Fish and Vitamin D, Broccoli Cheese Soup, Morning Sickness

Q: Is it true that fish are a good source of vitamin D?
Q: I love broccoli cheese soup, but is it a nutritional no-no?
Q: What are some recommended ways to cope with “morning sickness” during pregnancy?

Karen Collins, MS, RD, CDN
American Institute for Cancer Research

Q: Is it true that fish are a good source of vitamin D?

A: Most fish are not a good source of vitamin D. However, fish that are naturally higher in fat, such as wild salmon, mackerel and sardines, are good sources, providing about 300 to 400 International Units (IU) per three-ounce serving. That’s comparable to the amount in a 12- to 16-ounce glass of milk. Other fatty fish, such as trout and swordfish, reportedly provide some D, but not nearly as much as those few top sources. Farmed salmon and leaner seafood (like cod, haddock and clams) provide substantially less. The bottom line: Don’t count on fish to meet your needs for the vitamin. Moreover, eating such a limited variety of choices on a daily basis would not be consistent with recommendations to eat a variety of different fish.

Q: I love broccoli cheese soup, but is it a nutritional no-no?

A: Enjoying a high-nutrient cruciferous vegetable like broccoli is great, but delivered via a cheese soup, the nutritional superstar doesn’t shine so brightly. Super-rich versions of broccoli cheese soup use heavy cream, plenty of high-fat cheese and may add a substantial amount of butter. A large bowl can supply almost a day’s recommended limit for saturated fat. Prepared this way, it is best enjoyed as an occasional choice only. However, you can find recipes that use milk, reduced-fat cheese and preparation techniques that don’t require any added butter. But as a general rule of thumb, healthier choices will be broth- and tomato-based soups rather than creamy soups.

Q: What are some recommended ways to cope with “morning sickness” during pregnancy?

A: Nausea, sometimes accompanied by vomiting, is extremely common during pregnancy and may not be limited to mornings. Two of the latest trends to relieve symptoms (which are still being studied, but may be worth discussing with your doctor) are the use of acupressure bands – like acupuncture, but without the needles – and ginger, consumed as candied ginger, ginger tea or possibly supplements. According to the National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements, short-term use of ginger can safely relieve pregnancy’s nausea and vomiting. Make sure to discuss nausea and any alternative therapies you’re considering with your physician. In the meantime, here are some common household remedies often suggested:

* Try keeping some soda crackers by your bed and nibble a couple before you get up in the morning.
* Try 6 to 10 mini-meals spread throughout the day instead of regular meals.
* Save drinks for an hour or so after eating solid food (drink plenty of fluids, however).
* Avoid smoke and cooking smells, if possible.
* Try cold foods, which tend to have less aroma and might temporarily be easier to tolerate.


The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) is the cancer charity that fosters research on the relationship of nutrition, physical activity and weight management to cancer risk, interprets the scientific literature and educates the public about the results. It has contributed more than $86 million for innovative research conducted at universities, hospitals and research centers across the country. AICR has published two landmark reports that interpret the accumulated research in the field, and is committed to a process of continuous review. AICR also provides a wide range of educational programs to help millions of Americans learn to make dietary changes for lower cancer risk. Its award-winning New American Plate program is presented in brochures, seminars and on its website, AICR is a member of the World Cancer Research Fund International.


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