A recent study by the Harvard School of Public Health that was published on June 27, 2013 in the American Journal of Epidemiology was reported by Live Science, stating that “Eating Healthy Fats During Pregnancy May Reduce Baby’s Autism Risk”. In case you thought this article would be about eating a low fat diet during pregnancy, it isn’t. You need to eat a lot of healthy fat during pregnancy!
(GASP!) Did a study just conclude that something related to diet might affect autism?! But the scientists say it’s not possible! (Obviously those who believe diet can’t be related in some way to the prevention or treatment of autism are wrong, and if you are personally dealing with autism or psychological disorders in your family, I want to refer you to the Gut and Psychology Syndrome Diet, or GAPS.)
According to the article, women who consumed a high intake of Omega-6 and Omega-3 Fatty Acids were less likely to have a child diagnosed with autism. Women who consumed high levels of linoleic acid (and Omega-6 fatty acid) were 34 percent less likely to give birth to a child with autism compared with women who consumed low levels of the nutrient, and women who consumed very low levels of omega-3 fatty acids were 53 percent more likely to have a child with autism compared with women who consumed average amounts. While the study concluded that increased intake of these fatty acids “may reduce risk of autism”, it also concluded that “very low intakes of omega-3 fatty acids and linoleic acid could increase risk“.
This isn’t news to me…especially the part about getting enough omega-3’s. Quite frankly, I don’t believe anyone needs to worry about consuming enough omega-6 fatty acids! According to a study by The Center for Genetics, Nutrition and Health, the Western diet already includes an excessive amount of omega-6 fatty acids. We are supposed to eat equal amounts of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, or a ratio of 1:1, but we currently eat, on average, a ratio of around 16:1 omega-6’s to omega-3’s.
THAT’S BAD! Why? Because, according the study, excessive omega-6 intake compared to omega-3 intake promotes the pathogenesis of many diseases, including cardiovascular disease, cancer, and inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. The good news, though, is that increased levels of omega-3’s exert suppressive effects and is also dramatically effective in preventing cardiovascular disease, various cancers, rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory diseases, and asthma.
Now we can add preventing autism to the list of reasons to eat enough omega-3’s, so let’s BRING ON THE OMEGA-3’s!!!
You’ll find Omega-3 Fatty Acids in:
- small oily fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel or herring
- cod liver and/or cod liver oil
- fish roe (or eggs)
- chia seeds
Click here to learn more about eating the nutrient-dense Diet For Pregnant and Nursing Moms.
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