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How Healthy Moms Lead to Healthy Adults

How Healthy Moms Lead to Healthy Adults

The spotted hyena gives birth to cubs that are born with a full set of where’s-my-dinner teeth. That’s in sharp contrast to human babies who remain dependent on parents for years. But despite human newborns’ slow-to-grow-up biology, research shows the pattern of adult aging begins in the womb.

You know a pregnant woman’s habits can affect her newborn’s health (on the plus side—taking a prenatal multi-vitamin reduces autism spectrum disorder risk by 40 percent and spine malformation and childhood cancer by over 60 percent). But did you know it can also influence how an offspring ages 20 years later!

Smoking, having preeclampsia, extreme air pollution and uncontrolled asthma can lower oxygen levels during pregnancy, and research shows, years later, that can make adult children age more rapidly. But upping your intake of foods rich in polyphenols while pregnant may increase oxygen levels and make offspring age more slowly. Try blueberries, kidney beans, artichokes and red Delicious apples. (Expecting moms must control blood pressure, asthma and not smoke anything!)

Also, preliminary results indicate vitamin D deficiency while pregnant may up adult children’s risk for multiple sclerosis by 90 percent. Get a blood test to determine your blood level and take 1000 IU daily of D3. Plus, young adults whose pregnant moms had elevated LDL cholesterol are almost four times more likely to have elevated LDL too. So, future moms, cut out sat-fat foods, like processed and red meats and added sugars and syrups, while increasing consumption of whole grains and produce.

Medically reviewed in December 2018.

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