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Thread: Sardines

  1. #1
    angelique Guest

    Default Sardines

    Hi Everyone,

    I have a really dumb question.

    I want to start eating sardines as I have been told they are a great source of protein and calcium. Just wondering, are they ok to eat when pregnant and is there a particular brand that pregnant women should keep away from. A lot of them are made in Scotland, Portugal etc. What is safe anyway?

  2. #2


    there's no such thing as a dumb question AFAIK tined fish (tuna, salmon, sardines, anchovies etc) are all OK. You need to be careful of the amount of tuna you eat because it can contain mercury but you said you've gone off tuna so I geuss its not an issue for you ATM. You should be trying to eat a couple of serves of seafood a week because it contains omega oils.

  3. #3
    angelique Guest


    I eat a couple of cans of tuna a week, sometimes one.

    Is that ok?

  4. #4


    #-o sorry angelique its Tulip that's off the tuna not you.
    This is from the Food Authority of NSW website. I hope it answers your questions.
    Q/ Where does mercury in fish come from?
    A/ Mercury occurs naturally in the environment and accumulates in the aquatic food chain, including fish, as methyl-mercury. This means all fish contain some methyl-mercury.
    The good news is that most fish in Australian waters have very low mercury levels
    It is important to note that mercury from fish is generally not a health consideration for most people – it is only an issue for women planning pregnancy, pregnant women, breastfeeding women and children under six.

    Q/ Should I eat fish at all during pregnancy?
    A/ Yes! Fish is a highly nutritious food. As mentioned, fish is an excellent source of nutrients such as Omega 3 as well as vitamins. These nutrients provide important health benefits for you and your baby.
    Fish are a valuable source of protein, minerals, vitamin B12, iodine, and are low in saturated fat.
    By being informed about mercury and knowing the kinds of fish to limit (see table), you can avoid any potential harm from mercury while enjoying the many health benefits of fish.

    Pregnant & breastfeeding women & women planning pregnancy -1 serve equals 150 grams
    Children (up to 6 years) -1 serve equals 75 grams

    2 – 3 serves per week of any fish and seafood not listed below


    1 serve per week of Orange Roughy (Sea Perch) or Catfish and no other fish that week


    1 serve per fortnight of Shark (Flake) or Billfish (Swordfish / Broadbill and Marlin) and no other fish that fortnight

    Q/ Which fish have lower levels of mercury and can safely be included in my diet?
    A/ Fish that have much lower mercury levels and are also high in Omega 3 fatty acids include:
    Silver Warehou;
    Atlantic Salmon;
    Canned Salmon & canned tuna in oil;
    Herrings andSardines
    Other fish with low mercury levels include:
    All prawns, lobsters and bugs;
    All squids and octopus:
    Salmon and trout;
    Herring, Anchovy;
    These fish can be eaten more frequently – two to three times per week.

    Q/ Should I avoid eating fish if I am breastfeeding?
    A/ No. The benefits of breastfeeding your baby far outweighs any risk posed by the insignificant amount of mercury that might be present in breast milk.

    The critical time for the baby is while it is still developing in the womb. This is why scientifically-based diet advice recommends women start to limit their exposure to mercury to fish prior to pregnancy. This is no more difficult than reducing your weekly intake of certain types of fish, chiefly marlin, broadbill and shark.
    By doing this you will reduce the amount of mercury in your body before getting pregnant. This means only insignificant amounts of mercury will be present in your breast milk – not enough to affect your or your baby.
    Simply follow the same dietary advice as for pregnant women.

    Q/ Is canned tuna and salmon safe to eat regularly?
    A/ Yes. It is generally safe for all population groups, including pregnant women, to consume two to three serves of any type of tuna or salmon a week – canned or fresh.
    Canned tuna generally has lower mercury levels than other tuna because tuna used for canning are smaller species that are caught when they are less than one year old.

    Q/ Does processing or cooking reduce mercury levels?
    A/ No. Mercury content is not reduced by processing techniques such as canning, freezing or cooking.

    Q/ What if I eat more than 2-3 serves of fish per week?
    A/ Like all foods, fish should be eaten as part of a varied and balanced diet. Over-consumption of any single food group, particularly to the exclusion of other foods, is not recommended because it can lead to dietary imbalances and may increase your intake of potentially harmful substances, such as mercury.
    If you do eat more than 2-3 serves of fish per week it is important you eat a variety of fish, and avoid those that could have elevated mercury levels, such as shark/flake, marlin and billfish. see table

    Q/ What about fish oil products?
    A/ Fish oil products and supplements are not a major source of dietary mercury and there is no recommendation to restrict consuming them because of mercury.

    Q/ Is other seafood such as crustacea or molluscs a concern?
    A/ No. Crustacea (including prawns, lobster and crabs) and molluscs (including oysters and calamari) generally contain lower levels of mercury than finfish. Also, crustacea and molluscs tend not to be consumed as regularly, therefore they are not a concern (however there may be other health risks associated with eating mollusces).

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