Eating Fish During Pregnancy Can Increase Baby’s Brain Size

Fish are an important part of a healthy diet because of their high levels of healthy fats like omega-3 fatty acids, which have antioxidant and heart health benefits.

New research from the Tohoku University in Japan shows that eating fish during pregnancy can increase baby’s brain size.

Omega-3 fatty acids are incredibly important as part of a healthy diet, because they cannot be created internally by the body.

Omega-3s are essential to storing energy, oxygen transport, functioning of cells, and regulation of inflammation.

These fatty acids are found in marine fish. Because the U.S. diet has very low levels of fish consumption, omega-3s are not consumed nearly enough by Americans.

Prior research has shown the importance of consuming omega-3s during pregnancy. It helps determine the length of gestation and may help prevent depression before and after birth.

Omega-3s have also been shown in research to increase brain growth in the fetus through the first year of life.

As written in the study abstract:

In an animal study, the researchers noticed that when female mice were fed an omega-6-rich/omega-3-poor diet, their offsprings were born with a smaller brain and showed abnormal emotional behavior in adulthood.”

The study showing that eating fish during pregnancy can increase baby’s brain size was published in the journalStem Cells.

The study authors conclude:

These findings provide compelling evidence that excess maternal consumption of omega-6 combined with insufficient intake of omega-3 causes abnormal brain development that can have long-lasting effects on the offspring’s mental state.”

 

Reference(s):
1. “Maternal Dietary Imbalance between Omega-6 and Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids Impairs Neocortical Development via Epoxy Metabolites.” National Center for Biotechnology Information. U.S. National Library of Medicine, n.d. Web. 19 Jan. 2016.
2. “Why Fish Intake by Pregnant Women Improves the Growth of a Child’s Brain.” EurekAlert! Tohoku University, n.d. Web. 19 Jan. 2016.

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