The Amazing Link Between Your Baby's IQ & How Much Fruit You Ate While Pregnant

pregnant woman

If you're a mom-to-be whose list of cravings is heavy on fruit salads and smoothies, here's a reason to follow your, er, gut: A recent study found that women who consumed more fruit during pregnancy gave birth to babies who scored higher on IQ tests at one year of age. Pretty sweet (pun intended)!

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Analyzing data from a 3,500-subject study of Canadian babies and their families, researchers at the University of Alberta found that moms who included six to seven servings of fruit and/or fruit juice in their daily pregnancy diet had babies who correspondingly scored six to seven points higher on the IQ scale (on average).

That might not sound like a lot, but researchers are calling it a "substantial difference" on par with the developmental boost infants get from staying in the womb a week longer. In fact, according to Piush Mandhane, senior author of the paper and associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Alberta, these findings suggest that how much fruit moms eat during pregnancy is "one of the biggest predictors of cognitive development" -- even if no one is exactly sure why yet. Apparently the answer might have something to do with ... fruit flies?

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No, seriously. Bizarrely enough, fruit flies have 85 percent of the genes involved in human brain function -- and professor Francois Bolduc, who worked on this study with Mandhane, discovered through a series of experiments that flies fed increased prenatal fruit juice had "significantly better memory ability." (I would love to know what fruit fly memory tests actually involve, wouldn't you??)

If all of this sounds like a green light to go ahead and gorge on produce during pregnancy, well, it sort of is ... in moderation. As researchers warned, too much sugar during pregnancy (even the natural kind) can lead to such potential complications as gestational diabetes and high birth weight.

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But all in all, fruit is clearly a pretty positive vice: Beyond these recently discovered brain-boosting benefits, it's also full of fiber and vitamins and antioxidants and a ton of other stuff you need. Plus, speaking from personal experience, it's kind of the perfect preggers snack -- it's light, doesn't give you heartburn, and cools you off when you're feeling like a water balloon that's about to pop on a hot summer day. The smart kid thing is just an added bonus!


Image via iStock.com/ LucidSurf

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