Maternal intake of cashew nuts accelerates reflex maturation and facilitates memory in the offspring.
Int J Dev Neurosci. 2017 Jun 27 ;61:58-67. Epub 2017 Jun 27. PMID: 28663041
Marília Ferreira Frazão Tavares de Melo
Essential fatty acids, being indispensable during the stages of pregnancy, lactation and infancy influence the transmission of nerve impulses and brain function, and cashew nuts are a good source of these fatty acids. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effects of cashew nut consumption on reflex development, memory and profile of fatty acids of rat offspring treated during pregnancy and lactation. The animals were divided into three groups: Control (CONT), treated with 7% lipid derived from soybean oil; Normolipidic (NL) treated with 7% lipids derived from cashew nuts; and Hyperlipidic (HL) treated with 20% lipids derived from cashew nuts. Reflex ontogeny, Open-field habituation test and the Object Recognition Test (ORT) were assessed. The profile of fatty acids in the brain was carried out when the animals were zero, 21 and 60days old. Accelerated reflex maturation was observed in animals treated with cashew nuts (p<0.05). NL presented better memory in the Open-field habituation test; the NL and HL showed improvement of short-term memory in the ORT, but long term damage in HL (p<0.05). The results of the lipid profile of the brain at the end of the experiment showed an increase in levels of saturated fatty acids and less Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) in animals of the HL. The data showed that maternal consumption of cashew nuts can accelerate reflex maturation and facilitate memory in offspring when offered in adequate quantities.