Maternal nut intake in pregnancy and child neuropsychological development up to 8 years old: a population-based cohort study in Spain

Year Published: 2019


Eur J Epidemiol


Florence Gignac, Dora Romaguera, Silvia Fernández-Barrés, Claire Phillipat, Raquel Garcia Esteban, Mónica López-Vicente, Jesus Vioque, Ana Fernández-Somoano, Adonina Tardón, Carmen Iñiguez, Maria-Jose Lopez-Espinosa, Manoli García de la Hera, Pilar AmianoJesús Ibarluzea, Mònica Guxens, Jordi Sunyer, Jordi Julvez


This longitudinal study was based in Spain and recorded the dietary behaviors of 2208 mothers during pregnancy through a food frequency questionnaire. Investigators then followed the children from birth to 8 years and tested cognitive function and neuropsychological development at birth, 1.5 years, 5 years, and 8 years. The objective was to examine the effect of nut consumption (including peanuts) during pregnancy on neuropsychological outcomes of the children.

Key Findings

Key Findings: After controlling for a variety of other variables, nut consumption was associated with better long-term neuropsychological development in children. The strongest associations were seen for mothers who consumed nuts during their first trimester. At age 5 years, global cognitive scores of children born to mothers who consumed the most nuts was significantly higher than children born to mothers who consumed the least amount of nuts. Authors conclude that nut intake, particularly in early pregnancy, is associated with long-term child neuropsychological development. Further cohort and randomized clinical trials are needed to confirm this.