The first years of life lay the foundation for brain health. Studies show that a nutritious diet during childhood is key to promoting a child’s long-term well-being, and the foods they eat can affect their cognition, temperament, motor skills and language development.
As a nutritional psychiatrist, I have found that foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, folate, iron, iodine, zinc, choline, and vitamins A, B12, and D support brain function, behavior, and learning. Avoiding processed foods with added sugars is also key.
Children can be picky, so parents will have to be creative. Here are six brain foods that will help your kids stay focused and mentally focused:
1. Superfood Smoothies
Smoothies are a tasty way to get lots of nutrients into your child’s diet, and even sneak in foods they might normally struggle with. It can even be called a “shake”.
For the best superfood smoothie, add folate- and fiber-rich leafy greens like spinach or kale, along with chia seeds or walnuts for omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, and plant-based protein. Then add an avocado for healthy fats, followed by antioxidant-rich blueberries.
Adding unsweetened natural yogurt can also increase the creaminess, protein levels, and healthy probiotics in your smoothie. boost mood.
2. Homemade vegetable fries
Eating a variety of colorful vegetables is so important for getting enough fiber and phytonutrients as well as nutrition. both gut health and mental health.
Air fryer ovens add a crispy, crunchy texture to foods without frying them. Use it to make zucchini, carrot, or green bean “fries.”
Then we stir the vegetables with a little black pepper and turmeric, rosemary, oregano, parsley or thyme to give it flavor.
3. Homemade hummus
Legumes are healthy, of vegetable origin sources of iron, zinc, protein and fiber, benefiting brain development.
Homemade hummus is a versatile way to incorporate legumes into your child’s diet. It can be served in many ways, such as a dip with apple slices, carrot sticks, thinly sliced celery or sugar snap peas.
Adding a little color to your hummus can make it more appealing to kids. Think: bright orange carrot hummus or deep purple beet hummus topped with a vegetable monster face.
Introducing your child to fish at a young age can increase their likelihood of enjoying it and eating low-fat, vitamin-rich protein for the rest of their lives.
Salmon is mild and mild enough for young children, and it’s also a good source of vitamin B12 and omega-3, which promote healthy brain development and happier moods.
Whole eggs are an excellent source of brain-boosting vitamins A, D and B12, along with choline. Choline is especially important for young children, as has been shown improve brain development and long-term memory.
I recommend buying pastured eggs: One study found that pastured eggs can have twice as much vitamin E and nearly three times as much omega-3 as caged eggs.
Get some powerful plant fiber and nutritious vegetables into your child’s diet through meatballs.
Start with a base of beans, lentils or ground turkey. Then add the shredded spinach or shredded zucchini.
Use flaxseed to bind the added omega-3 ingredients and throw in the spices. Baking the meatballs, rather than frying them, is the healthiest way to do it.
Dr. Uma Naidoo is a nutritional psychiatrist, brain expert and faculty member at Harvard Medical School. She is also the director of nutritional and lifestyle psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital and author of the best-selling book “This is your brain on food: an indispensable guide to amazing foods that fight depression, anxiety, PTSD, OCD, ADHD and more.” follow her Twitter i Instagram.
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