due to bacteria. Why? Well, you could get sick, for starters. When you get sick while pregnant, you risk your body doing everything that it can to rid the sickness away… that includes possibly harming the baby in the process.

“So… how do I avoid getting sick?” Don’t eat raw fish.

“But I thought all sushi was raw?” No, ma’am! Explore around!

Here I am in a photo from last night with 3 rolls (yeah, I eat 3-don’t judge!) and they are all cooked. Two of the rolls are steak, avocado, and spicy mayo which is called the Cowboy Roll in most places. The other roll is a Soft Shell Crab Roll which is flash fried (ok, ok, but I do not eat friend foods all the time!) so they are not raw! Most menus will tell you what is cooked and what isn’t, but always ask when in doubt. Another safety tip: Always get them to make your sushi on a clean cutting board-not one that has been touched by raw fish.

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Another thing that people worry about when it comes to sushi and pregnancy are the mercury levels in fish. Consuming fish or seafood with high mercury levels can really harm your baby because, in large amounts, it can become toxic to the nervous system.

According to AmericanPregnancy.org, you should avoid the following sushi while pregnant:

Ahi (yellowfin tuna)
Aji (horse mackerel)
Buri (adult yellowtail)
Hamachi (young yellowtail)
Inada (very young yellowtail)
Kanpachi (very young yellowtail)
Katsuo (bonito)
Kajiki (swordfish)
Maguro (bigeye, bluefin or yellowfin tuna)
Makjiki (blue marlin)
Meji (young bigeye, bluefin* or yellowfin tuna)
Saba (mackerel)
Sawara (spanish mackerel)
Shiro (albacore tuna)
Seigo (young sea bass)*
Suzuki (sea bass)*
Toro (bigeye, bluefin or yellowfin tuna)
The FDA has identified four fish with the highest levels of mercury that should be avoided during pregnancy. These include tilefish from the Gulf of Mexico, swordfish, shark, and king mackerel. Albacore tuna should also be limited to 6 ounces per week.

Here are some fish with lower mercury levels that you can enjoy up to two 6-oz servings a week:

Akagai (ark shell)
Anago (conger eel)
Aoyagi (round clam)
Awabi (abalone)
Ayu (sweetfish)
Ebi (shrimp)
Hamaguri (clam)
Hamo (pike conger; sea eel)
Hatahata (sandfish)
Himo (ark shell)
Hokkigai (surf clam)
Hotategai (scallop)
Ika (squid)
Ikura (salmon roe)
Kaibashira (shellfish)
Kani (crab)
Karei (flatfish)
Kohada (gizzard shad)
Masago (smelt egg)
Masu (trout)
Mirugai (surf clam)
Sake (salmon)
Sayori (halfbeak)
Shako (mantis shrimp)
Tai (sea bream)
Tairagai (razor-shell clam)
Tako (octopus)
Tobikko (flying fish egg)
Torigai (cockle)
Tsubugai (shellfish)
Unagi (freshwater eel)
Uni (sea urchin roe)

Here is a list of pregnancy-safe sushi rolls:

Steak and Chicken Rolls
California Rolls
Shrimp Rolls
Eel Rolls
Cooked salmon (i’m seeing this on more menus)
Vegetable Rolls
Tempura Rolls (shrimp, crab, vegetable – while not the healthiest it’s always fully cooked)

Now, enjoy your sushi safely!

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PLEASE NOTE: Following and/or participating in my blog, daily workouts, meal plans, and any tips or advice is solely your decision. I recommend checking with your physician prior to following any of the workouts or meal plans that I share. I am very open in sharing that I am not a health care professional, personal trainer, nutritionist, or counselor. I provide the workouts, meals, and tips that have worked for me based on my personal experiences.

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