BY SWATI MEHRA
We have all heard time and again that 90% of a child’s brain development happens in the first six years of their life. Studies have revealed that during the early years, children learn a lot by observing their surroundings, absorb information, discover talents, and so on. Believe it or not, the food they eat plays an important role in keeping their brain healthy and helping them bloom into happy, focused, and sharp adults.
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However, it doesn’t just end there. From trying to understand what’s around them to coping up with the new world of schools, exams, and activities, their brains are evolving and changing rapidly. Growing brains and bodies need many types of nutrients that help in boosting the child’s brainpower.
Mommies have a tough job choosing healthy and most effective food items when there are supermarkets full of options, each claiming to be better than the other. If you happen to win the battle and find a few satisfactory choices, it’s not a cakewalk to make little picky eaters relish those. Fret not, we’ve tried to give it some thought and put down a few ways to make nutrient-rich Brain Development Food a part of your child’s daily diet.
Packed with protein, essential fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals, nuts and seeds are helpful for a mood boost and keep the nervous system in check. Peanuts and peanut butter are a good source of vitamin E, a potent antioxidant that protects nervous membranes. If your child is too lazy to chew on a fistful of nuts, you can mix a spoonful of organic Nut Powder from Slurrp Farm in their milk or homemade desserts. A must for your kids!
Eggs are a superfood for brain development. They are a rich source of proteins, nutrients and good carbohydrates that help kids concentrate. They are a super versatile ingredient and can be served in any form that your child fancies. The egg yolk is a storehouse of vital vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants and is also packed with choline, which helps memory development.
Though not a new discovery, Ragi is the latest entrant in the list of superfoods for all age groups. One of the healthiest grains that you must incorporate into your child’s diet, Ragi is known for its numerous benefits. It has 3x calcium of milk, loaded with bone-healthy nutrients and helps your kids grow taller, stronger, and sharper. It’s also a great option for kids with allergies since its gluten-free. It can be made into sweet porridge or savory rotis, just the way your child likes it.
Full of folate and vitamins, spinach, lettuce, and kale are linked to lower odds of getting dementia later in life. Kale is a superfood, packed with antioxidants and other things that help new brain cells grow. These leafy wonders, however, are a hard sell with most of the kids. So, rather than trying to feed them a salad, one can blend them into a puree and mix in rotis/omelets/lasagne, or even turn them into healthy snack time kale chips.
Fats are important for brain health, but one needs to be mindful of serving good and bad fats to the little ones. Fermented dairy products like curd are full of calcium, have the power to help with digestion, and probiotics also help in brain development. A full-fat Greek yogurt (which has more protein than other yogurts) can help keep brain cells in good form for sending and receiving information. It’s fairly easy to make the kids relish yogurt by blending it with fruits as smoothies, mixing them with cereals topped with berries or chocolate chips, turning them into flavored dips, and many more.
6. Chia Seeds
Chia seeds are an excellent source of Omega 3, Antioxidants, fiber and protein and a great immunity booster for kids and babies. These can be served and consumed by soaking them in water or milk for 15 minutes and add to cereals, yogurt, fruits, and salads. Since the market is flooded with varieties, make sure you pick up the best organic option for your child.
Fish is a rich source of vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids, which protect the brain from declining mental skills and memory loss. Salmon, tuna, and sardines are all rich sources of these. The more omega-3s we can get to the brain, the better it will function, and the better kids will be able to focus. Some grilled fish or sandwiches is a no-fail with kids. You bet!
The brain is on a fast track of growth during childhood and needs the right and constant nourishment. While we’ve curated the best brain-optimizing foods that you just can’t miss out to give your child’s brain the boost it needs, you now need to put your chefs’ cap on to create combinations and recipes to cater to your kid’s palette.