Will eating iodine rich foods during pregnancy make my baby smarter?

Why do seaweed and strawberries have what it takes to make a smarter baby? They're all sources of iodine which can help to make your baby smarter if you eat them during your pregnancy. Find out why!

Move over, Omega 3! There's a new discovery about a key pregnancy nutrient that makes for smart babies -- and it's found in seaweed, strawberries and ice cream. What do these foods have in common? They're all rich in iodine.

Experts have always known that iodine rich foods during pregnancy plays a key role in brain development. Recently they have discovered that iodine has strong links to memory and literacy.

How iodine rich foods during pregnancy affects brain development

In a study done in Australia, researchers from the University of Tasmania have found that mothers who suffered from mild iodine deficiency had children who went on to have lower scores in literacy, particularly in spelling.

The results of this study suggest that iodine is needed to develop auditory pathways in the brain for a good working memory. Having enough iodine rich foods during pregnancy is vital because the neurological deprivation in the womb cannot be reversed, even if the child takes iodine supplements later on. This means that the child would not be able to reach his or her full potential.

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Like folate deficiency, iodine deficiency was very common in many parts of the world. However, things have improved a great deal in terms of general nutrition. Many of our breads and cereals today are also fortified with folate, iodine and other nutrients, making it less likely that we suffer from deficiency.

Iodine-rich foods during pregnancy - what to eat?

Aside from seaweed, strawberries and ice cream, the following foods are also rich in iodine and are suitable for pregnant women:

  • Eggs
  • Cheddar cheese
  • Beef
  • Pork
  • Lamb
  • Canned salmon
  • Apples
  • Oranges
  • Grapes

Will iodine rich foods during pregnancy make my baby smarter?

So should we start taking special iodine supplements in the hopes of having a baby Einstein? There's actually no evidence so far that taking more iodine than you need would actually result in a smarter baby, so there's no need to go overboard.

How much do you need exactly? If you're pregnant, you need about 220 mg of iodine daily in your vitamin supplement. There's no harm in having more, but you shouldn't be exceeding that amount by two or three times. If you take that much iodine, you could suffer from side effects like vomiting and nausea, and it could eventually affect your thyroid.

However, don't worry about eating iodine-rich foods as it is very hard to overdose on iodine this way. What you should do is to examine your bottle of prenatal supplements to make sure that you are getting some iodine. Then, supplement your diet with the iodine-rich food, and you should be doing very well to ensure the maximum memory development for your child.

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