by Matt Weik, BS, CSCS, CPT, CSN
The brain health of kids is incredibly important. I don’t think there’s anyone out there who can provide any data that would show otherwise. Therefore, we need to look at specific ways or food items that can improve the brain health of kids and put them in a position to win in life.
“A healthy body and mind” — as parents, what more do you want for your little ones?
Every parent strives to give their kids the best education, experience, and nutrition. But do you know, as per studies, by the time you celebrate your child’s 2nd birthday, your child’s brain grows to 80% of its adult weight?
Pretty crazy that it has such rapid growth, right?
Well, it’s no secret that brains are incredibly powerful tools, and as a parent, you need to make sure that your kid is getting the best nutrition for their mental development.
But what food items can improve the brain health of kids? It’s something we should all be asking as parents (or at least thinking about if you want to be a parent and start a family of your own).
In this article, we are going to look at a list of top brain-boosting superfoods that you can incorporate into your child’s diet to make sure that they get enough nutrients and reach their full potential. You should also speak to your child’s pediatrician before adding any new foods to their plan, even if they are listed below and can improve the brain health of kids.
The Best Food Items to Help the Brain Health of Kids
Below are some of the best food items that can improve the brain health of kids. Add these to your kid’s diet!
Blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, and others — all these tiny gems are packed with antioxidants, vitamins, and various other nutrients. They contain a plant compound called anthocyanins, which can improve the brain health of kids.
As per studies, berries improve the blood flow to the brain, have anti-inflammatory effects, and promote the production of nerve cells, including BDNF (which plays a major role in learning and memory). The results also show that berries can positively impact children’s cognitive abilities.
Another study (on 14 children between the ages of 7 and 10) found that the ones who consumed a blueberry drink (rich in flavonoids) performed better in the word recall tests than the rest. In adolescents, high berry consumption is also linked to better performance academically.
And the best part? Berries are delicious treats. Time to add this berry-licious food item to your kid’s diet and help them soar intellectually and improve the brain health of kids.
Eggs are a great source of protein and of the most nutritious food items ever. Most importantly, eggs contain choline — a nutrient well-known for brain development.
As per a review, adding choline to the infant’s diet during the initial 1,000 days of life helps with improving brain development, cognitive functioning, and protecting against nerve cell damage.
Moreover, research suggests that a diet containing eggs and other healthy items is linked to higher IQ compared to a diet containing foods high in sugar.
A pro tip: Try keeping a variety of eggs available for your kids, like hard-boiled eggs, omelets, scrambled eggs, including them in baked foods, and more. This can keep things fresh while also helping improve the brain health of kids.
3. Nuts and Seeds
If your kid is not allergic to nuts, then it can be one of the best items for them to snack on. They are highly nutritious as they contain vitamin E, zinc, and folate, and can help to improve cognitive function.
As per studies, nuts can improve diet quality, which ultimately enhances cognitive functioning and academic performance. Moreover, not just kids but consumption of nuts also helps to improve the cognitive performance of college-going students.
Add this versatile food item to your pantry to help improve the brain health of kids.
Yogurt is an excellent, protein-packed dairy product that can help in boosting brain health.
Studies show that children who do not consume sufficient iodine tend to have cognitive impairment. And yogurt is an amazing source of iodine.
In addition to iodine, yogurt is rich in various other nutrients like protein, B12, zinc, and more, which help in brain development.
To make yogurt consumption more delicious for kids, you can try mixing Greek yogurt with fresh fruits. You can also try serving them with pumpkin seeds, homemade granola, and more to help improve the brain health of kids.
5. Green Leafy Vegetables
Convincing your kids to eat green vegetables is, of course, the most challenging task ever!
But green veggies like kale, spinach, and lettuce are super important for your child’s brain development. It is because green veggies contain brain-protecting compounds, including vitamin E, folate, flavonoids, and more, that can help improve the brain health of kids.
Studies show that children who consume folate in an adequate quantity have better cognitive abilities as compared to children who do not consume enough folate.
Also, purple cauliflower contains anthocyanin and is rich in fiber, folate, and vitamin B6, which helps to improve the memory, attention span, and the mood of children.
Try to get a bit creative, like chopped veggies in soup, roasted veggies, and more.
Summing It All Up
Apart from these five, there are various other food items that you can include, like whole grains, oatmeal, apples, avocadoes, oranges, cocoa, seafood, and more.
And most importantly, a healthy and balanced diet is not just crucial for the brain health of kids but also for the overall growth and development of the child.