Dietary Nut Consumption & Pregnancy, Good Nutrition Starts Early!:
A lot of us concerned with health and wellness also spend time worrying about nutrition, and with good reason!
One of the smartest men in the ancient world, Hippocrates, advised people to pay serious attention, too.
While we all obsess over the changes we can make in our own lives,
We might not always think about the changes we can make for others.
And it turns out some researchers in Spain are finding-out even more about the wonderful gifts that some mothers can give their children after the miracle of life…
Make Sure To Thank Your Mom Again, Especially If She’s Nutty:
So in the post-Hippocrates world, people still search for all kinds of beneficial magic from diet.
For example, we’re finding out more and more that vitamins and minerals from food are probably better than those from pills.
And sometimes the ones in pills can even hurt.
But the short answer for this research is that a Spanish study on mothers shows marked positive changes on the brain-health of their children even 8 years later, if the mother in question ate nuts during pregnancy.
The Search For SuperFoods. Nuts May Be One Of Them:
So part of the nutrition-mania is the hunt for Superfoods.
Whether it’s the magical Acaí berry from Brazil, or the newest, weirdest celebrity fad.
But prior research has in-fact dropped a few solid hints that nuts just might be another superfood all by themselves.
Lucky for us that although some seem to be better so-far, almost all of them are good for you in some way.
Pregnancy Nutrition: Big Effects For Tiny Humans:
By contrast, other research shows there are real dangers from early-childhood and even pre-natal exposure to certain chemicals,
Like organo-phosphate pesticides used for non-organic produce.
But the current study shows that if a mother consumed nuts during pregnancy, the child’s brain-development was helped-out quite alot.
The work by ISGlobal and La Caixa, focused on a relatively small group of 2,200 mother and child pairs in Spain.
The mothers’ dietary-intake was surveyed in both the first and last trimester of pregnancy.
And then to test the results, the cognitive-performance of their children was evaluated at 18 months, 5 years, and 8 years old.
Eating Nuts During Pregnancy, A Little Bit Goes A Long Way:
All of the results showed that for mothers who ate just 3 1 oz. (30g) servings of nuts a week,
The outcomes for attention-capacity, overall cognitive-function, and working-memory were all significantly-improved.
And those benefits for-now are being written down to increased-levels of Folic Acid and Omega 3 Fats that are all found in those foods.
Specifically, the diet-items studied were Almonds, The Perennial Euro-Favorite: Hazelnuts, Peanuts, Pine Nuts, and Walnuts.
As previous-research has suggested though, the benefits are unlikely to be limited to just those types.
The research did however reveal that the most-important time of-all to have a diet rich in these items was The First Trimester.
What’s more-impressive still is that the amount the mothers ate was even below recommended healthy-standards for diet,
Which would have involved 4 more 1oz. servings a week.
Imagine what the results could have been like then!
Further Benefits Of Improving Your Diet With Nuts:
Further on, other studies have shown that people who ate roughly 1-1.5oz of nuts per day were generally-healthier and more free of the big diseases than other people.
1) Heart Attack
2) All other types of Cardiovascular Disease like Atherosclerosis
5) Respiratory Diseases
7) Infectious Diseases
The strange part of those findings was that people who ate more than 1-1.5oz/day did not have better-outcomes.
But in the case of a developing baby in the womb, the difference between 3 and 7 1oz servings could potentially be huge,
Because of the unique window in brain-development that pregnancy affords the child.
They’re All Great, But Offer Different Benefits:
And as far as what you get specifically from nuts:
All nuts are all a great source of: Protein, Healhty-Fats like Omega 3, Fiber, All 8 Kinds of Vitamin E, Folate, and Magnesium.
But certain varieties differ a little.
Each type has higher levels in:
1) Almonds: Magnesium, Calcium, Vitamin E, Flavonoids in Skins
2) Brazils: Selenium
3) Cashews: Magnesium, Iron, Zinc
4) Chestnuts: Starch, B Vitamins, Low in Fat & Carbs
5) Hazelnuts: Folate
6) Macadamias: Magnesium, Calcium, Potassium
7) Peanuts: Folate
8) Pecans: Sterols, Antioxidants, Oleic Acid, B3
9) Pine Nuts: B1, B3, E, Manganese, Magnesium, Vitamin K1, Omega 6
10) Pistachios: B6, Lutein, Potassium
11) Walnuts: Antioxidants, Omega3
The Benefits Ranked, If You Had To Choose Only One:
Another study ranked the main varieties of nuts in-terms of their major health benefits.
And the results were:
3) Peanuts and Pistachios
4) Pecans & Macadamias
Though oddly not included there, the Pine Nuts the Spanish mothers ate seem to be absolutely-packed with great stuff, too.
And even other studies have said getting nuts as part of your diet at-all is good, including plain-old peanuts!
However, this does not include Peanut Butter, because of all the unhealthy-additives like partially-hydrogenated fats, sugar, salt,
And the fact that almost nobody eats “Natural” peanut butter.
This New Study Confirms What The Pros Have Been Saying:
Now although other studies have tried to explain the health-effects of nuts away by saying already-healthy people eat them,
This Spanish study seems pretty definitive.
This is something that can have a real impact on a very vulnerable little person who can be either helped or harmed very easily.
And if things like mixed-nuts and seeds are good enough for micronutrient superstars like Neal Barnard and Joel Fuhrman,
Then you can bet your Mom is one smart cookie if she helped you along by eating nuts while she was carrying you around.
Because if they can help even full-sized adults protect their brains & hearts with things like Vitamin E and Magnesium,
Then just imagine what all of those micronutrients Dr. Joel keeps talking about can do for a developing kid.
So get out there and thank your Mom for all the wonderful gifts she’s given you over the course of your life, including your physical health, your nutty-yet-healthy mindset, and even to some-extent the person you are today!
Photo Credits: image by StockSnap
References & Links:
• Source: IS Global
• Source Study: EU J. Epidemiology – Maternal nut intake in pregnancy and child neuropsychological development up to 8 years old: a population-based cohort study in Spain
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