You Are (as smart as) What You Eat
There is research showing evidence that eating poorly can slightly lower a child’s IQ…
This same study found evidence that eating healthy can slightly raise a child’s IQ
Of interest regarding the rise of children being diagnosed with speech delays and impairments including autism and apraxia;
“Snips and snails, and puppy dog tails That’s what little boys are made of!”
Or is it today “Sodas and snacks, and Mc Donalds Big Macs?”… We already know that junk food contributes to today’s obesity epidemic. But did you know that how you feed your child will affect his or her academic abilities, growth, IQ, verbal skills, and overall health and development.
You are what you eat? Meal type, socio-economic status and cognitive ability in childhood
According to research, the toxic diet that contributes to the obesity epidemic could also be harming our intellect. Indeed, it appears that childhood nutrition has longstanding effects on IQ, even when we take into account previous intelligence and socio-economic status (SES).
The research, by Dr. Sophie von Stumm (a Lecturer in Psychology at Goldsmiths, University of London), examined the longitudinal effects of type of diet on IQ in a sample of about 4,000 Scottish children, aged 3 to 5. Although the idea that food affects brain development is commonsensical, prior to Dr. von Stumm’s study, research had examined only specific types of food groups (fish, margarine, omega 3 oils, etc.). In her study, Dr. von Stumm compared the effects of two more generic or over-arching types of diet, namely fast versus “slow” food (food that is freshly cooked).
Researchers found early diet seemed to affect the child’s later verbal skills.
The Connection Between Good Nutrition and Good Cognition
In another study by the Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, published in Neurology December 28th, 2011, biomarkers in the blood were used to correlate nutrition with brain health, both good and bad.
The researchers found some striking connections between nutrition and brain health. This study also found that those people who had higher levels of healthy nutrients in their body had higher scores on cognitive tests than people with lower levels.
This can be one explanation for the strong positive parental and professional anecdotal reports from the food supplement Nutriiveda (NV) Original includes the addition of all the essential amino acids and the majority of other essential nutrients through food ingredients provided by the original formula of Nutriiveda (NV). Parental as well as professional anecdotal including from medical doctors and therapists in the US and around the globe, claim improvements in close to 100% of the patients they advise to take NV original. Nutriiveda (NV) Original, an all natural healthy meal supplement, endorsed by The Chopra Center, that contains over 22 vitamins and minerals, high quality protein, soluble fiber, and all the essential amino acids. Nutrients in NV original are from food sources. NV Original is casein and gluten free, and also tested free of any heavy metals, hormones, pesticides or herbicides, stimulants, preservatives, or any genetically modified or synthetic contaminants. The same positive relationship was found for omega-3 fatty acids (from fish oils or algae), which have previously been linked to better brain health.
Feeding your child unhealthy “junk” foods can lower your child’s cognitive abilities.
On the flipside, people with higher levels of trans fats in their blood had poorer performance in thinking and memory tests. Their MRI scans also revealed more brain shrinkage than people who had lower trans fats levels. Trans fats are found in a variety of junk foods, like fried, packaged, and fast foods.
Diet also appears to contribute to such conditions as focus or ADHD, or later learning abilities, or disabilities. As the study found, poor diets affected negatively and good nutrition affected positively.
The researchers noted, “These results are in line with previous studies we have performed in the ALSPAC cohort: overall dietary patterns in early childhood are associated with both later child behavior, in particular hyperactivity and school performance. This suggests that any cognitive/behavioral effects relating to eating habits early in childhood may well persist into later childhood, despite any subsequent changes (including improvements) to dietary intake.”
In the current study, data for 3966 children was collected and analyzed. Parents reported their children’s diets in a food-frequency questionnaires at the ages of 3, 4, 7 and finally at 8 and a half years old.
The researchers found a pattern which they put into three diet types:
- Processed or “junk” diets high in fat, sugar and convenience foods
- Traditional diets of meat, potato and vegetables
- Health conscious diets of salads, rice, pasta, fish and fruit.
