A new Canadian study suggests that infants perform better cognitively if their mothers consumed more fruit during pregnancy.
Examining research from the Canadian Healthy Infant Longitudinal Development study, University of Alberta scientists found that if pregnant women ate six or seven servings of fruit a day, their infants placed six or seven points higher on an IQ scale at one year of age.
The study looked at data from nearly 700 Edmonton children.
Dr. Piush Mandhane, a senior study author, called it a “substantial difference.”
“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 shows the same results as being born a whole week later.”
The study looked at data that was the result of a cognitive development assessment known as the Bayley scale of infant development, which looks at multiple factors including visual preference, attention, memory and exploration.
A food questionnaire also asked the pregnant mothers to report the frequency and portion size of food since becoming pregnant. Total fruit intake was the daily sum of servings of fruit in addition to juice servings.
Also, fruit flies tested by the scientists were found to have improved learning and memory if their parents had more fruit juice in their diet.
However, in human, there was no improved learning when only the infants were only fed fruit postnatally.