I’m a nice Jewish girl, but I love bacon. And now it turns out that eating bacon while pregnant might have boosted my daughters’ developing brains.
New research from the University of North Carolina suggests that bacon might be healthy for developing fetuses. How is that possible? Apparently, like many meat products, bacon has high levels of a molecule called choline (usually classified as one of the B vitamins).
Researchers found that when they fed choline to pregnant lab mice pregnant, their babies’ brains developed differently than regular the offspring of the mice who weren’t fed choline, according to Republic of Bacon.com.
The babies whose mothers ingested choline developed larger hippocampuses, which is said to indicate better memory.
“In other words, eating choline helped these mice offspring and could help your baby develop a better memory,” according to Republic of Bacon.com.
Our study in mice indicates that the diet of a pregnant mother, especially choline in that diet, can change the epigenetic switches that control brain development in the fetus,” said Stephen Zeisal, one of the scientists involved in the study. In other words, it’s possible that eating bacon while pregnant could make your baby smarter.
A low choline diet can cause birth defects and improper brain development or premature birth.
Choline seems to be a miracle molecule. It is said to also protect against other medical problems (heart attacks, liver disease). But, don’t take this as permission to eat as much bacon as you want.
And we hope it goes without saying, that you’ll discuss these findings with your doctor. Also, note: there is no suggestion that you should feed your baby bacon (although there is a bacon-flavored baby formula on the market). My colleague Monica at Being Pregnant is excited that she’s got an excuse to eat bacon!
Now if only someone would come out with research saying that eating ice cream while pregnant is good!
photo: flickr/Chris and Jenni