The children all took IQ tests when they were eight and half using the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children. (also known as the WISC-IV)
The link between IQ and diet
Evidence has shown a poor diet associated with high fat, sugar and processed food content in early childhood may be associated with small reductions in IQ in later childhood.
Evidence has shown that a healthy diet, associated with high intakes of nutrient rich foods described at about the time of IQ assessment may be associated with small increases in IQ.
For each unit increase in healthy diets, children gained 1.2 IQ points.
These differences in IQ remained even after taking into account other factors such as the mother’s level of education, social class and duration of breast feeding.
Other research has shown nutrition to play a vital role in health and cognitive functioning at any age. Diet affects the mitochondria, and some essential nutrients are linked with improved cognitive functioning and even neuro repair! Essential nutrients are not an option, they are essential to us daily and need to be consumed as our bodies can’t produce them. This includes essential fatty acids (from fish oils or algae), and all the essential amino acids and nutrients (Nutriiveda (NV) Original)both which are reported to help with verbal, motor and academic functioning.
What is sad today is that it’s cheaper to feed a family junk food than healthy food. To help address this problem, Wal-Mart Stores in January 2011, launched an initiative to provide its customers with “healthier and more affordable food choices.”
A retailing giant like Wal-Mart has the ability to help change diet patterns. However, ultimately, it is us, the consumer, who controls the final decision of what will be featured and sold in the stores and restaurants in the future. It is up to us to decide the health of our bodies as well as the health of our planet is a priority. It is not a theory but a fact that certain toxins as well as poor dietary choices are linked to lowered IQs.
Feeding your child healthy
Good vs. Poor Nutrition.
We all know to survive we need certain nutrients but do you know the difference between “good nutrition” and “poor nutrition”?
Harvard just created a new ‘Healthy Eating Plate’ which breaks down the healthy foods or healthy nutrition, you should look to consume daily. The Nutrition Source, is a Web site maintained by the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health contains a section “What should I eat?” And specifically for children you can also check the “little people’s plate”
Certain nutrients can’t be produced by the body, but are essential for our health and well-being, so they need to be consumed; these are referred to as essential nutrients and would be part of a healthy diet. Two examples of essential nutrients include essential fatty acids which are found rich in fish oils and algae, and essential amino acids, all of which are found per serving in whey protein. It is recommended to consume a varied healthy diet to assure that all the essential nutrients are consumed throughout the day, as it’s typically highly unusual for one to consume all of their essential nutrients in a single meal.
While our society has developed such unhealthy eating habits that there is questioning about consumption of fish oil instead of french fry oil, research shows that poor nutrition puts both us as well as our future generation at risk in cognitive functioning, health, and birth defects.
“Carmichael, an associate professor in the pediatrics department at Stanford University, decided to look at the importance of overall nutrition rather than focusing on a single nutrient such as folic acid. Researchers studied 6,147 moms of babies without birth defects and 3,411 moms of babies born with NTDs and oral-facial clefts, all of whom were due between 1997 and 2005. They analyzed how closely each woman’s diet hewed to two measures of diet quality: the Mediterranean diet and the U.S. Department of Agriculture food pyramid. Both diets emphasize healthy eating from various food groups, but the food pyramid stresses the importance of also including specific nutrients.
