Pregnancy can put a lot of restrictions on what food you can or cannot eat. You have to be very picky about what meals you can eat since some ingredients can be harmful to your baby.
Seafood is one of the most misunderstood food categories, especially for pregnant moms. With so many fishes in the sea, it can feel like a landmine picking which seafood is safe on the dinner plate.
Many people enjoy consuming crawfish, whether on its own or mixed into a meal. But can pregnant moms enjoy this freshwater delicacy?
Can You Eat Crawfish While Pregnant?
Crawfish, also known as crayfish, crawdads, or mudbugs, are a type of crustacean. Think of them as bite-size lobsters. Crawfish are a close relative of other shellfish, like lobsters, shrimps, and crabs.
Crawfish-loving mothers can soundly eat this shellfish because crawfish are safe to consume, even during pregnancy. Crawfish, on average, contain only 0.033 ppm of mercury which is considered low by the Food and Drug Administration. Locally sourced crawfish is your best option since you can determine the mercury content of your product.
You do not have to worry about eating crawfish while pregnant (unless you are allergic to shellfish). Crawfish can be a great protein booster for your diet. But crawfish can go beyond protein.
What Are The Health Benefits of Eating Crawfish?
Crawfish, like many shellfishes, are loaded with valuable nutrients that can be a part of a healthy diet. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends pregnant and breastfeeding parents consume 8 to 12 ounces of low-mercury seafood a week. Seafood, including crawfish, is a fantastic source of protein and can be an alternative to meat and poultry.
Crawfish is low in calories and fat. 100 grams of crawfish comes in at around 77 calories and 0.95 grams of fat. Researchers also suggest eating seafood like crawfish since it can decrease the risk of heart disease and obesity.
Crawfish contains some amount of omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin A. It is not as plentiful as oily fish like salmon, but a heaping serving of crawfish can still pack a nutritious punch.
Crawfish live in freshwater, including ponds, lakes, rivers, and springs. They feast on plenty of insects and zooplankton. These food are rich in vitamin B complex, and the nutrients are most likely passed onto humans when we consume the crawfish’s meat.
Other nutrients in crawfish meat include folates, niacin, vitamin B6, thiamin, and riboflavin. Crawfish are also rich in minerals like iron, phosphorus, calcium, and potassium, to name a few.
The way you cook your crawfish matters too. Boiling them is the least complicated way to prepare crawfish, and it is also the healthiest. Always make sure your crawfish are well-cooked when they come out of the pot.
How Can I Safely Eat Crawfish?
Many parents worry about the mercury content of seafood. Many fish, like sharks and swordfish, have high amounts of mercury. Mercury is naturally in the environment, but unborn babies are sensitive to its effects.
Fortunately, crawfish contains low amounts of mercury compared to other fish. However, their small size means you can go overboard with the 8 to 12-ounce limit. Remember that seafood, including crawfish, should only be served 2 to 3 per week.
If you also suspect that you have allergies to shellfish, avoid eating crawfish. Shellfish allergies can cause symptoms ranging from annoying to life-threatening.
Safety during preparation is also a must. You can easily cross-contaminate other food when handling crawfish. So use a separate and sterilized cutting board or knife when prepping raw crawfish.
Unlike some fish and oysters, crawfish are dangerous when eaten raw or undercooked. They can lead to food poisoning or parasitic infection. A well-done crawfish should have an internal temperature of 165F (74C). Pregnancy can make your immune system weaker, so be careful about how you prepare your food.
How Do I Prepare Crawfish at Home?
It is nice to buy crawfish from a restaurant. But nothing beats the taste of homemade food. Many people can find crawfish intimidating to cook at first, but you will be surprised by how easy it is to prepare them.
Remember to always wash your crawfish before cooking them. They are called mudbugs for a reason. Rinse them thoroughly with fresh water to clean off the dirt and grime.
The most popular way to prepare crawfish is by boiling them. Not only is boiled crawfish tasty, but it can thoroughly cook the insides of the shellfish and bring it to a safe and edible temperature. Delicious boiled crawfish will only take an hour to cook, and you can incorporate them in other food like jambalaya or etouffee.
Crawfish is usually available year-round in the grocery store. Likewise, you can buy crawfish from online stores, and they will ship them frozen. The USA is one of the biggest crawfish producers. The EPA and FDA closely inspect these products before exporting them across the country and the world.
However, the same cannot be said with imported crawfish. Many of these imported goods do not have regulations and have dubious amounts of mercury. So if you are unsure of your seller, stick to locally sourced fish.
Crawfish are best cooked fresh when the shellfish are alive and kicking. But in a scenario where you need to store your crawfish, keeping them in the freezer is the best thing to do. But remember that defrosting and re-freezing crawfish can alter the flavor.
Crawfish can be a tasty part of a homemade meal if prepared correctly. Besides crawfish, pregnant mothers can also enjoy other shellfish like crabs and lobsters if they grow tired of the tiny crustacean.
Does crawfish contain mercury?
Crawfish contains a low amount of mercury and can be safely consumed by pregnant and breastfeeding mothers.
Is crawfish rich in omega-3 fatty acids?
Crawfish are a healthy, low-calorie source of omega-3 fatty acids. Besides omega-3 fatty acids, crawfish also contain vitamin A.
Can you eat crawfish raw?
It is dangerous to eat crawfish raw, and it can even potentially give you a severe parasitic infection. Avoid raw crawfish at all cost!