Apparently an apple a day does more than just keep the doctor away—it makes smarter babies, too. New research out of the University of Alberta has shown a link between mothers who consumed more fruit during pregnancy and their babies performing higher on developmental tests at a year than their counterparts.
Basically, more fruit while in the womb led to higher IQs.
To conduct the study, researchers analyzed date from 688 Canadian kids and found that the children of the moms who ate six to seven servings of fruit or fruit juice daily during pregnancy ranked six to seven points higher on the traditional IQ scale at the age of one.
Senior author Piush Mandhane explains, "We found that one of the biggest predictors of cognitive development was how much fruit moms consumed during pregnancy. The more fruits moms had, the higher their child's cognitive development.”
"It's quite a substantial difference—that's half of a standard deviation. 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."
To complement his research, Mandhane then partnered with professor Francois Buldoc to conduct similar labs on fruit flies. "Flies are very different from humans but, surprisingly, they have 85 percent of the genes involved in human brain function, making them a great model to study the genetics of memory. To be able to improve memory in individuals without genetic mutation is exceptional, so we were extremely interested in understanding the correlation seen between increase prenatal fruit intake and higher cognition," says Buldoc.
The pair found that the fruit flies who were born to mothers who ingested more fruit juice during pregnancy had significantly better memory ability.
Don't go going crazy with the fruit just yet, though. Mandhane warns that the possible effects of too much fruit consumption—which may include gestational diabetes and high birthweight—haven't been fully researched yet.