Smart Foods for your children to have Smarter Brains. Nutrition is undoubtedly important for physical health but it does play a unique role in the wellbeing of mental health as well. Understanding the relationship between nutrition and brain health in children is important. Also, nutrition plays a special role when the brain is still developing during childhood and early adolescence.
Walnuts, Almonds, soybean, salmon etc., are high in omega-3 fatty acids and power up brain cells with energy. This in turn enhances memory, concentration and promotes cognitive health. They also protect cell membranes from damage. Kids who eat foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids have sharper minds according to the recent researches done.
Nuts and oil seeds
Almonds, sunflower seeds, cashew nuts, flaxseeds etc. are also loaded with essential fatty acids and proteins. These help boost mood and keeps the nervous system in check.
Eggs along with being a great source of protein, are packed with choline, that is found in the yolk. It is a key component of cell membranes and also forms acetylcholine (which carries messages from nerves). Hence, egg is vital in memory development.
Green leafy vegetables like spinach, fenugreek etc. have rich sources of folate, fibre and vitamin B6, which help in growth of new brain cells. The magnesium content in green leafy veggies works at the neurotransmitter (brain chemicals that communicate information) level.
High-fiber foods like whole-grain bread, oatmeal, brown rice etc. help fuel their brain without making them hyperactive. They also help to keep the brain arteries clear.
Iron is important for the development of the hippocampus. It is that part of the brain which is responsible for learning, memory and recognition. Include iron rich sources like beans, walnuts, and greens in the daily diet of children. Add vitamin C rich foods like lime, amla, tomatoes, bell pepper etc. along with this for better absorption of iron.
The glucose in the brain cells can only be metabolised into energy if you have enough thiamine. Without sufficient energy, the brain functions will be hindered or at risk. It is also required to activate the other enzymes that affect and protect the brain cells. Milk, spinach, oranges, muskmelon are few good sources of thiamine.
Antioxidants protect the brains cells from oxidative damage caused by the free radicles. This inhibits the decline in mental skills. All kinds of berries, plums, apples, bananas, grapes etc. are good sources of antioxidants. Vegetable sources include spinach, broccoli, tomatoes, pumpkin, olives, potatoes etc. Include one to two servings of fresh and seasonal fruits and vegetables every day.
Yogurt, milk, ghee help keep brain cells in good form by improving communication between the nerve cells. The calcium and the protein content is important for brain functioning. The protein content in these foods brake down into amino acids. These amino acids are the major component of neurotransmitters.
Say No to Junk
Give the body junk food, and the brain is certainly going to suffer. For children, who do not know about the health consequences of their eating habits, junk food may appear especially tempting. However, regularly consuming fattening junk food can be addictive for children. This may lead to complications like obesity, chronic illness, low self-esteem and even depression.
As the brain development starts in the womb. It is very important that the pregnant women eat nutritious food. Parents play a major role in child’s diet and provide the key environment for the development of a child’s eating behaviours. Parents’ own eating behaviours influence those of their children.
Nutrition is, thus, very critical in the development of the Brain through the supply of nutrients and for the energy required for continuous functioning. Lack of nutrients certainly affects the development of the brain, as it does to the other body tissues and systems.
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