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Brain Development in Children – What to Eat
You are what you eat – the saying is all the more prominent in this age. EHC goes a step further and says – you will become what you eat. Growing years need proper food for overall growth and brain development.
The foods consumed by children affect their learning skills and improves their ability to concentrate. Studies have found that food containing essential nutrients and vitamins has the ability to boost the brain power. EHC brings you some tasty and healthy foods that will energize your child’s brain for learning activity. You should go ahead and include these power foods in their daily intake.
Include berries such as blueberries and blackberries, which are high in vitamins and antioxidants. Berries ward off damage caused by free radicals and may improve the cognitive function of the brain, improving memory and motor skills.
Dark Leafy Greens (Spinach & Kale)
Greens, such as spinach and kale, pack an immune boosting punch with their vitamin A and C. The vitamin B-12 and folate in spinach improves brain health and the maintenance of cognitive functioning, including memory. Kale is rich in manganese, a trace mineral that helps synthesize fatty acids critical to healthy brain function. Try Kale chips, and spinach brownies to give children a nutrient boost in foods they like.
Salmon, Tuna, & Mackerel
These fatty fish are full of essential omega-3 fatty acids. Omega 3 rich fish, such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel are important for brain development, heart health and reducing inflammation. Your brain is comprised of approximately 60% fat, and by including Omega 3 fatty fish, such as salmon and tuna, at dinner you are providing the essential fats your brain requires for optimal functioning.
Just one egg contains an amazing amount of nutrition. With 6 grams of protein per egg and more than a dozen vitamins and minerals including riboflavin, B12 and folate, they are a rich super food. Eggs are also an excellent source of choline, an important nutrient for brain development.
Whole Grains & Brown Rice
A simple switch to brown rice, whole wheat pastas and whole grain breads can increase brain health. Filled with vitamins and magnesium, important to cognitive health, whole grains contain B vitamins including folate and B12 that increase memory and regulate energy levels to keep kids alert in class. Add in fiber rich oats and quinoa to get the benefits of more fiber and added protein in your casseroles, baking and morning hot cereal.
A nutrient-rich food, beans contain protein, complex carbohydrates, fiber, antioxidants, iron and important B-Complex vitamins. Try adding beans to a wrap, soup, pasta sauce or chili. Bean dips are a great way to spice up raw veggies for an after school snack. Puree chickpeas, lentils or white kidney beans with some garlic, lemon and extra virgin olive oil for a brain healthy dip for snacks.
Warm up with hot chocolate to help your brain! Dark chocolate contains more antioxidants than blueberries and natural cocoa rates higher than raspberries and blackberries for these key nutrients. The antioxidants in chocolate protect brain cells from damaging free radicals and improve cognitive function.
Almonds & Walnuts
Walnuts are the top nut for brain health with their high concentration of DHA, an Omega-3 fatty acid shown to improve cognitive performance. Just a quarter cup of walnuts provides almost 100% the recommended daily intake of DHA. Almonds are high in Vitamin E, also shown to improve memory function and make a great midday snack.
Milk & Yoghurt
Protein and B vitamins present in dairy foods are essential for the growth of brain tissue, enzymes, and neurotransmitters. Milk and yoghurt are packed with protein and carbohydrate which is a source of energy or the brain. If your children refuse to drink their milk, try substituting with yoghurt at mealtimes. Nuts and berries could be added.
Oatmeal is rich in fiber and protein and helps to keep the arteries of the brain and heart clear. It has been found that children who eat oatmeal were better at memory tasks and map skills. Oatmeal digests slowly and provides the children with a steady supply of energy for a long time.
Fortified whole grain cereals are rich in folate and complex carbohydrates. The fortified cereals are a great source of protein and vitamin B 12. Vitamin B12 helps us to remember things in a better way.
Water is a highly overlooked food for children. School going children drink very little water and this can affect the proper brain function. When the children get dehydrated after playing they will be irritable and lethargic and will not be in a frame of mind to listen or memorize.
Broccoli & Cauliflower
Broccoli and cauliflower also contain choline which is essential for brain development and for the effective communication of the brain with rest of the body parts. You may use raw broccoli and boiled cauliflower in salads or in various other preparations.
A handful of pumpkin seeds will contain the daily required amount of zinc. Zinc enhances the memory and thinking skills. You can add roasted pumpkin seeds into salads.