Scientists have found that a chemical in pork products and eggs can help the growing brain to develop. A new study suggests that the micronutrient, called choline, is critical to helping babies in the womb develop parts of their brains linked to memory and recall.
Previous studies have demonstrated that a woman’s diet during pregnancy can affect her unborn child and women are given a list of foods to avoid until their baby is born.
Scientists at the University of North Carolina tested the effects of choline on the brains of baby mice.
Mice fed a low choline diet while in the womb had genetic differences in their brain cells than those given large amounts of the micronutrient.
“Our study in mice indicates that the diet of a pregnant mother, especially choline in that diet, can change the … switches that control brain development in the foetus,” said Steven Zeisel, who led the study.
Dr Gerald Weissmann, editor-in-chief of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology journal, which published the research, said: “We may never be able to call bacon a health food with a straight face, but (similar studies are) already making us rethink those things that we consider healthful and unhealthful.
“This is yet another example showing that good prenatal nutrition is vitally important throughout a child’s entire lifetime.”