Science 2 min read

New Study: Eating Nuts in Early Pregnancy Boosts Children's Intelligence

JolaKalmuk / Pixabay

JolaKalmuk / Pixabay

According to a recent study, expectant mothers who regularly eat nuts during the early stages of pregnancy have more intelligent children.

In a study which involved 2,200 women and their children over eight years, researchers noted a link between eating nuts in early pregnancy and intelligence in children. Kids whose mothers ate three or more nut servings per week during the first trimester performed better in intelligence tests.

Not only was their cognitive function better than children whose mother consumed little or no nuts, but they also had a superior attention span and working memory.

How is this possible, you wonder?

How Eating Nuts in Early Pregnancy Boosts Intelligence

According to the research team at the Barcelona Institute for Global Health, the beneficial nutrients and essential fatty acid in the nuts may be responsible for the disparity.

Previous studies already linked cognitive function with the omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids present in nuts. That means, when a pregnant mother eats nuts, these essential fatty acids – including folic acid – accumulate in the fetus’s neural tissue.

Women whose children experience fetal brain development reportedly ate a weekly average of three 30g nut servings.

With that said, the association between intelligence and high nut intake may not extend past the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. The researchers noted that expectant mothers who ate more nuts at the final trimester did not pass the nutrients down to their offsprings.

According to the first author of the study, Florence Gignac:

“The brain undergoes a series of complex processes during gestation, and this means that maternal nutrition is a determining factor in fetal brain development and can have long-term effects.”

The study did not explain why only fetuses in the first trimester get the cognitive boost. However, co-author Jordi Julvez speculates that it must be the rhythm of the development.

Julvez noted that:

The rhythm of fetal development varies throughout the pregnancy, and there are periods when development is particularly sensitive to maternal diet.”

Several studies have already established the various benefits of nuts, whether it’s reducing the risk of diabetes, hypertension and oxidative stress or offering protection against cognitive decline in old age.

However, none have explored the relationship between eating nuts in early pregnancy and the mental performance of the children – until now.

Read More: Chinese Geneticist Claims to Have Gene Edited Human Embryos

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Sumbo Bello

Sumbo Bello is a creative writer who enjoys creating data-driven content for news sites. In his spare time, he plays basketball and listens to Coldplay.

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