If you have children or are responsible for raising them, you undoubtedly want to ensure that they eat well so that they live the healthiest lives possible. All facets of health, along with the development and operation of the brain, depend on proper nutrition.
During the first few years of life, a child’s brain grows rapidly. In actuality, by the time your child reaches age 2, their brain has grown to 80% of its adult size.
Through adolescence, your child’s brain continues to develop, especially in the prefrontal cortex, also referred to as the “personality centre” of the brain. This is the part of the brain responsible for executive activities like planning, memory, and decision-making.
Every nutrient is crucial for healthy brain function. However, research has revealed that certain nutrients and foods promote brain growth and enhance cognitive function in children and adolescents.
This article discusses 5 foods that help youngsters develop their brains and offers suggestions on how to include them in child meals and snacks.
One of the healthiest foods that you can consume are eggs. Thankfully, children adore them as well. Choline, vitamin B12, protein, selenium, and other elements that are essential for brain growth and cognitive function are abundant in eggs.
The development of the brain is particularly dependent on the vitamin choline.
Adding choline to a child’s diet within the first 1,000 days of life may actually assist mental development, protect from nerve cell damage, and enhance cognitive functioning, according to a 2020 analysis of 54 studies.
Furthermore, studies show that eating patterns high in eggs as well as other nutritious foods, like beans and fruit, are linked to lower IQ scores than eating practices rich in sugary foods, such cookies and sweets.
Choline demands for children and teenagers aged 9 to 13 are more than 75% met by two whole eggs, which have 294 g of choline in total.
A child who hears stories read aloud and sings rhymes and songs will have a much better vocabulary than someone who doesn’t.
Anthocyanins, which are advantageous plant chemicals, are abundant in berries.
Anthocyanins may provide a number of advantages for the health of the brain, according to scientists.
They may have anti-inflammatory effects, improve blood flow to the brain, stimulate the growth of new nerve cells, and boost the expression of specific proteins. This includes BDNF, a neurotrophic factor that plays a role in memory and learning (13).
Numerous research’ findings suggest that children’s cognitive performance is positively impacted by berry consumption.
For instance, a study of 14 kids aged 7 to 10 revealed that those who drank 200 g of a blueberry beverage rich in flavonoids considerably outperformed those who consumed a control beverage on a word memory test.
Furthermore, studies show that children between the ages of 6 and 8 have worse cognitive performance when they consume fewer berries than other fruits and vegetables.
In a study with 2,432 teenage boys and girls, a higher berry consumption was also connected to superior academic achievement.
Omega-3 fatty acids, iodine, and zinc are just a few of the elements found in seafood that are very crucial for maintaining healthy brain function.
For instance, the body requires zinc for the growth and development of nerve cells, but omega-3 fatty acids are essential for healthy brain function. Iodine is required by the body to make thyroid hormones, which are crucial for brain development.
Numerous studies have linked seafood eating to improved cognitive performance in kids and teenagers. In fact, research has connected eating fish to children’s increased academic performance and higher IQ scores.
Furthermore, children’s cognitive development may be significantly impacted by insufficient blood levels of omega-3 fats.
However, because some forms of seafood are high in pollutants like mercury, eating fish excessively may be detrimental to cognitive function, according to study.
Offer your youngster shellfish that has little mercury, such as clams, salmon, shrimp, trout, and herring, as a result.
Although it may be difficult to encourage your child to consume leafy greens, research indicates that these nutrient-rich veggies are crucial for children’s brain development.
There are substances that protect the brain in green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale, and lettuce, containing folate, carotenoids, flavonoids, and vitamins E and K1.
According to one study, youngsters who consumed enough folate had higher cognitive scores than those who did not.
Additionally, studies indicate that a diet rich in foods containing carotenoids, like leafy greens, may improve a child’s cognitive function.
Leafy greens are high in carotenoid like lutein and zeaxanthin. These build up in the retina, a layer of your eye, after you eat them. The amount of these pigments in the eye is gauged by something called macular pigment optical density, or MPOD.
According to certain studies, MPOD and children’s cognitive development are strongly correlated.
Some of the most potent sources of food of flavonoids antioxidant, including epicatechin and catechin, are cocoa and cocoa derivatives like cacao nibs (26Trusted Source).
Studies have revealed that these substances may be beneficial to the health of the brain since they contain anti-inflammatory and brain-protective characteristics.
The brain receives more blood thanks to cocoa flavonoids, which also enhance visual processing. They help people perform better on specific cognitive tasks, according to research.
Additionally, young people who consume cocoa may perform better cognitively.
Short- and long-term cocoa consumption improved children’s and young adults’ cognitive ability, according to a study of 11 studies.
The researchers hypothesised that consuming cocoa could improve cognitive function on linguistic learning and memory-related tasks. However, further study has to be done on this by scientists.