Foods and Nutrients That Boost Mental Development in Kids

Posted by arturgomes on January 23rd, 2018

Your child’s performance is more than an inability to take tests well or not having the right tutors. What he or she eats reflects on their performance in class. It is, therefore, essential for you to feed your child healthy foods. Besides curbing irritability, healthy food is brain food. Brain food is superior to any grade 11 math tutor; and that is why kids need brain foods, even when they dislike the food.

The nutrients that your child gets influence the development of neural connections in the brain, as well as cellular structure, and cell signaling. With the right foods, you will most likely see an improvement in your child’s performance.

For better growth and enhanced brain development, here are some of the foods plus nutrients you should serve your little ones:

  1. Zeaxanthin and lutein

Although these are different nutrients, with different sources, they are both carotenoids, which are plant nutrients with high levels of antioxidants. These carotenoids don’t just fight free radicals. Studies show that these carotenoids boost memory function and improve the brain’s processing speeds and efficiency, impacting academic performance.  The effects of the carotenoids improve when children take both zeaxanthin and lutein together.

The best sources of these nutrients include dark green leafy vegetables like kale and spinach. Tomatoes are rich in lutein while kiwi, grapes, corn, eggs, zucchini, and oranges have both carotenoids.

  1. Anthocyanins

This is a polyphenol, the nutrient behind the dark blue and purple pigment in fruits and vegetables. Anthocyanins support brain health because of their richness in antioxidants which protect cells and also promote blood flow to the brain and other cells in the body. The best sources of anthocyanins include grapes and blueberries. Intake of grape juice is preferable when paired with a solid protein or fat source to avoid a sugar rush or crash.

  1. Unsaturated fats

The human brain is primarily fat, and you need to eat more fats to supplement the natural fat. But, you have to take the good fats, also called unsaturated fats. The unsaturated fats are perfect for kids and even adults as they boost cognitive function and mental performance. Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are some of the best fatty acids for kids as they boost reading skills and also improve your child’s attention span. Note that the omega fatty acids are mostly polyunsaturated fatty acids and they have been shown to be effective in the management of the attention-deficient cases like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

The best sources of the unsaturated fatty acids include nuts, avocado, seeds, and olive oil. Unfortunately, the unsaturated fatty acid DHA is hard to come nu especially from food, and though found in salmon and tuna, they aren’t easily accessible to all. For this reason, manufacturers make DHA-Fortified foods like milk.

  1. Vitamin E

This is an important component of the brain. The vitamin is liked to language development, vision, memory, hearing, as well as complex learning. These functions come from the fact that Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that complements lutein in protecting DHA, the omega-3 fatty acid necessary for cognition. You can find vitamin E in almonds, sunflower seeds, eggs, peanuts, hazelnuts, and broccoli.

  1. Choline

This is found in eggs, organ meats, and beans. Choline is a precursor for different neurotransmitters necessary for peak cognitive function processing. Choline is an important element for memory function.

Your child also needs

Fiber – to keep him or her full ensuring that the brain has enough fuel. Fiber also lowers the appetite for unhealthy food and snacks

Potassium – for fluid balance, muscle contraction and maintenance of blood pressure

Calcium – for strong bones

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