A pregnancy diet high in seafood has been associated with better attention spans in children later in life. This finding comes from a group of scientists out of Barcelona who extensively followed 1,641 pregnant women through their pregnancies. The women were given numerous food frequency questionnaires asking how often they ate certain foods and during which month of pregnancy.
The scientists then followed up with the children of these mothers. They evaluated the dietary habits of the kids at ages one, five, and eight. Also at eight, the children were given the Attention Network Task (ANT), a computer-based neuropsychological test meant to determine their attention function. Children whose mothers ate more seafood did better on the test.
This study was built on another one that analyzed both pregnant women and their children at age five. In both studies, it was determined that women who ate more seafood during early pregnancy gave birth to children with higher attention spans.
This is interesting because brain development is completed by birth. Children's brains form in the womb and it has been long thought that the food consumed by mom can affect a child and their neuropsychological development. Attention was focused on because this learned behavior is expected of children at a very early age and forms even faster than their memories and speaking.
So what type of seafood should pregnant women be eating? The study found differences between the types of fish consumed and high attention capacity. Women who ate more fatty fish and lean fish reaped the most benefits. Attention capacity seemed to be lower in children whose mothers go to their fish intake from canned tuna and shellfish. Fatty fish, lean fish, shellfish, and canned tuna was the only seafood analyzed in this study.
While eating seafood while pregnant seems to have a positive link to attention capacity, fish isn't a cure-all food for expecting mothers. Eating fish during pregnancy has also been linked to childhood obesity and high blood pressure in later life. Still, nothing is absolute.
So, really, it's up to mom if she wants to eat seafood or not. What do you think of this finding? Are you a fan of fish? Let us know in the comments!