The Food and Drug Administration is encouraging women and children to eat more fish.
Researchers said many are missing out on the high-quality protein, vitamins, minerals and omega-3 fatty acids fish can provide.
“The omega-3 fatty acids we find in fish and the protein content -- it’s got all of the vitamins and minerals and for the most part, most are low in saturated fat,” said Carrie Gonzales, a registered dietician at Cleveland Clinic Children's Hospital. “It’s a good source of nutrition that can help support fetal development and growth.”
Gonzales did not help create the guidelines.
The FDA recommendation encourages pregnant women, those who are thinking about becoming pregnant, breastfeeding mothers and children to eat eight to 12 ounces of fish per week.
FDA researchers say the entire package of nutrients fish provide may be needed to fully benefit fetal and child development.
They also suggest eating a variety of fish that are lower in mercury.
Most fish found in the grocery store fit the bill, including shrimp, salmon, canned light tuna, tilapia, catfish and cod.
Researchers said to avoid tilefish from the Gulf of Mexico, shark, swordfish and king mackerel, which have the highest levels of mercury.
Gonzales said if you or your children are not fish eaters, you can work it into their diet in creative ways.
“Certainly having some fun with fish to introduce it when they’re a little bit older, like fish tacos,” Gonzales said. “Switch it up from the typical beef taco or even trying fish sticks.”
The complete list of recommendations can be found online at www.FDA.gov.