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Eat right

New study suggests what women should consume while pregnant to make their babies smarter

August 30, 2016

Data from a new study at the University of Alberta is being treated cautiously, but researchers are excited by the findings, which indicated that pregnant women who eat more fruit might increase the intelligence of their offspring. Prior to this study, fish had been the only food linked to enhanced prenatal cognitive development. The results of the study showed that as the daily servings of fruit consumed by pregnant women increased, so did the cognitive scores when their children were tested at one year of age. Doctors are still cautiously optimistic about the results and aren’t ready to recommend women begin consuming large quantities of fruit while pregnant. “We don’t want pregnant women to go out and eat a tremendous amount of fruit,” Piush Mandhane, an associate professor of pediatrics at University of Alberta and one of the lead authors of the study, said. “It’s a single study, and we haven’t looked at the health effects of increased fruit intake.” Of course, increased fruit intake can increase blood sugar levels and add to extra weight-gain — both issues especially for patients experiencing gestational diabetes. But, most people don’t even eat half of the recommended daily servings of fruit. That statistic extends to pregnant women as well.

The study analyzed 3,600 women over a period of time between 2008 and 2012. “Fruit kept coming back to the top of the list as a factor associated with cognitive development,” Piush said. “Most surprising was how big an effect it was. When my data analyst showed me, I said you’ve got to do it again, I just don’t believe it.” Indeed, as pregnant women consumed more and more fruit, the data showed, their children showed higher scores on developmental tests. Piush said the maximum daily serving topped at about six or seven servings of fruit per day. More than that showed no further increases in cognitive development.

Read the full story at The Wall Street Journal.


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