Is IQ linked to eating healthy food? As if parents needed any more reasons to keep their kids off junk food, here’s another: doing so makes them smarter. The results of a recent study suggest kids with diets rich in salad, fish and fruit had higher IQs than kids whose diets were heavy with high-fat, high-sugar processed foods.
The diets of nearly 4,000 children were tracked at ages 3, 4 and 7 years, and then at age 7 and 8, they were given psychological and IQ assessments involving math, spatial reasoning, vocabulary and comprehension. Kids with what the study called a “health-conscious” diet showed an increase slightly higher than 1 IQ point; kids with a diet termed “processed” showed a nearly two point decrease.
Is one to two points a big deal, when average IQ is 100? Probably not — unless you want your child to qualify for Mensa, or they’re at 159 and you want to push them to Albert Einstein’s estimated 160. But if you want further ammunition in the fight to get your kids to make healthier food choices, being able to truthfully say, “Get the veggies instead of fries; it’ll make you smarter” could be a big deal, indeed.
Of course, the point of healthy eating is not higher IQ or bragging rights from the mommy’s bench at the playground, but the fact that encouraging healthy eating in your child gives them the best advantages all around: physically, mentally and even environmentally. You are what you eat: eat smart!