An apple a day may keep the doctor away, but for women who want their babies to be brighter and better behaved, it seems that eating fish during their pregnancy can do the trick.
The study was carried out by researchers from Bristol University, UK, who noted that pregnant women who eat fish and seafood three times a week have brighter and better behaved children.
Based on their study, the researchers are now advising women to that they should eat at least 350g of fish and seafood a week.
The findings are in contrast to the Food Standards Agency, which has advised expectant mothers to eat no more than two portions of oily fish a week, following concerns about mercury content and over pollutants in oily fish.
However, lead researcher Professor Jean Golding from Bristol University said that oily fish is important for a child’s development.
“Eating fish, particularly oily fish, is important for a child's development in the womb but the message has been overshadowed by warnings about possible risks. However, there is no evidence that small amounts of mercury have an adverse effect on the brain,” the Daily Mail quoted Prof Golding, as telling The Lancet.
As a part of the study, the boffins compared the compared the amount of fish eaten by pregnant mothers with the development and behaviour of their offspring up to age eight in around 9,000 families.
They found that women who ate more than 350g of seafood a week had children who were more advanced in development tests measuring motor, communication and social skills, were better behaved, and had better verbal IQ scores.
The researchers also noted that kids whose mums ate little or no fish were 28 per cent more likely to have poor communication skills at 18 months and 35 per cent more likely to have poor coordination as toddlers.
The risk of bad behaviour and low verbal IQ at the age of eight was almost 50 per cent higher in such kids.
The study is published in The Lancet.