Cheers to the pasta! That the Mediterranean diet has many benefits is nothing new. Studies have shown that the Mediterranean diet, with its simple, plant-based cuisine with lots of fresh vegetables such as tomatoes, zucchini and garlic, lots of legumes, dairy products and carbohydrates in moderation, and fish in reasonable quantities, is good for your health. It has been shown to reduce the risks of diabetes, high cholesterol, dementia, memory loss, depression and improve heart health and is even said to prolong life.
Scientists working with Francesca Norvetto from the University of Barcelona have now discovered that the Mediterranean diet is said to have an effect on the child in the womb. Women who adhered to the Mediterranean diet during pregnancy improved their children's cognitive, social and emotional development by the age of two compared to children whose mothers did not follow the diet, according to the study, published in Jama Network Open" was released.
"By the second year of life, children's brains are reaping some of the benefits they received from proper nutrition during pregnancy," explains Dr. Miguel Martínez-González, Professor of Preventive Medicine and Public Health at the University of Navarra in Pamplona, Spain told CNN. "No other diet model has such an impressive body of scientific evidence as the traditional Mediterranean diet."
The study, which followed 626 children over a three-year period, also looked at the effects of stress reduction during pregnancy. The study concludes that children born to mothers who took part in a stress-reduction class during pregnancy also performed better in terms of their social and emotional well-being as young children than children born to mothers who did not take part in the class.
According to the scientists, the study results are intended to raise awareness that there are many ways to use lifestyle during pregnancy as medicine, so that newborns get the best possible start in life. Overall, both stress reduction and the Mediterranean diet increased scores for social and emotional development, but only the Mediterranean diet was statistically significant—that is, the result was greater than chance.
Sources: "Jama Network Open", "CNN"