We all know that leafy green vegetables are good for us, but according to research collected by the BBC’s Michael Mosley, their positive influence can last generations. Mosley looked at two major studies to determine that a pregnancy diet high in leafy greens can dramatically improve the gestating baby’s lifespan, and when we say dramatic, we’re talking Kylie Jenner’s lips-in-a-jar level drama.
The first study he mentions, conducted in Gambia, also found that babies born in the rainy season were seven times less likely to die as adults than babies born in the dry seasons.
Put another way, adults with September birthdays were SEVEN TIMES more likely to keel over than adults with June birthdays. As Mosley jokes in his article, this has nothing to do with astrology, and everything to do with the drastically different diets available to pregnant women (and everyone) during Gambia’s distinct seasons.
Although moms of the potentially longer living June babies had access to fewer calories during their pregnancies, many of those calories came from fresh, leafy greens. Hate on the hipsters all you’d like, but kale really IS as good as they say it is.
Mosley also looked at the Dutch Famine Birth Cohort Study, which followed children born to mothers who survived Hunger Winter, a Nazi-imposed food blockade.
Compared to controls, baby girls would grow up twice as likely to die of heart disease, and five times more likely to contract breast cancer, while all children born after the famine were more likely to suffer diabetes, renal disease, stress-related ailments and schizophrenia.
The bottom line? Whether you’re pregnant or not, a balanced diet is the way to go, and don’t forget to pile on the fresh leafy greens.
That said, we know pregnancy cravings and aversions can get weird, so if you’re currently with child and can’t stand the thought of a salad, try hiding your greens in a smoothie, or using the same tricks that parents of picky eaters use to blend veggies in their kids’ food. It’s unlikely your child will ever thank you for it, but whatever – hopefully they’ll have a long and blessed lifetime to take your good parenting for granted.