Time to start stocking up on peaches and plums and pears. Because according to a new study, eating fruit while preggers may actually make your kid smarter!
Consuming fruit has long been associated with reducing the risk of health conditions like heart disease and stroke. But now it looks like the benefits may actually start in the womb. Because the study found that mothers who ate more fruit during pregnancy had kids who performed better on developmental testing at 1 year of age.
Researchers used data from the Canadian Healthy Infant Longitudinal Development Study and took information from 688 children in Edmonton. "We wanted to know if we could identify what factors affect cognitive development," said the study's senior author Piush Mandhane. "We found that one of the biggest predictors of cognitive development was how much fruit moms consumed during pregnancy. The more fruit moms had, the higher their child's cognitive development."
How much more fruit are we talking about here? Six or seven servings a day. The pregnant moms who ate that much had kids who placed six or seven points higher on the traditional IQ scale than the average!
"It's quite a substantial difference," Mandhane explains. "We know that the longer a child is in the womb, the further they develop—and having one more serving of fruit per day in a mother's diet provides her baby with the same benefit as being born a whole week later."
Pretty amazing! In order to build on the research, Mandhane then partnered with Francois Bolduc, an associate professor in the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry's Division of Pediatric Neurology, to conduct a lab test on fruit flies. They found that flies born after being fed an increased amount of prenatal fruit juice had a significantly better memory ability, similar to the results found in Mandhane's study on babies.
These findings are definitely encouraging, but Mandhane cautions pregnant mamas against gorging themselves on fruit due to potential complications like gestational diabetes and high birthweight. Instead, let your doctor know you want to eat fruit during pregnancy, then get his or her recommendations for a daily regimen.