“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.” – Virginia Woolf
The early school years, especially the first six years of life, are critical for one’s brain development. Important brain functions like memory, learning and motor control are established by the age of six. The development of the brain is based on factors like how much it is being utilised (through learning for example), genetics, the behaviour of neurons and the environment in which the person is in.
Being a parent, how you can help your kid’s brain development? From solving puzzles together, to having meaningful and noble conversations with them, there are many ways to do that.
Whatever you do, make sure to give them the right food.
YES, food provides the essential nutrients to nourish the brain; supports its functioning and prevents free radicles. However, you have to be mindful while choosing the right food for your kid’s healthy brain development.
Not to worry because here, we have listed the brain foods that can help your kids stay sharp and focused.
Almonds are a super food for the brain. Besides repairing brain cells, they also enhance cognitive functions like memory. Here is how this happens…
- Almonds contain vitamin B6 or pyridoxine that helps aid the metabolism of proteins. This process help boost the availability of proteins for brain cell repair. This vitamin also helps produces neurotransmitter chemicals that in turn improve communication between brain cells (transmission of neural signals)
- Zinc in almonds prevents bacterial and viral infections that can affect the brain cells.
- Almonds are rich in Vitamin E that slows down the ageing of cells.
Darker veggies like kale and spinach are filled with vitamins and folate. These nutrients are said to minimise the risk of dementia, a cognitive disorder, during old age. Kale is the powerhouse of antioxidants and other nutrients that boost the growth of new brain cells.
We all are aware that children are picky with food and most likely prefer to avoid consuming green vegetables. So get creative with the way you prepare meals. You can include these veggies in smoothies and make interesting flavoursome salads. Another smart way is to add them to your soups, stews, sauces and spaghetti.
Eggs contain the B vitamins and choline which play important role in proper brain functioning and development.
To be even more specific, they are loaded with several nutrients associated with brain health, including vitamins B12 and B6, choline and folate.
Choline is a micronutrient which helps body makes acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that aids in controlling one’s mood and memory. And eating eggs is an easy way to getting choline, as many people don’t get enough choline in their diet. The B vitamins found in an egg has their own importance in healthy brain development. They slow down the mental decline and help minimize depression.
Oranges are known for containing lots of vitamin C. And vitamin C does not only strengthens the immune system, but also boosts brain health. Vitamin C is also a powerful antioxidant which fights off the free radicals affecting the brain cells.
The family of berries include strawberries, blueberries and cherries. The dark coloured berries have more nutrition infused in them. Berries are high on antioxidants, especially vitamin C that can boost memory, according to some studies. Moreover, seeds from berries are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids.
Kids love berries and they can take it as a whole. You can add berries to green salads, yogurts and many other recipes.
Pumpkin seeds contains powerful antioxidants that minimise the damages that occurs in the brain caused by free radicals. They also contain iron, zinc, copper and magnesium.
Zinc is important for nerve signalling and helps in minimising the possibility of suffering from depression. Magnesium is important for memory-building and learning. Copper is used by the brain to control nerve signals and Iron improves thought-clarity in a person.
You can add pumpkin seeds in a variety of recipes. Make sure to roast them first. Here’s how.
- Boil some pumpkin seeds in a large sauce pan for 10 minutes. Remove the water.
- Toss the drained seeds with a little oil, some seasoning.
- Spread them evenly on a large baking sheet.
- Roast them at 180C for about 8-10 minutes.
Now you can add these roasted pumpkin seeds to cookies, mixed green salads and burgers.
Oats are one of the most nutritious foods on the planet. They keep your energy level up and nourish the brain. After all, it is a great source of nutrients like potassium, vitamin E and B-vitamins.
Oats also contain choline that is required for the body to generate an essential neurotransmitter for memory known as acetylcholine.
Here is an interesting recipe from oats for your kids.
Add ½ cup honey, a cup of peanut butter and ½ cup of milk powder to a cup of dry oats. Mix them well. Top the recipe with berries (another brain food) to enhance the taste.
Fish is considered as one of the best foods for brain development in kids. Fishes like tuna, salmon and sardines are excellent sources of vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids. Both nutrients minimise memory loss and other cognitive disorders. And one more thing—nearly 60% of the brain has omega-3 fatty acids as its building blocks.
Before Adding these ‘Brain Super Foods’ to your children’s Plates…
This is the rundown of some of the best foods for brain growth of your kids.
Make sure to prepare balanced meals for your children which included all the above-mentioned superfoods. Giving them too much of almonds than the ideal quantity can cause them to gain weight unnecessarily. Therefore, you should consult a dietician (if needed/if you think you need an experts point of view) to arrange a diet plan so that your children get the sufficient fuel for their brain!