One of the strongest predictors of a child’s cognitive development is maternal fruit consumption during pregnancy. This is at least what a study conducted by the University of Alberta, published in EbioMedicine, which followed 3,500 infants and their families, shows. The objective was to identify factors that could affect the child’s cognitive development in the prenatal period.
6-7 servings of fruit per day for above average baby IQ
The authors examined data collected from 688 children, adjusted for family income, parental education and the child’s gestational age. The standard IQ scale was used (mean IQ being 100 and standard deviation 15) assuming that about 2/3 of the population has an IQ ranging between 85 and 115. The results indicate that if future mothers consumed 6 to 7 servings of fruit and fruit juice per day, their baby had an IQ of 6 to 7 points higher at 1 year.
Fruit before birth, after it’s too late
For the principal investigator of the study, Prof. Piush Mandhane, fruit consumption before pregnancy would be correlated with infant cognitive performance. This effect is no longer observed in children after birth. This discovery corroborates several works carried out on fruit flies, which suggest that brain functions are affected by fruits and that the mechanisms involved have been maintained across species.
Bolduc FV et al. Cognitive Enhancement in Infants Associated with Increased Maternal Fruit Intake During Pregnancy: Results from a Birth Cohort Study with Validation in an Animal Model. EbioMedicine,