Food is the fuel that our bodies use to function, think, play and work in our daily routine. Kids and adults who eat well perform well in their school and work as they are able to concentrate, focus and learn by the nutrients in a well-balanced diet. Healthy and well-balanced nutrition have a direct impact on kids’ IQ, health and overall wellbeing. Kids use a lot of energy and we know to fuel their bodies is crucial to keep them healthy and going all day long. So it’s important to ensure your kids are having a well-balanced diet by incorporating some good brain foods in their daily regime.
I have done quite a research on my own for my kids and found out that studies say the first six years of one’s life are significant for the complete development of the brain. So, the brain’s wiring is established during the first few years of life, which makes nutrition and food choices an important consideration. Read books, articles on what are and how to incorporate brainfoods in your kid’s routine.
If you find that your child’s performance at school slipping, grades are suffering or she is lacking the energy to perform activities or school homework, check his/her health as it might be a sign of lack of nutrition.
In this article, I am covering some of the most nutritious brain foods for kids and will also tell you why they’re important, so you can think of incorporating them regularly into your kid’s meal plan.
BRAIN FOODS FOR KIDS:
A few of the healthiest brain food choices are:
- Nuts and seeds
- Green vegetables
Blueberries are one of my own favorites and are extremely good for our health. Get your child relish on berries for a dose of antioxidants to keep their mind sharp by increasing blood flow to the brain. Studies conducted have shown an improved memory with the extracts of berries and according to them, berries are considered to be one of the brain foods found helpful in slow memory and motor coordination.
These anti-oxidants-rich berries will help protect your child’s brain from the toxins, chemicals, and pollutants they are exposed to every single day, as well as the oxidative damage caused by stress. They provide a good source of carbohydrate and fiber that will boost the kid’s energy levels throughout the day.
So, How about adding berries to yogurt, hot or cold cereal and giving kids a good vitamin-rich source brain food to boost that brain health. Let’s kick start our day by daily consumption of this fruit, whether consumed fresh, frozen, canned or as an extract, it can deliver some good brain benefits, from preventing or treating dementia (decline in mental ability) to improving memory.
You can give you kid healthy smoothies by throwing frozen berries in it, or add on the top of oatmeal or yogurt in the morning for breakfast. Or you can simply pack a bag full of fresh berries with a container of yogurt as a dip for school.
NUTS AND SEEDS:
Nuts and seeds are a good source of omega-3. They are rich in antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins making them perfect support for brain health. The health benefits of nuts and seeds cannot be overemphasized enough. Seeds like pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame, peanuts and buts such as walnuts; almonds, etc. contain a host of healthful nutrients including all essential vitamins and minerals.
These nuts and seeds are especially rich in vitamin-E, which has shown tremendous help in preventing Alzheimer’s disease. This Vitamin-E enriched food protects the brain cells membranes from free radical damage. Nuts are enriched with a high concentration of DHA, a type of omega 3 acids that improve cognitive performance, boosts serotonin levels and relieve stress.
To incorporate healthy nuts and seeds into the daily routine of a child, you can add simply add them with oatmeal or can mix with meshed dates and roll them into ball-shaped delicious sweet for your kids. Just 1 ounce of nuts on a daily basis works plenty.
Besides being one of my favorite foods, Avocados are rich in mono-unsaturated fats, which help to maintain healthy blood flow, which in turn, helps to maintain a healthy brain. Avocados are one of the best foods you can give to your child to improve their overall mental and physical health. This soluble fiber-rich fruit packed with good mono-saturated fats, help to sustain energy levels and are also rich in vitamins E and C, which promotes healthy vision.
Avocados are also helpful in keeping blood sugar levels steady and can improve both memory and cognitive function. They are super creamy and this creamy texture makes them perfect smoothie add-in. you can also add them to sandwiches or make pita chips for after school snack. My kids are not so big fan of avocados in general, so I like to add them in smoothies with other nutritious fruits so they don’t actually feel the taste of it. If your kids love to eat avocados you can try the above ideas and incorporate its health benefits into your child’s routine.
