"We found that one of the biggest predictors of cognitive development was how much fruit moms consumed during pregnancy. The more fruit moms had, the higher their child's cognitive development," said lead study author Piush Mandhane from University of Alberta in Canada
The team examined data from 688 children and controlled for factors that would normally affect a child's learning and development such as family income, paternal and maternal education and the gestational age of the child.
"We know that the longer a child is in the womb, the further they develop -- and having one more serving of fruit per day in a mother's diet provides her baby with the same benefit as being born a whole week later," Mandhane stated in the paper published in the journal EbioMedicine.
To further build on the findings, Mandhane teamed with co-author Francois Bolduc who researches the genetic basis of cognition in humans and fruit flies.
"Flies are very different from humans but, surprisingly, they have 85% of the genes involved in human brain function, making them a great model to study the genetics of memory," Bolduc stated.
The findings indicated that flies born after being fed increased prenatal fruit juice had significantly better memory ability, similar to the results shown by Mandhane with one-year-old infants.