Children’s mental growth and brain development is heavily influenced by their diet. Good nutrients play a key role in the concentration and learning of these children. Certain foods are called “brain foods” because they help boost a child’s brain growth, improve brain function, memory, and concentration.
Below are 10 essential foods that parents should give their kids for good mental growth.
Eggs are well-known as a great protein source; eggs have the power to improve concentration and attention span of the kids. The egg yolks are packed with choline, which helps memory development. It has been shown to play a significant role in the brain development of a foetus or infant. They improve the functioning of the brain such as maintaining the retention power and improving the communication skills.
Eggs also help to build the happiness hormone “serotonin” that keeps a child cheerful and spirited throughout the day.
Some children are found to love the white part but hate the yolks. It is important you find a way of helping your kids understand the importance of the yolk so it can be a great part of their meal.
Omega-3 rich Fish
Fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids are essential foods for healthy brain growth and function. They also contain ample amounts of iodine and zinc that are essential for brain function. Around 60% of the brain is fat, so your body uses omega-3 fatty acids to assist in neurological development, and protect the brain from memory loss and declining memory function.
Fish rich in omega-3 fatty acid accelerates grey matter in the brain and also prevents the deterioration of the brain due to age. Studies have proved that fish eaters have more grey matter thus regulating the mood of a child and also improving his memory.
Research has also shown that people who consume a diet rich in these fatty acids might have sharper memories and do better in mental skills tests. Salmon, trout, mackerel, herring and sardines are all good options.
Therefore, children who eat fish every week are less likely to get depressed as it contains lots of omega-3 fats. Fish also helps in the reduction of type 1 diabetes in children.
Lean meats are meats with a relatively low fat content. Lean meat such as beef, pork, lamb, chicken, as well as seafood such as crab, lobster, tuna and shellfish are good sources of iron. Iron in meat protein helps to supply oxygen to the brain, and iron deficiency is sometimes associated with cognitive development and attention deficit.
Lean meats are also rich sources of zinc, which helps to regulate communications between nerve cells in the brain.
Spicing your lean meat with turmeric is an added advantage. This is because turmeric is one of the best memory-boosting foods you could add to your kid’s diet. Its curcumin content helps brain function and also fights inflammation of brain tissues.
Yoghurt has iodine that effectively helps in the brain function and improves cognitive skills in children. Yoghurt is also loaded with protein, zinc, B 12 and selenium which are important nutrients for brain development.
Yoghurt is equally a great source of calcium and proteins, which improve the function and growth of nerves and brain tissues. They also contain probiotic bacteria that improve digestive health. Unsweetened Yoghurts are believed to be the best for consumption, topped with berries and nuts.
Low Fat Milk
Milk is a good source of nutrients such as Vitamin B which is necessary for the growth of brain tissue, neurotransmitters, and enzymes. Low-fat milk is a great source of protein and carbohydrates for the brain. Milk like yogurt is also an excellent source of vitamin D, which children and teens need in greater amounts than adults.
Beans and Kidney Beans
Regular Beans are special because they have energy from protein and complex carbs, fibre and lots of vitamins and minerals. They are excellent brain foods since they keep a child’s energy and thinking level at peak all afternoon if they enjoy them with lunch.
Kidney beans are rich in folate and vitamin B and serve as a good source of protein for vegetarians. Consumption of kidney beans is believed to boost memory and prevent many lifestyle-related disorders.
Nuts have long-term benefits that reach into old age. Nuts are one of the best foods to snack on, especially cashew nuts, groundnuts and almonds. It was found that eating a diet full of vitamin E rich nuts can reduce cognitive decline as you age.
Nuts also contain essential fatty acids that help a person focus. They provide a good amount of iron, which provides increased oxygen to the brain for better alertness and the ability to retain information. Nuts provide a great deal of energy for a small amount of food.
They also secrete “happy hormones” serotonin thus keeping the child stress free and joyous. Seeds are rich in fibre and protein.
Berries have compounds called anthocyanins that are good for brain health. Consumption of berries increases the blood flow to the brain, as well as being anti-inflammatory and also aids in the production of new nerve cells.
Intake of berries also helps in the betterment of cognitive behaviour in children. It also improves academic performance and makes a child’s brain alert and sharp.
Seeds from berries also contain omega-3 fats that help with brain function. Look for strawberries, cherries, blueberries, and blackberries – the more intense the colour of the berry, the more nutrition it has.
Green and Coloured Vegetables
Green vegetables are essential for a kid’s brain. Vegetables like spinach, and lettuce contain compounds such as flavonoids, vitamins E and K 1, which protect the child’s brain. Children who eat a good quantity of leafy veggies have better cognitive scores. These greens are also rich in fibre thus reducing inflammation in the brain and the gut.
Some coloured vegetables are also very essential brain builders for kids. Tomatoes, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, carrots, spinach — vegetables with rich, deep colour are the best sources of antioxidants that keep brain cells strong and healthy.
Oranges and Apples
Oranges are packed with vitamin C, which is vital for a healthy brain. Consumption of oranges has benefits such as better performance in kids, improvement in focusing, retention power, concentration, recognition and they are also good decision makers. Oranges also help in improving cognitive skills. According to various studies, drinking 100% orange juice (extracted from the orange) benefits brain health and improves cognitive function.
Apples contain vital antioxidants that fight cognitive decline. Try to buy the organic variety to steer clear of the risk of pesticides and chemical additives affecting your kid’s health
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