A new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association highlights the importance of getting plenty of the right vitamins, minerals and nutrients during pregnancy. The study showed that Indian women who supplemented with prenatal iron, folic acid and vitamin A produced children who were smarter and had better motor skills than children from mothers who did not supplement.
“Micronutrient inadequacy is a critical concern among pregnant women and young children throughout the world,” explained Parul Christian, Dr.P.H., from Johns Hopkins University, and his colleagues in their study paper. “Gestation and the early postnatal period are considered sensitive periods for brain development, and nutritional deprivation during this period may lead to functional impairments.”
Researchers evaluated 676 children between 7-9 years of age who had been born to various women given either folic acid and iron; folic acid, iron and zinc; folic acid, iron, zinc and 11 other micronutrients; or placebo. The team found that iron and folic acid in particular improved intellectual capacity, executive function, motor function and fine motor control.
Iron deficiency in particular is associated with negative alterations in cognitive development, which can lead to decreased intellectual capacity and under-developed motor skills. Additionally, women who do not get enough folic acid during pregnancy have a much higher risk of bearing a child with birth defects (http://www.naturalnews.com/030169_b…).
Foods naturally rich in iron include string beans, turnip greens, mustard greens, spinach, chard and other leafy greens. These same greens also contain high levels of natural folate, as do beans, peas, asparagus, avocados, strawberries and oranges. And zinc-rich foods include oysters, certain meats, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds and green peas.