Children who are breastfed and eat healthy foods during childhood experience better physical development than children who eat poor diets. It has also been speculated that the consumption of quality foods leads to a higher IQ, but few long-term studies have been done until now. Researchers at the University of Adelaidelooked at the link between eating habits and IQ.
The study of more than 7,000 children showed that kids who are breastfed and have a healthy diet during the first two years of life, have a slightly better IQ at the age of eight than children who are eating junk foods.
Children who were eating a diet based on legumes, cheese, fruits and vegetables had a two point higher IQ at the age of eight. Kids who ate mostly processed foods and food with a high-carbohydrate density, experienced two points lower IQ.
Although there was only a small difference in IQ, it can be assumed that a more controlled study would have led to significantly better improvements. The healthy children in this study were definitely eating more nutritious foods than the unhealthy group, but they were still consuming a fair amount of typical western foods. Also, the study only looked at the diet at 12 and 24 months, not the remaining six years up until age eight.
It’s well established that children who are breastfed develop a healthier gut flora and better immune system than children who are given formula and ready-prepared baby foods. The research at the University of Adelaide reveals that breastfeeding also can positively affects the IQ of the child.
This study shows that children who consume mostly whole foods during the first years of life have a slightly higher IQ when they grow up. Children who are not eating western foods and base their diet exclusively on organic whole-foods will most likely have an even higher IQ.
Despite our technological advancements and economic expansion; we are getting dumber and dumber because of poor nutrition. Feeding a growing child processed junk foods directly influences the child’s development and should be considered child abuse.
Sources for this article include
Smithers LG, Golley RK, Mittinty MN, et al. Dietary patterns at 6, 15 and 24months of age are associated with IQ at 8years of age.
Eur J Epidemiol. 2012 Jul;27(7):525-35. Epub 2012 Jul 19.
McDade, T.W., Rutherford J. , Adair, L, et al. Early origins of inflammation: microbial exposures in infancy predict lower levels of C-reactive protein in adulthood
Published online before print December 9, 2009, doi: 10.1098/rspb.2009.1795