Positive Effects Through Nutrition Specific Nutritional Strategies For Improvements In Cognition, Learning And Memory -An Exciting Direction In Research
“One thing we know is nutrition is much more complex than a single nutrient,” ~Dr. Carmichael, associate professor in the pediatrics department at Stanford University
Cognitive deficits, birth defects, health issues are some of the many severe side effects of poor nutrition. In the search to supply the boy with healthy foods, it’s difficult to know today what the nutrient value is of the fruits and vegetables, as soils have been depleted of nutrients. In a 2004 published study by Donald Davis, a biochemist at the University of Texas, it was discovered that 13 major nutrients in fruits and vegetables tracked by the Agriculture Department from 1950 to 1999, showed noticeable declines in nutritional value. Davis said “faster-growing plants aren’t able to acquire the nutrients that their slower-growing cousins can, either by synthesis or from the soil.” So the answer is slow growing vegetation it appears. (read more)
But one of the risks of slow growing nutrients is that if there are certain heavy metals in the soil it will be in every aspect of the vegetation. Even if a fast growing vegetation such as a tomato is purchased at a farmer’s market and you know they are free of herbicides and pesticides, how could you know if it’s free of heavy metals? Some are not aware that if lead, a heavy metal neurotoxin, is in soil it can be in every aspect of the vegetation growing in that soil. The 2004 study by Northwestern University ‘Lead levels of edibles grown in contaminated residential soils: a field survey’ did find that the fruits or vegetables will have the lowest amount of lead in comparison with the roots which would be highest in lead, however again as lead builds up in the body and as we know there are no safe levels of lead, we need to be aware if we are consuming foods grown in lead contaminated soils. (read more)
And while a recent study by Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation found obesity to be on the rise in every state of the Nation, and that about 30% of children today are overweight or obese;
As this Washington Post article explains, there are actually some opposed to First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign towards healthier eating and activity. Is this anecdotal proof that not only children are at risk for lowered IQ from exposure to certain toxins and poor nutrition?
We do know that certain toxins and poor nutrition are linked to lower IQ in children. So, if lead and other toxins continue to be hidden dangers, and healthy options even if widely available and affordable, are shunned by consumers who illogically stand for the “right” to feed their children unhealthy processed diets instead of the “rights” of children;
Over time…if we don’t eat healthy are we headed to a world of “Idiocracy”?
How eating could improve your IQ From the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children, and published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health. The connection between childhood growth and levels of intelligence is explored in a new study from the Children of the 90s project. “Poor fetal and post-natal growth are associated with impaired neurodevelopment. Low birthweight babies experience delays in reaching motor milestones and on average have slightly lower IQs than normal weight babies.” “Similarly, short stature – a measure of poor post-natal growth and nutrition – is associated with low scores in tests of cognitive function and poor educational achievement.”
What 3-year-olds eat affects their school performance many years later Research from the Institute of Education and the Children of the 90s study shows that children who ate a diet of “junk food” at the age of 3, made less progress in school between the ages of 6 (Key Stage 1) and 10 (Key Stage 2).
Junk Food Diets in Early Childhood May Lower IQ A diet high in fats, sugars and processed foods at the age of three is associated with a lower IQ at the age of 8. A diet, high in fats, sugars, and processed foods in early childhood may lower IQ, while a diet packed full of vitamins and nutrients may do the opposite, suggests research just published online in theJournal of Epidemiology and Community Health. The authors base their findings on participants in the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (also known as Children of the 90s), which tracks the long term health and wellbeing of around 14,000 children born in 1991 and 1992. Overall, kids who ate empty calorie fast-food diets at age 3 had a small drop in IQ at age 8.5, compared with kids eating healthy foods.The study controlled for other environmental factors that can influence IQ, such as parental education level, maternal diet in pregnancy, socioeconomic status and stressful life events. For each unit increase in processed foods, children lost 1.67 points in IQ. For each unit increase in healthy diets, children gained 1.2 IQ points. Early diet seemed to affect kids’ later verbal abilities more than their performance abilities. “Performance IQ relates to an individual’s innate intellectual ability, while verbal IQ more reflects the impact of education, which in turn is affected by influences such as parenting and environment,” wrote the researchers. According to the researchers, this study is in line with previous studies in this cohort, which suggests that overall dietary patterns in early childhood are associated with both later child behavior, in particular hyperactivity and school performance. This study shows the common adage, “food is fuel,” relates both to how we fuel our bodies and our brains. Toddler’s brains are a mad-house of activity – forming neural connections at a dizzying rate. It only makes sense that nutrition would impart some influence one way or the other on these delicate and intense processes.
