We all know that diet plays a major role on our health. But to what extent does it benefit our intelligence quotient (IQ)? In a new study, researchers looked into the impact of diet in children ages 6 months to 15 months and found that it really pays to feed babies with something healthy.
A group of researchers from the University of Adelaide, headed by Dr Lisa Smithers, studied the link between the eating habits of children at six months, 15 months and 2 years. It was compared to their IQ levels at eight years of age. The study, involving 7000 children focused on the various dietary patterns such as home-prepared, instant, and ‘discretionary’ or junk foods normally fed to babies.
Diet is the main source of nutrients needed in the development of brain tissues of children particularly in their first two years, explained Dr Smithers. The research aims to look and measure the effects of diet on children’s IQ.
Dietary Patterns and their Impact on IQ
The researchers found a slight increase in the IQ of children fed with healthy foods during their toddler days. Those who were breastfed at 6 months and regular healthy foods up to 24 months improved their IQ for up to 2 points upon reaching age 8. Healthy foods cited on the study include cheese, fruits and vegetables and legumes.
On the other hand, kids who were fed with unhealthy treats such as lollies, soft drinks, chips, and biscuits during their first two years had a decline in their IQ by up to 2 points as they reach 8 years of age. The researchers also saw a negative impact on the children’s intelligence quotient when fed with ready-prepared baby foods at 6 months.
The study suggests the need for parents or guardians to give more importance on providing their children with a healthy diet. Although the difference in IQ isn’t huge, the researchers pointed out those dietary patterns from 6 to 24 months have a small yet significant impact on a child’s IQ at 8 years. ‘It is important that we consider the longer-term impact of the foods we feed our children,’ said Dr Smithers.
Tips on Preparing Healthy Baby Food
Do you always find yourself lost in the kitchen and running out of food recipes for your baby? Here are some tips in preparing healthy and delicious meals for toddlers:
1. Make it fresh.
To come up with the healthiest baby food, you really don’t have to burden yourself cooking this and that. Raw fruits and vegetables are the best foods you can feed to your baby.
2. Choose foods that are easy to digest.
You need to be careful in choosing what fruit or vegetable to prepare. Remember that your child’s digestive system isn’t fully grown yet so stick to those that are easy to digest such as avocado, apple, and banana. Vegetables that are good for babies from six months onwards are carrots, squash, and potatoes. Make sure to boil or steam them first. It is recommended that you peel the fruit or vegetable you’re going to feed to your baby especially if he or she has a delicate tummy.
3. Wash the fruits or vegetables thoroughly.
Most fruits and vegetables sold in supermarkets contain pesticide residue. Before you feed them to your child, wash them thoroughly with water. Fill a bowl with water and add salt. Soak the food for a couple of minutes then rinse it again.
4. Breast milk is best for babies.
Even though you’re already feeding your baby with some solid foods, it’s still ideal to breastfeed her. Breast milk still serves as the main source of nutrients. Studies also show that breastfeeding increases the emotional bond between the baby and the mother.
Source of this article:
Dietary patterns at 6, 15 and 24 months of age are associated with IQ at 8 years of age, European Journal of Epidemiology