A Canadian study, published in the journal EbioMedicine, has found that women who ate more fruit during pregnancy had children with higher IQs at one year old.
In a recent study, Canadian researchers from the University of Alberta found that one of the factors contributing to improved cognitive development in children was the amount of fruit their mothers ate during pregnancy.
The scientists studied 688 one-year-old babies, who were controlled for factors otherwise affecting their learning and development, such as family income and parental education.
They found that the mothers who ate six to seven portions of fruit per day — including juices — had children with IQs six or seven points higher on the standard scale at one year old.
"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," explains Dr Mandhane, the study's senior author.
In spite of their discovery, the researchers warn pregnant women against going overboard on fruit, which contains fructose, as this can lead to complications such as gestational diabetes and high birthweight.
These initial findings will be followed up by more research, investigating whether the positive effects of fruit consumption on cognitive development persist in children over time. The scientists also plan to study the impact of fruit consumption on cognitive functions such as planning, organizing and working memory.