The Connection Between Good Nutrition and Good Cognition A study that looked at biomarkers in the blood to correlate vitamins and brain function found very clear links between nutrition and brain health….The researchers found some striking connections between nutrition and brain health. People who had higher levels of B family vitamins, as well as vitamins C, D, and E had higher scores on cognitive tests than people with lower levels. The same positive relationship was found for omega-3 fatty acids, which have previously been linked to better brain health. On the flipside, people with higher levels of trans fats in their blood had poorer performance in thinking and memory tests. Their MRI scans also revealed more brain shrinkage than people who had lower trans fats levels. Trans fats are found in a variety of junk foods, like fried, packaged, and fast foods.
Nutrient biomarker patterns, cognitive function, and MRI measures of brain aging Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, published in Neurology December 28th, 2011 used biomarkers in the blood to correlate nutrition with brain health, both good and bad. The researchers found some striking connections between nutrition and brain health. This study also found that those people who had higher levels of healthy nutrients in their body had higher scores on cognitive tests than people with lower levels.
Could fish make our children smart? Dr Williams says: “The Children of the 90s project in Bristol was the first to identify the associations between a prenatal diet rich in fish oil, and neurocognitive development in ordinary healthy children. “First of all we found that found that mums-to-be who eat oily fish such as sardines and mackerel have children whose visual development is better. Those children reach the adult grade of depth perception sooner, a positive association which was also seen for breastfeeding. “We’ve also found that women who ate fish regularly during pregnancy had children with better language and communication skills by the age of 18 months. “We analysed the diets of 7,400 mothers and found that there was a subtle but consistent link between eating fish during pregnancy and children’s subsequent test scores, even after adjusting for other factors such as the age and education of the mother, whether she breastfed, and the quality of the home environment. “The largest effect was seen in a test of the children’s understanding of words at the age of 15 months. Children whose mothers ate fish at least once a week scored 7 per cent higher than those whose mothers never ate fish.” Amino-Acid Deficiency Found to Underlie Rare Form of Autism Genetic mutations in a metabolic pathway could be fixed with protein supplements. “This might represent the first treatable form of autism,” says Joseph Gleeson, a child neurologist at the University of California, San Diego, who led the study. “That is both heartening to families with autism, and also I think revealing of the underlying mechanisms of autism.”
Babies weaned on home-cooked fruit and veg more likely to eat ‘5 a day’ as children Babies weaned on home-cooked fruit and vegetables are more likely to eat fruit and vegetables as children, according to recent research using data from the Bristol-based Children of the 90s study.
High-carb diet linked to higher risk of cognitive impairment after age 70, Mayo study finds A diet consisting of a high percentage of carbohydrates, particularly sugars, is associated with a higher risk of developing mild cognitive impairment (MCI) among people aged 70 and older, a study from the Mayo Clinic has found. The study also found that consuming a higher percentage of protein and fat in relation to carbohydrates was associated with a lower risk of becoming cognitively impaired.
This Is Your Brain On Sugar: Study in Rats Shows High-Fructose Diet Sabotages Learning, Memory ScienceDaily (May 15, 2012) — Attention, college students cramming between midterms and finals: Binging on soda and sweets for as little as six weeks may make you stupid. A new UCLA rat study is the first to show how a diet steadily high in fructose slows the brain, hampering memory and learning — and how omega-3 fatty acids can counteract the disruption. The peer-reviewed Journal of Physiology publishes the findings in its May 15 edition.
