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Brain Food

Researchers asked new moms about their fish consumption during pregnancy, measured mercury levels in the women's hair, then tested the memory of their babies at six months.

Women who eat fish during their second trimester may boost their baby's brainpower--as long as the fish is low in mercury. Researchers asked new moms about their fish consumption during pregnancy, measured mercury levels in the women's hair, then tested the memory of their babies at six months. They found that a baby's memory score rose by four points for each weekly serving of low-mercury fish the mother ate in midpregnancy. But babies whose mom's hair showed evidence of high mercury intake during pregnancy scored lower on memory. Most fish contain traces of mercury, but larger fish, such as swordfish, shark, tilefish and albacore tuna, have higher levels. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration encourages pregnant women to eat up to 12 ounces weekly of low-mercury seafood, such as shrimp and canned light tuna. For info, visit http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~dms/admehg3b.html.

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