If you want to improve your child’s cognition before they’re even born, experts recommend eating foods rich in choline during pregnancy.
Previous research has confirmed that cannabis use while pregnant can negatively affect fetal brain development, particularly in the early stages of pregnancy. A recent study published in the Journal of Psychological Medicine looked at the impact of smoking marijuana during pregnancy on the unborn child’s cognition as well as ways to lessen the effects. It found that foods rich in chorine can have a positive effect on the baby’s developing brain.
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The study looked at 201 women who were pregnant and were also avid marijuana users, including during pregnancy. Researchers looked at the women and their children before and after birth. The results found that the babies belonging to mothers who used cannabis after ten weeks of gestation had decreased cerebral nervous system capacities by their one-month milestone. By three months, the same children also had lower regulation scores.
Interestingly, however, the babies of mothers who consumed higher rate of choline during their pregnancies didn’t have these cognitive traits, leading the researchers to conclude that choline-rich food can have positive impacts on fetal brain development.
Choline is a critical nutrient found in a variety of foods. It helps improve various physiological processes, including one’s metabolism. A deficiency in choline can lead to muscle damage and an irregular accumulation of fat in the liver, which can result in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Choline can be found in foods such as peanuts, eggs, rice, spinach, and also wheat, meaning it’s easy for expecting women to increase their intake during their pregnancy.
There are a variety of other foods apart from choline that have been linked to positive cognitive development infants. Adding fatty fish to a pregnant woman’s diet, for instance, has been found to help support the growth of neurons in the fetus’ brain. Similarly, eggs have been associated to improving memory efficiency. Even more, blueberries are considered a superfood and have been linked to improving babies’ overall learning ability and motor skills.
Experts also recommend adding green vegetables to a mom-to-be’s diet in order to ensure positive fetal brain development. Broccoli, for instance, is rich in both vitamin K and choline. These both help improve the child’s cognitive abilities as well as memory functions. Avocado has also been found to have a positive impact on the unborn baby’s blood circulation, thus also benefiting neural development.
Pregnant women should also consult their doctor before making any radical changes to their diet. Speak to your health professional about the best way to increase your choline intake during pregnancy and also about what foods you should be eating in order to benefit your baby’s development.