It turns out that healthy eating can start paying dividends for children even before conception. A study by doctors at Stanford University School of Medicine found that women who ate a low fat, fiber-rich diet in the year before becoming pregnant had a significantly lower risk of certain birth defects.

The study showed that women who at healthy diets before they became pregnant gave birth to fewer infants with tow of the most common birth defects – neural tube defects (defects of the brain and spinal cord) and orofacial clefts (deformed nose and/or lips). There was also a lower incidence of spina bifida and cleft palate.

Most doctors are careful about monitoring a woman’s diet once they become pregnant, making sure they consume a diet rich in folic acid, iron, calcium, and various vitamins, while eliminating alcohol and tobacco, and minimizing caffeine among other things. But most people don’t think about their diets prior to getting pregnant. This study indicates that a woman’s diet during the year before conception is important too.

Remember, healthy choices you make each day can transform your family for generations! What choices will you make today?

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