The Food Linked To Higher IQ

The foods boosts fluid intelligence, which is the speed at which the brain works.

The foods boosts fluid intelligence, which is the speed at which the brain works.

Eating organic food is linked to a higher IQ, a study finds.

School-age children who ate more organic food had higher scores on tests of fluid intelligence and working memory.

Fluid intelligence refers to the speed at which the brain works.

It is like the raw power of an engine or the speed at which a computer can process information.

Working memory, meanwhile, is vital to holding pieces of visual, verbal or other information in your mind while you manipulate them.

Better working memory has been linked to improved learning, attention and other vital outcomes.

The higher levels of nutrients in organic foods may account for the boost to IQ, said Dr Jordi Júlvez, study co-author:

“Healthy diets, including organic diets, are richer than fast food diets in nutrients necessary for the brain, such as fatty acids, vitamins and antioxidants, which together may enhance cognitive function in childhood.”

In contrast, eating fast food, being exposed to tobacco smoke and house crowding were all linked to lower scores on tests of fluid intelligence.

Children’s brains are sensitive

The results come from over one thousand children aged 6 to 11-years-old in six different European countries, including the UK and Spain.

The research examined 87 factors that the unborn child might be exposed to along with another 122 factors that could affect them during childhood.

The brain is still developing in childhood, so it is particularly sensitive to toxicity.

Low levels of toxicity that may have little affect on the adult brain can still influence children’s brains.

Dr Jordi Júlvez, study co-author, explained the main predictors of higher IQ:

“In our study, we found better scores in fluid intelligence and working memory with higher organic food intake and lower fast food intake.”

As for the predictors of lower IQ, Professor Martine Vrijheid, study co-author, said:

“We observed that several prenatal environmental pollutants (indoor air pollution and tobacco smoke) and lifestyle habits during childhood (diet, sleep and family social capital) were associated with behavioral problems in children.”

The study is notable because of its comprehensive approach to a huge range of variables, said Professor Vrijheid:

“One of the strengths of this study on cognition and the earlier study on behavioral problems is that we systematically analyzed a much wider range of exposure biomarkers in blood and urine to determine the internal levels in the model and that we analyzed both prenatal and childhood exposure variables.”

→ Other dietary changes linked to high IQ include nuts, a diet low in sugars, fats and processed foodsfruits and vegetables,

The study was published in the journal Environment International (de Bont et al., 2021).

Author: Jeremy Dean

Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology. He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book "Making Habits, Breaking Habits" (Da Capo, 2013) and several ebooks.

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