Salmon, considered as one of the world's healthiest foods, salmons are a rich source of Omega 3. It is a health-supportive food and 4 ounces of baked salmon contains at least 2 grams of omega-3 fats. Salmon has earned its research reputation as a health-supportive food based largely on its unusual omega-3 fatty acid content. Reuters/Stringer

A balanced intake of lipids, found in fish, is crucial for the normal development of unborn babies’ brains according to researchers at the Tohoku University's School of Medicine. The health of the baby’s brain linked to a pregnant mother’s consumption of fish has now been explained, confirming that dietary lipid contains fatty acids such as omega-6 and omega-3, which are important nutrients for many animals and humans.

The researchers conducted the study on mice and fed these subjects with a diet poor in omega-6 and omega-3. As a result, the team observed that the animals’ offsprings were born with a smaller brain and exhibited abnormal emotional behaviours in adulthood.

According to experts, the results are important because many people in countries around the world have similarly poor dietary patterns and tend to eat more seed oil that are heavy in omega-6 fatty acids but eat less fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids.

Researcher Noriko Osumi, from the Department of Developmental Neuroscience, Centre for Neuroscience at Tohoku University's School of Medicine, said that the brain abnormality found in the subjects’ offsprings was caused by a premature aging of foetal neural cells that produce brain cells. An imbalance diet of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids encouraged this premature aging. Additionally, Osumi’s team noted increased anxiety levels in the offsprings, even though the animals were fed with a nutritionally optimised diet since the early lactation period.

The team conclude that a diet that contains a good balance of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids will improve the normal development of brain functions. Other studies have also shown the consequences of women eating foods low in omega-3 during pregnancy that support this new study’s claim.

Unlike previous research, the researchers of this study took the theory further and focused on the effects of dietary lipids on the brain function. Hence, the experts have finally revealed why a diet of omega-6 and omega-3 is significant for future brain function, reinforcing the idea that more fish intake during pregnancy can have great benefits on the child’s health.

Pregnant women are concerned with the intake of fish during pregnancy because of the mercury that turns into methylmercury, a neurotoxin found in most fish at minute amounts. Nevertheless, the Food and Drug Administration says that eating fish is safe in small amounts, recommending the weekly intake of two to three servings of fish low in mercury such as salmon, tilapia, shrimp, tuna (canned light), cod and catfish.