EATING nuts in the first trimester of pregnancy will improve the child’s brain development, a Spanish study has found.
Some 2,200 mothers and their children were studied across Asturias, Guipuzcoa, Sabadell and Valencia over a period of eight years.
The children’s neuropsychological development was assessed using several internationally validated standard tests 18 months, 5 years, and 8 years after birth.
The group of children whose mothers munched more nuts during the first trimester of pregnancy obtained the best results in all the tests measuring cognitive function, attention capacity and working memory.
The nuts involved were almonds, peanuts, walnuts, pine nuts and hazelnuts.
“The nuts provided high levels of folic acid and, in particular, essential fatty acids like omega-3 and omega-6,” said lead Barcelona-based ISGlobal researcher Florence Gignac, “These components tend to accumulate in neural tissue, particularly in the frontal areas of the brain, which influence memory and executive functions.”