High-Fat Diet During Pregnancy May Reduce Risk of Autistic Child

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Women who eat high amounts of healthy fats during pregnancy could reduce their likelihood of giving birth to a child with autism, according to a study published on Live Science.

Women who ate diets high in linoleic acid — a type of omega-6 fatty acid found in vegetable oils, nuts, and seeds, were 34 percent less likely to give birth to an autistic child compared to women whose diets were low in the fatty acid. Also, women who ate diets low in omega-3 fatty acids found in fish were 53 percent more likely to give birth to a child with autism than women who ate higher amounts.

Researchers aren’t certain why there is a link between healthy fats and a lower risk of autism. They do know that these fatty acids are important for brain development of the fetus and are essential in the first two months of a baby’slife.

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Pregnant women should consume 200 milligrams of the omega-3 fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), according to the March of Dimes. A five-ounce serving of salmon contains about 2,100 milligrams of DHA. Nuts and healthy oils such as canola oil, soybean oil, and olive oil are also good sources of healthy fatty acids.