Startling link discovered between low fiber intake during pregnancy and infant brain development
(NaturalHealth365) Few things are as important to human health and so wildly undervalued as fiber. The average adult now eats significantly less fiber than adults from just a few decades prior, and that has a profound impact on our waistlines, gut health, and overall general well-being.
In a recent Japanese study, another dimension of fiber’s significance has come to light. The research reveals a compelling connection between inadequate fiber intake during pregnancy and delayed developmental milestones in infants. This study underscores that the advantages of fiber might extend even further than our existing understanding.
Research reveals how low fiber intake during pregnancy could alter the brain development of infants
Fiber is the indigestible part of plants that doesn’t provide any calories. It’s often the husk of seeds, corn, nuts, and extremely tough bits of plants that our bodies can’t break down.
But just because you don’t get energy from fiber doesn’t mean nothing does – fiber feeds the bacteria in your gut, particularly the good ones you always hear about. A gut microbiome (all those little microscopic creatures in your intestines) requires a healthy amount of fiber to thrive.
The study we’re referencing tracked pregnant women who were both taking and not taking folic acid supplements. Since folic acid deficiency is linked to pregnancy and birth complications, it was important for the scientists to control for whether the participants were taking it.
Results from the study indicated a marked delay in communication and other important developmental milestones in the children whose mothers ate less fiber. Associated animal studies that were run similarly to this human study indicated that mothers fed a low-fiber diet produced offspring with less flexible metabolic systems, leading to metabolic syndrome and diabetic states.
A compelling rationale for prioritizing fiber intake during gestation is the significant role of your gut microbiome in governing various aspects of your body, including mental health, development, and metabolism. Given that you inherit your microbiome from your mother, it logically follows that a healthier microbiome in her can contribute to a healthier microbiome in you.
It is worth noting that the study simply indicates a delay in cognitive development when fiber is deficient; it’s not a sweeping indicator of the quality of life of the child. Fiber, however, does have profound implications on the health of both mother and child and so should be prioritized.
Easy ways to add more fiber to your diet
While the idea of fiber might not spark excitement unless you’re an apple enthusiast, ramping up your intake is surprisingly straightforward. Incorporating a significant portion of organic fruits and vegetables into your daily meals can effortlessly add an extra 10 grams of fiber, aligning well with the recommended target of 30-35 grams for most adults.
Incorporate a handful of nuts or seeds into your daily routine. They are not only rich in healthy fats and protein but also provide a good dose of fiber. Add them to an organic salad, or enjoy them as a standalone snack.
Add more legumes to your meals. For example, lentils or chickpeas are excellent sources of fiber and can be added to soups, salads and stews to increase your fiber intake.
Bottom line: getting more fiber in your diet is one of the easiest ways to improve your health since you’re not abstaining from anything or removing anything from your diet; you get to eat more. Grab a salad, some fruit, or a bucket of homemade coleslaw, and start grazing your way to better health today.
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