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organic tender leaf curly kale washed and ready to cookEating healthy is essential for every child’s health. But, eating the right foods can also boost your child’s brainpower. Most parents already take care of their child’s nutritional needs to provide for physical energy and to help them grow.

With just a few tweaks to your child’s eating habits, you can provide the essential fuel to make her brain smarter and sharper.

To make sure your child gets the right brain fuel, it is essential to first identify the nutritional elements that support brain function. Then, simply incorporate an adequate serving of these nutrients into your child’s everyday food intake.

 

Iron-Rich Foods

Research shows that if a person is even mildly iron-deficient, it affects learning, memory and attention. So, ensuring an adequate intake of iron in your child’s daily diet is essential for brain health.

Here are some good sources of iron-

  1. Dark leafy greens (Kale, spinach, etc.)
  2. Beans
  3. Soybeans
  4. Chicken
  5. Turkey
  6. Fish
  7. Meat

Foods Rich In Omega-3

DHA and EPA, two types of Omega-3 fatty acids, are very important for brain development. Omega-3 fatty acids are found mainly in fish like salmon, although another type of omega-3 is also found in a variety of plant foods. These days many packaged foods are also fortified with Omega-3. Breakfast bars, cereals, soymilk–all contain fortified Omega-3.

Some great sources of Omega-3 are-

  1. Wild salmon
  2. Tuna
  3. Walnuts
  4. Flaxseed
  5. Canola oil
  6. Soybeans

Often times, a spoon of flaxseed oil will satisfy your child’s daily Omega-3 needs. You can also sprinkle flaxseed powder on cereal or mix it into pancake flour. There are many creative ways you can add flaxseed oil and flaxseed powder into regular foods to incorporate Omega-3 into your child’s daily diet.

 

Healthy Carbohydrates

Studies show that slower-burning carbohydrates (also called low-glycemic-index foods) help children maintain their concentration and attention for longer durations. Avoid faster-burning, or high-glycemic-indexed carbohydrates, because they tend to give a fast burst of energy followed by a “crash”.

Try these healthy carbohydrates to fuel your child’s brain-

  1. Whole wheat foods (breads, bagels, pancakes made with whole wheat flour)
  2. Whole oats or oatmeal
  3. Bran cereals

Water

Staying hydrated is not just important for physical health but for your child’s brain too. Dehydration has a negative impact on memory, mood and cognitive ability. So make sure your child drinks enough water everyday.

Here is the recommended daily water intake for children based on age-
1-3 years:                   44 ounces a day

4-8 years:                   57 ounces a day

9-13 years (boys):    81 ounces a day

9-13 years (girls):     71 ounces a day

14-18 years (boys): 111 ounces a day

14-18 years (girls):   97 ounces a day

Apart from drinking water some foods can also help children stay hydrated. These are some delicious foods with great water content-

  1. Watermelon
  2. Cucumber
  3. Strawberries
  4. Cantaloupe
  5. Apple

Fruit smoothies and veggie smoothies, also help your child stay hydrated while at the same time packing a nutritional punch.

 

 

Make sure your child gets an adequate serving of a variety of brains foods everyday. This will keep your child’s brain sharp and focused while boosting memory and cognitive functions.

But, food is only a part of the picture. Sleep and exercise are also essential for brain health. Exercising your child’s brain in addition to physical exercise is also a great way to boost brainpower. But that is a different topic.