Are Dietary Patterns In Childhood Associated With IQ At 8 Years Of Age? A Population-Based Cohort Study
Are dietary patterns in childhood associated with IQ at 8 years of age? A population-based cohort study Traditionally, nutrients have been viewed as a means to provide humans with basic calories to maintain homeostasis. Of these, fat has been the substrate that provides the most concentrated source of calories, while providing essential fatty acids and assisting in the luminal absorption of fat soluble vitamins. Abstract Background; Little is known about the effects of overall diet in childhood and intelligence later in life. Methods The current study, based on the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children, uses data on children’s diet reported by parents in food-frequency questionnaires at 3, 4, 7 and 8.5 years of age. Dietary patterns were identified using principal-components analysis and scores computed at each age. IQ was assessed using the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children at 8.5 years. Data on a number of confounders were collected, and complete data were available for 3966 children. Results After adjustment, the ‘processed’ (high fat and sugar content) pattern of diet at 3 years of age was negatively associated with IQ assessed at 8.5 years of age—a 1 SD increase in dietary pattern score was associated with a 1.67 point decrease in IQ (95% CI −2.34 to −1.00; p<0.0001). The ‘health-conscious’ (salad, rice, pasta, fish, fruit) pattern at 8.5 years was positively associated with IQ: a 1 SD increase in pattern score led to a 1.20 point increase in IQ (95% CI 0.52 to 1.88; p=0.001). Conclusion There is evidence that a poor diet associated with high fat, sugar and processed food content in early childhood may be associated with small reductions in IQ in later childhood, while a healthy diet, associated with high intakes of nutrient rich foods described at about the time of IQ assessment may be associated with small increases in IQ.
Eating fast food meals at least three times a week was linked to a 39% increased risk of severe asthma in teenagers and a 27% increased risk among children between ages six and seven.
The Role of Whey Protein in Nutritional Therapy The number of children with special health care needs is increasing due to medical advances, early disease identification and improved nutritional interventions. Children with special health care needs often require individualized nutrition care in order to grow and develop to their full potential. This article will identify common nutrition challenges and highlight nutrition assessment parameters used in evaluating children with special healthcare needs, particularly those children with developmental delays. The potential benefits of whey-based formulas in the nutritional management of this population are then presented.
Heavier Babies – Is Fish Consumption A Red Herring? A mother-to-be who eats fish during the later stages of pregnancy is less likely to have a very small baby.
Food So Important For Children’s Skeletons The foods our children eat in early life affects the health of their skeleton in later childhood, according to research revealed at the Ninth Bath Conference on Osteoporosis.
Children’s packed lunches – are they even worse than Turkey Twizzlers? Packed lunches taken to school by 7-year olds are even less healthy than school meals used to be before Jamie Oliver set out to reform them.
Fish And Children: Seafood May Improve Development A new study of children in Bristol has shown that women who ate fish regularly during pregnancy had children with better language and communication skills by the age of 18 months.
Childhood Obesity: A Weight On The Nation “The rise in obesity in our population is a major public health problem that has serious implications for our health now and in the future. “It is well known that there is a connection between obesity and a range of Illnesses like diabetes or blood pressure. What hasn’t always been appreciated is the association with a range of other diseases too, from depression and arthritis to cancer and heart attacks.
Promoting healthy drinking habits in children Fewer than one third of primary school children drink enough fluids, which can affect their cognitive function as well as their physical health. Why good hydration is particularly important in children NICE’s recommendations for how much children should drink The role of schools in promoting healthy drinking
Chocolate Makes Snails Smarter Flavonoid in dark chocolate ‘makes snails smarter’- what no human volunteers for the chocolate study? Explanation “Lukowiak and Fruson decided to concentrate on a group of compounds – the flavinoids – found in a wide range of ‘superfoods’ including chocolate and green tea, focusing on one particular flavonoid, (-)epicatechin (epi). However, figuring out how a single component of chocolate might improve human memory is almost impossible – too many external factors influence memory formation – so Lukowiak turned to his favourite animal, the pond snail Lymnaea stagnalis, to find out whether the dark chocolate flavonoid could improve their memories”
Berries Delay Memory Decline in Adults A new study by Harvard researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) finds that a high intake of flavonoid-rich berries, such as strawberries and blueberries, over time, can delay memory decline in older women by two and a half years. This study was published April 26th, 2012 by Annals of Neurology, a journal of the American Neurological Association and Child Neurology Society.
Written by Lisa Geng, mother to two boys that were both “late talkers” who are doing great today. President and Founder of the Cherab Foundation, and Co Author of The Late Talker book St Martin’s Press