A Mediterranean Diet During Pregnancy Can Benefit Children’s Health

Posted by

Study Claims Olive Oil Infused Mediterranean Diet Can Improve Neurodevelopment

Updated January 20th 2024

Mediterranean Diet Benefits In Pregnancy
Mediterranean Diet Benefits In Pregnancy


  • New research says Extra Virgin Olive Oil fuelled Mediterranean Diet In Pregnancy Can Boost Child’s Neurodevelopment.
  • Children whose mothers followed the Mediterranean diet scored higher in both the cognitive and social-emotional domains.
  • Mediterranean Diet includes lots of fruit, vegetables and healthy fats like extra virgin olive oil.
  • Extra virgin olive oil can be used to make a wide range of healthy snacks for children.


New Study Links Olive Oil Fuelled Mediterranean Diet With Better Neurodevelopment.

According to new research published in JAMA Network Open, children born to mothers who adhered to a Mediterranean diet during pregnancy had better neurodevelopment at the age of 2.

The findings, which have been reported on in Medical News Today, claim that children born to mothers who followed a Mediterranean diet in pregnancy had better cognitive and social-emotional scores.

The association between maternal diet and offspring neurodevelopment has been suggested by several epidemiological studies. It has been proposed that several dietary components may mediate changes in inflammatory status interfering with brain development in utero.

The positive findings in our study may be explained by the use of a healthy dietary pattern instead of supplementation with a specific nutrient… several dietary components, including long-chain polysaturated fatty acids, monosaturated fatty acids from extra virgin olive oil, antioxidant vitamins, dietary fiber, and polyphenols, may explain the effects of the Mediterranean diet on reducing inflammatory and oxidative stress markers.

JAMA Network Open

Please note: Experts say a Mediterranean diet is healthy in pregnancy, but some kinds of fish high in mercury should not be eaten.

Mediterranean Diet And Pregnancy: Study Findings

Medical News Today explained the study findings in greater detail as below:

In all, 1,221 pregnancies between 19 to 23 weeks gestation were randomly allocated to three groups. One group of participants followed the Mediterranean diet intervention, another followed the mindfulness-based stress reduction intervention, and one was given no intervention.

Researchers reported that women in the Mediterranean diet group followed that eating pattern for roughly 11 to 13 weeks. During this time, they underwent 30-minute visits with a trained nutritionist once a month as well as a 1 hour group session once a month. During their visits with the nutritionist, the women were given recipes, a shopping list, meal plans, and daily menus.

The researchers assessed 626 children from these participants at about 2 years of age.

The researchers reported that, compared with children whose mothers were part of neither intervention group, the children whose mothers followed the Mediterranean diet scored higher in both the cognitive and social-emotional domains.

Commenting on the findings for Medical News Today, Dana Hunnes, PhD, a senior clinical dietician at the UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles who was not involved in the study said:

It does not surprise me. So much brain development occurs in utero and in the first few years of life, so it makes total sense that a very healthy anti-inflammatory diet that is primarily plant-based and filled with very healthy fats would result in better neurodevelopmental outcomes. I think it shows that healthy diets can have big effects on health outcomes later in life.”

Dana Hunnes, PhD

What Is The Mediterranean Diet And Why Is Extra Virgin Olive Oil Important?

Looking After High Quality Olive Oil

A Mediterranean diet emphasizes eating a variety of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, beans, lean proteins, fish, and extra virgin olive oil and a decreased reliance on processed and red meats.

The Mediterranean Diet has been touted as one of the healthiest ways to eat, and it’s no wonder why. But perhaps the most important element of the Mediterranean Diet is the use of extra virgin olive oil. As a staple ingredient in many Mediterranean dishes, this type of oil has numerous health benefits, such as reducing inflammation, improving heart health, and even potentially lowering risk of certain types of cancer. Its high levels of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds make it a crucial part of this diet, and one that should not be overlooked. By incorporating plenty of extra virgin olive oil into your meals, you too can enjoy the health benefits of the Mediterranean Diet.

Not only does it add delicious flavor to meals, but extra virgin olive oil is also loaded with healthful substances like polyphenols and monounsaturated fats, which have been shown to protect against heart disease, cancer, and a host of other chronic illnesses. As such, extra virgin olive oil plays a crucial role in the Mediterranean Diet and is truly a cornerstone of good health.

Using Extra Virgin Olive Oil In Children’s Diet

If you’re looking to give your child the benefits of a healthy diet, you may want to include extra virgin olive oil in their meals. Not only is olive oil packed with beneficial nutrients, but it’s also a tasty addition to a variety of dishes.

From sautéing vegetables to pairing with a selection of tasty treats, olive oil is a versatile ingredient that can be used throughout the day. For maximum health benefits, stick to extra virgin olive oil as it has the most nutrients and antioxidants. Whether adding it to sauces, marinades, or soups, incorporating olive oil into your child’s diet can be an easy and tasty way to promote a healthy lifestyle.

Extra Virgin Olive Oils, like Morocco Gold, are a great way to add healthy fats to your children’s diet – helping to keep their immune system and growing bodies strong. 

We loved a report in Mom Junction which lists seven great reasons why a high quality olive oil can benefit our children.  These include promoting brain development, providing a rich source of vitamins and reduced risk of obesity.