What Foods Have DHA | How Much Of It During Pregnancy?

Foods that contain DHA are important, especially for women During Pregnancy.

Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is an omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid that plays a vital role in normal brain function and the growth, development of the child’s brain and a component of the heart. (123).

It is one of the major structural fats. It accounts for 97 percent of omega-3 fatty acids in the brain and 93 percent of omega-3 fatty acids in the retina.

DHA and other omega-3 fatty acids help with concentration, learning ability, and mental development of children.

So how exactly does DHA affect our health, and what are the benefits of increased DHA intake? What Foods Have DHA? How Much Of It do you need During Pregnancy?

Foods That Are Very High in DHA:

DHA is essential, especially for pregnant women. It can improve the developing fetal brain up to ten times.

But our body cannot, or only to a limited extent, produce it. So it is dependent on us taking it in our food.

best sources of DHA

Fish is an excellent source of DHA: 

 Fish and seafood are an important source of nutrients. It contains, among other things, omega-3 fatty acids like DHA in such high concentrations as no other food. (4).

These are the best sources of DHA: 

  • Salmon
  • Atlantic herring
  • Coal Fish
  • Different trout species
  • Sardines
  • Pacific rock oyster
  • Mackerel
  • Sea bass
  • Tuna
  • Oysters
  • Prawns
  • Scallops
  • Cod

You should eat several portions of fish a week. The World Health Organization recommends one to two portions of fish per week. And One serving should provide between 200 to 500 mg DHA and EPA.

ROE fish and fish eggs: 

Fish have a small percentage of DHA compared to the row of fish and fish eggs. 

Because only 1{23a935e40810e147a9f2406802bc54b2b4fd42064446c8b6538bcc40c333c187}of DHA in fish is in phospholipid form, and in the fish row is anywhere between 40 to 70{23a935e40810e147a9f2406802bc54b2b4fd42064446c8b6538bcc40c333c187}.

Besides, for pregnant women, this form is ten times better than the other forms of DHA. Because it is bioavailable and more of it ends up in the blood and the fetal brain.  

What about Mercury poisoning?

Some people avoid fish because of mercury contamination. But this is not true for all species. 

And yes, some fish that contains DHA are slightly contaminated with mercury. Still, the FDA and other organizations repeatedly emphasize that the benefits of eating fish containing DHA outweigh the risks associated with mercury exposure.

Egg Yolk and minced beef And other types of meat: 

There is a small amount of DHA in egg yolk (approx. 180 mg/100 g), poultry (approx. 105 mg/100 g), and liver (chicken approx. 61 mg/100 g). 

However, the liver should be eaten only very rarely during pregnancy due to its high vitamin A content. 

The Best 10 Vegan Sources Of  DHA: 

Vegans and vegetarians need omega-3 fatty acids and DHA, especially in their diet.  

Unfortionally, there is no source of DHA in the vegan diet. But Don’t worry about it; there is a solution. 

It can be challenging but is it worth it. As we said before, DHA is extremely beneficial. 

Plant-based foods contain an omega-3 fatty acid called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA).

ALA can be converted to DHA, allowing you to profit from the health benefits (5).

These are the best vegan sources of DHA: 

The Best 10 Vegan Sources Of  DHA


Edamame soybeans are a popular side dish in Japanese restaurants, and they are available in most frozen food stores. They contain a lot of ALA, several vitamins, minerals, and fiber, and a lot of protein. 

Chia seeds:

Chia seeds are good sources of healthy fats. And in addition to their high ALA content, chia seeds are a good source of fiber and some vitamins and minerals. (6, 78, 910).

You can use chia instead of flaxseed or as a healthy supplement to muesli or salad.

Canola oil:

Rapeseed oil is an excellent source of ALA and great versatile cooking oil. You can use it as a lighter alternative to olive oil.

Rapeseed oil withstands high temperatures and has a mild taste. It is suitable for almost all cooking types, baking, or as an ingredient for dressings and sauces.


When it comes to nutrition, walnuts are some of the best nuts. In terms of total ALA content, they are top of the line and contain a lot of protein and several vitamins and minerals. (2625242523).

Walnuts are excellent for snacks, salads, and muesli or as a delicious ingredient for baked goods and savory dishes. 

Tip: Buy walnuts in the shell for maximum freshness and keep all nuts in the refrigerator.

Pumpkin seeds:

Pumpkin seeds are an excellent snack choice to increase your ALA intake. They also have calcium, magnesium, and protein. 

You can buy pumpkin seeds already peeled, they are much easier to eat.

Pine nuts: 

Pine nuts are a good source of ALA. And they contain a lot of protein, monounsaturated fats, manganese, and some B-complex vitamins. 

You can find pine nuts in your local grocery store. They are usually already shelled.

Tip: Serve pesto made from pine nuts with whole-grain bread for an excellent starter.

White beans:

White beans are a good vegetable source of ALA, fiber, and manganese. 

They are also an excellent source of calcium, So it is a great dairy alternative

Hemp seeds:

Don’t worry; hemp seeds won’t get you high. And they are rich in ALA and minerals like iron and magnesium. 

They are not as common as flax seeds, but you should be able to find peeled hemp seeds in organic stores or the health food section of your local grocery store. (2220211819).

Hemp seeds are tiny and can be added to almost anything.

Brussel sprouts: 

Brussels sprouts are very nutritious and rich in ALA. These sprouts protect us from colds and flu-like infections, are a good source of vegetable protein, and protect us from carcinogenic substances (13121).

Brussels sprouts also contain secondary plant substances like sulforaphane that can help with cancer, inflammation, arthritis, asthma, and even autism. 

Other Vegetable oils:

Vegetable oils such as olive oil, algal oil, and linseed oil should be a part of the daily fat intake. They contain ALA, and they lower LDL cholesterol levels and protect the cardiovascular system.

How Much Of DHA You Need During Pregnancy?

Pregnant and lactating women should take between 300 to 900 mg DHA and EPA (combined). So they need about 200 mg of DHA daily for healthy fetal growth.

Also, pregnant women or planning to have a child should not consume large amounts of white tuna, shark, torpedo bass, swordfish, or king mackerel due to high mercury exposure.

So they shouldn’t consume more than 170 grams per week of these fish; instead, they can switch to salmon and sardines to cover their DHA requirements.

When you take it orally, more of it ends up in the phospholipid form. And as we said before, this form gets into the developing fetal brain ten times better than the other formes of DHA

Some studies suggest that an intake of 150 to 300 mg ALA per day generally positively affects health.

Bottom Line:

Research suggests that a sufficient supply of DHA protects infants, children from many illnesses and reduces the risk of certain health problems.

DHA improves the ability to learn, inhibits inflammation, and protects the heart.

On the other hand, a lack of DHA leads to learning difficulties and a decline in cognitive abilities with age and increases the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.