Could eating a full English breakfast during pregnancy help boost your baby’s intelligence? Perhaps, especially if it contains lots of eggs and bacon according to the results of a new study!
The study, published in the Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, revealed that mothers who eat some of the foods found in a cooked breakfast during the last three months of their pregnancy could have the benefit of increasing their unborn child’s IQ.
Involving 26 expectant mothers, the study looked at the effect that choline has on unborn babies. Choline is a nutrient found in food such as eggs, bacon, fish, chicken, milk, liver, nuts, broccoli and other vegetables.
When reviewing the results of the study, it was revealed that expectant mothers who ate choline-rich foods such as eggs and bacon between six and nine months of pregnancy had babies who performed better in the IQ tests once they were children. The researchers believe this is because both of those foods contain choline.
Senior author Dr Richard Cranfield, a developmental psychologist at Cornell University, New York said, ‘Part of that is due to current dietary trends and practices.
‘[However] there are a lot of choline rich foods that have a bad reputation these days.’
Dr Ruchard Cranfield could be referring to the common worry that eating raw, undercooked eggs while pregnant could pose a risk. The NHS advises, ‘Eggs produced under the British Lion Code of Practice are safe for pregnant women to eat raw or partially cooked. These eggs have a red lion logo stamped on their shell.
‘[During pregnancy, women] should avoid any raw or undercooked eggs not produced under the lion code, and any foods that contain them such as homemade mayonnaise.
‘Make sure eggs without the lion code are thoroughly cooked until the whites and yolks are solid. This prevents the risk of salmonella food poisoning.’
A lot of women aren’t so keen on red meat because of its high levels of saturated fat. While the NHS states that ‘meat is a good source of protein, vitamins and minerals in your diet’, too much red meat in particular can ‘increase your risk of bowel cancer’ so moderation is key.
There is a distinctive link that has been made between the increased levels of choline and a higher IQ that was previously tested and proven in mice, but this study reveals that it works in humans too.
Professor Marie Caudill, also from Cornell University said, ‘This single nutrient has lifelong benefits on offspring cognitive function.’
Despite it being a vital nutrient during pregnancy, it appears most women don’t seem to consume even the recommended amount 450mg of choline a day.
While doctors aren’t exactly recommending that you eat loads of cooked breakfasts now, it is a classic British dish that includes both eggs and bacon!
If a fry-up isn’t your thing but you want to increase your choline intake, you could also consider eating more fish, chicken and vegetables or a supplement to achieve the recommended daily intake.