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Why eating a lot of fruit daily during pregnancy can make your child smarter


(NaturalNews) It is no secret that fruit is one of the healthiest and most nutritious foods any person can eat, but a new study indicates just how crucial it is for pregnant women to eat plenty of fruit.

The study, which was published in EBioMedicine, involved an analysis of data taken from 688 children who were part of the Canadian Healthy Infant Longitudinal Development (CHILD) Study. After controlling for factors that might affect a child's learning such as parental education, gestational age and family income, the researchers found that children whose mothers consumed six or seven servings of fruit each day scored six or seven points higher on the traditional IQ scale at one year of age.

In fact, the study's senior author, Professor Piush Mandhane, said that when pregnant women eat one or more servings of fruit each day, they are giving their baby the same developmental benefits as actually spending an additional week in the womb.

The researchers took their findings one step further by experimenting with fruit flies. It might sound like an odd choice, but fruit flies actually have 85 percent of the genes that are connected to brain function in humans and are therefore ideal for studying the genetics of memory. The flies that were born after consuming elevated amounts of prenatal fruit juice displayed significantly higher memory abilities.

The researchers even believe that the connection between fruit and cognitive function has been maintained via evolution and is present across various species.

Don't overdo it

There are a few caveats, however. First of all, the researchers noted that pregnant women who consume too much sugar – even the natural sugars found in fruit – are at a higher risk of gestational diabetes and giving birth to a baby with a higher birth weight. Therefore, it is better to keep fruit consumption within reason. The study's authors found six to seven servings per day to be ideal. Although the researchers found that fruit juice carried the benefits for the brain that fruit did, whole fruit is always the better choice because it also offers fiber.

Stick to organic fruit

In addition, pregnant women should make a point of consuming organic fruit. A series of studies published in Environmental Health Perspectives showed that pesticide exposure has a negative impact on children's perceptual reasoning.

Researchers from the University of California, Davis, also demonstrated the connection between pesticide exposure during pregnancy and a higher risk of developmental delays and autism spectrum disorders.

Director of The Children's Environmental Health Center at Icahn School of Medicine in New York, Dr. Philip J. Landrigan, commented on that study: "We already knew from animal studies as well as from epidemiologic studies of women and children that prenatal exposure (to pesticides) is associated with lower IQ. ... This study builds on that, uses the population of a whole state, looks at multiple different pesticides and finds a pattern of wide association between pesticide exposure and developmental disability."

Pregnant women should stick to a diet of whole, organic food with an emphasis on fruit and vegetables. Keeping a bowl of fresh fruit out on the counter top is one way you can remind yourself to eat more fruit. The phytonutrients found in berries such as strawberries, blueberries and blackberries can boost neural communications in the brain, but every fruit offers benefits.

Meanwhile, processed food – especially processed meat – should be avoided at all costs. It's impossible to know what is really inside the packaged food you buy, and checking labels carefully isn't always enough, as demonstrated by Mike Adams' book, Food Forensics, which uncovers some alarming facts about the foods on your grocery store shelves.

Pregnant women have a tremendous opportunity to give their children a great start in life, and the foods they eat can have a huge impact on their babies' future health and intelligence.

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