It turns out there was a good reason why Popeye was in love with that spinach. Getting regular helpings of leafy green brain foods like kale, spinach, lettuce, celery, and Swiss chard, etc. are rich in folate, iron, B vitamins, and magnesium and can help keep dementia at bay according to research. All of these nutrients are essential to increasing your brainpower. Leafy green vegetables may help slow age-related cognitive decline, according to a study in the journal Neurology. Also, they contain carotenoids which are powerful brain protectors.
Green, leafy vegetables are also loaded with vitamins A and K which help fight inflammation and keep bones strong. Studies show that adults and kids who eat serving of leafy green veggies once or twice a day experience slower mental deterioration than those who eat no vegetables. While getting your kids eats lots of greens may often seem incredibly difficult (I know as it is for me), there are still enormous ways to do it. My kid’s favorite is including greens into their smoothies or shakes. You can do the same as if your kids love them as it is you can cook and give them a healthy boost of energy for their entire day.
When talking about healthy brain foods how can we ever forget oatmeal, the universal healthiest food? I’m a huge fan of oatmeal for breakfast for myself and kids. They are high in soluble fiber, which keeps the child fuller longer. They are also a great source of B Vitamins, Vitamin E, Potassium, and Zinc which helps their body and brain function well. Instead of giving children sugary breakfast or cereals which are not food for concentration and sustained energy, oatmeal works wonders as it doesn’t spike the blood sugar but gives them a steady dose of energy all day long. Oatmeal provides complex carbohydrates that provide the fuel the brain needs the first thing in the morning.
It is best to choose either large-flake or steel-cut oats and then you are ready to pair them up with anything you like. The best is when it is paired with protein (milk, yogurt and/or nuts and seeds). You can simply choose to cook it with milk in the microwave or on the stove and add your child’s favorite nuts, seeds, and fruits.
When I was young my usual breakfast consist of eggs and toast. My mother always emphasized eating eggs for a healthy well-balanced diet. I follow the same regime with my kids. Eggs are one of the most versatile and nutritious foods that exist. They are a great source of protein, which helps sustain kid’s energy levels, allow them to focus and concentrate for longer periods of time and keep them full for long. They are rich in Vitamin A and D and contain lutein and zeaxanthin, which both promote healthy vision. Eggs are a superfood for brain development.
Always make sure when you give your child egg, he/she eats the entire egg, not just the white, as most of the nutrition is found in the yolk. One yolk has about 200 milligrams of choline, which meets or nearly meets the needs of children up to 8 years. The choice is always yours on how you want to serve eggs to your kids- boiled, poached, scrambled or an omelet. In any form you choose, eggs are a rich source of proteins that helps in the overall development of your child. If you are still concerned about giving eggs to your children related to cholesterol levels spike, let me ease your mind at this, there are several pieces of research on the Internet providing the fact that eggs do no increase cholesterol levels, so rest assure and buy the most inexpensive yet healthiest choice of protein for you and your family.
Olives are the cheapest and a healthy alternative of brain food for a well-balanced diet. Thanks to all the antioxidants found in olives or olive oil, eating olives regularly may lead to less brain deterioration over time. The reason is that monounsaturated fats present in olives promote the transportation of more oxygen to the brain. These fats may not only improve learning and memory but also reserve the age and disease-related changes in the body. The mono-unsaturated fat found in olives gets incorporated into all of our body cells.
The best way to consume them is eating them cold or at room temperature. You can simply sprinkle olive oil on food or salads of your choice or you can use olives as a snack food, as a side dish in lunch boxes, or as a pre-dinner appetizer.
These superfoods have gained a high reputation for being top brain foods that can boost cognitive function and improve memory, even in old age. Do you know some other brain-boosting foods, feel free to share them with us!