A nutritious diet can make your baby smarter, a new study has discovered. Babies who are given a high-protein diet in their first four weeks have higher IQs by the time they reach adolescence.
Researchers from the Great Ormond Street Hospital in London have discovered the special diet also changes the structure of the brain. It increases the size of the caudate nucleus, which is associated with higher intelligence.
The caudate nucleus has its main growth spurt during the first four weeks following birth.
Although scientists have speculated whether nutrition can influence the caudate nucleus, nobody had tested the theory in a study involving babies. The research team had their opportunity during the 1980s when they gave a standard diet and a high-protein diet to two groups of premature babies.
When they tested the same two groups again when they were adolescents, the researchers discovered that those who had been given a high-protein diet as babies had higher verbal IQ scores, and scans revealed their caudate nucleus was larger.
(Source: Pediatric Research, 2008. Doi: 10.1203/PDR.0b013e318163a271).