We’ve all heard about the importance of a good diet during pregnancy. Monitoring what you eat during the 9 months of your pregnancy is vital for your baby’s growth. But can the food you eat also affect your baby’s intelligence levels? A lot of parents-to-be believe so. In fact, many cultures swear by particular foods that are a must-have for pregnant mothers.
So is there any science to support this? Let’s find out.
According to scientists, your pregnancy diet can indeed affect your baby’s intelligence. Vitamin D, folic acid, and iron are very important for your child’s cognitive development. These are all present in nutritious foods that you can easily add to your diet. Improved cognitive development has far more benefits than just higher intelligence levels. Children with advanced cognitive abilities are also less susceptible to suffering from cognitive or learning disorders.
With all that being said, let us dive right into a comprehensive list of top foods you can eat during your pregnancy to improve your baby’s cognitive development.
We cannot stress enough how important fish (particularly fatty fish) is for pregnant mothers. Fish contains Omega-3 fatty acids that greatly boost your baby’s brain development. A balanced diet should include 2-3 servings of fish every week. Salmon and oysters come highly recommended.
Do you know how they say to add as much color as possible to your plate? Well, one color you should definitely not ignore is green. Green leafy vegetables are rich in iron as well as folic acid. The latter reduces your baby’s risk of neural defects such as cleft lip and heart defects. Foods rich in folic acid also greatly benefit the mother, reducing the chances of complications during pregnancy.
Famed for being rich in protein, eggs are also low in calories. The amino acid found in eggs called choline boosts brain development and also enhances memory. It is important to avoid the consumption of unpasteurized eggs as these contain harmful bacteria that may cause complications.
Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, and all berries are rich in antioxidants. These antioxidants contribute to your child’s healthy cognitive development. For the most part, blueberries come highly recommended. However, berries in general work wonders.
Protein is essential for your child’s brain development. Foods that are rich in proteins help in the formation of healthy nerve cells. Greek yogurt is not just a great source of protein but it is also rich in probiotics and iodine. So not only does this miracle food aid in cognitive development, but it also strengthens your child’s bones and reduces the chances of low birth weight.
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A superior nut, almonds are packed with a plethora of nutrients. From magnesium to Vitamin E, they also contain Omega-3 fatty acids. Simply start your days with a handful of almonds during your pregnancy. Almonds have been found to contribute to higher intelligence levels in babies.
A great source of iron, milk is very important for the development of healthy cognitive functions. It also supports brain development in babies well before birth. Hence, it is necessary for pregnant mothers to add milk to their diet.
Beans, lentils, and legumes in general also contain high levels of iron. Incorporating legumes into your diet will also prove to be a great source of proteins. While there are other sources of iron and protein such as raisins, you should not consume too much of the latter as it may lead to spikes in sugar levels.
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Cheese is a great source of Vitamin D. Mothers with low levels of Vitamin D during their pregnancies give birth to children with lower levels of intelligence. If you want to improve your child’s intelligence quotient, make sure to consume cheese. The best part is that cheese comes in so many different forms, shapes, flavors, and colors. You should not have a hard time picking one that you love the most.
Rich in protein and fats, sunflower seeds do not receive the recognition they deserve. They are incredibly diverse and can be eaten in a variety of ways. You can incorporate them into salads, yogurt, soups, or even bake them into muffins. Besides, they promote brain structure and also help in cognitive development.
Of course, it is important to have a healthy and well-rounded diet during your pregnancy. That means your diet should have high nutritional value. Every nutrient affects your baby’s growth in a particular manner. Don’t forget that your baby’s intelligence should not remain your only focus. However, if you want to add nutrients to specifically influence cognitive development in addition to your regular diet, this list will be your best resource.
Are there any foods your culture or region highly recommends for fetal cognitive development? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.