Organic Food Linked with Enhanced Fluid Intelligence: Study

The results of a new study indicate that organic food intake is associated with better scores on tests of fluid intelligence (ability to solve novel reasoning problems) and working memory (ability of the brain to retain new information while it is needed in the short term)*.

The explanation for this association may be that “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.”

-Jordi Júlvez, lead author/researcher at IISPV-CERCA via ISGlobal

Study overview

Researchers used data collected on 1,298 children aged 6-11 years from six European country-specific birth cohorts (United Kingdom, France, Spain, Greece, Lithuania and Norway). The researchers then looked at 87 environmental factors the children were exposed to in utero (air pollution, traffic, noise, various chemicals and lifestyle factors) and another 122 factors they were exposed to during childhood.

The aim of the study was to analyze the influence of these exposures on the development and maturation of the human brain, since during childhood the brain is not yet fully developed for efficient defense against environmental chemicals and is particularly sensitive to toxicity, even at low levels that do not necessarily pose a risk to a healthy mature brain. To date, there has been little research on the relationship between type of diet and cognitive function, but fast food intake has been associated with lower academic development success and some studies have also reported positive associations between organic diets and executive function scores.

*Tests used to quantify cognitive function:

  1. Raven’s Coloured Progressive Matrices (fluid intelligence)
  2. Attention Network Test (attention)
  1. N-Back (working memory)

Journal Reference: Jordi Julvez, et al.  Early life multiple exposures and child cognitive function: A multi-centric birth cohort study in six European countries. Environmental Pollution, Volume 284, 2021, 117404.

Post by: VA