Pregnant women should eat nuts so their children will be intelligent, researchers say

Mothers are being urged to eat nuts during their first trimester of pregnancy, after a study found they're more likely to have smart children.

Spanish researchers from the Barcelona Institute for Global Health, for the first time, observed links between nut-rich diet during the first trimester of pregnancy and better results after birth, as published in the European Journal of Epidemiology.

"Analysis of the results showed that the group of children whose mothers ate more nuts during the first trimester of pregnancy obtained the best results in all the tests measuring cognitive function, attention capacity and working memory," a statement from the institute said.

The research was carried out in Spain and included more than 2200 mothers and children.

Neuropsychological development of the children was assessed during tests nearly two years after birth, the institute says.

Researchers say it's the first study to explore the benefits of eating nuts during pregnancy for a child's long term brain development.

"The brain undergoes a series of complex processes during gestation and this means that maternal nutrition is a determining factor in fetal brain development and can have long-term effects," researcher Florence Gignac said.

"The nuts we took into account in this study were walnuts, almonds, peanuts, pine nuts and hazelnuts."

Gignac believes the positive effects may be provided from high levels of folic acid from the nuts.