Written by Feba Maryann
Did you know that a newborn’s brain is only a quarter of its eventual adult size? By the age of five, a child’s brain is almost close to the size and volume of an adult brain. This means that prime growth and development of the brain occur before the child turns six.
To facilitate the proper development of brain functions like learning and memory, the brain needs nutrients like complex carbohydrates, choline, antioxidants, and fatty acids in ample amounts. This article has been put together to help you find the top brain foods for your toddler.
- Green Veggies
We get that it might be a little difficult to convince your toddler to eat their sprouts and spinach but green vegetables are packed with folate and vitamins which are essential to brain development. Studies have found spinach to lower the risks of developing dementia at a later stage in life.
Besides, the antioxidants present in these help protect brain cells from wear and tear. Go make that bowl of zucchini noodle or make a pizza crust with cauliflowers, get creative with veggies.
Adding a handful of berries to the toddler’s cereal or yogurt can help them get their required amount of polyphenols. Polyphenols are crucial in preventing neurodegeneration. Diets containing strawberries and blueberries have also been found to improve memory in individuals.
Apart from the abundance of antioxidants, berries also contain vitamins that prevent cancer, specifically vitamin C. Go ahead and swap the jelly from your classic PB&J with some fresh slices of cherries or strawberries to strengthen your toddler’s noggin.
Best known as a reservoir of proteins, eggs are also equally abundant in choline — a nutrient necessary for memory retention. Found concentrated in the egg yolks, choline also helps improve the communication between the brain and the rest of the body. Eggs are also rich in vitamin A and iron, these nutrients play an important role in the growth and repair of cells.
Nuts have essential fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals to keep the nervous system in check. Thiamine found in this superfood allows the brain to efficiently utilize glucose for energy. Vitamin E is an antioxidant present in nuts that nurtures the nerve membranes and boosts mood.
Feel free to include loads of nut butters like peanut butter or pistachio butter in your toddler’s diet now. You can additionally get them snack mixes with nuts and seeds.
Fatty or oily fish like salmon, sardine, and herring can be termed as brain food owing to their contribution to protecting a developing brain. These fish are rich in omega-3 fatty acid which plays a critical role in preventing deterioration of cognitive skills and memory.
A healthy amount of fish in the diets of kids below the age of ten has been linked to better neurotransmitter function that helps manage behavioral problems.
6. Whole Grains
Carbohydrates are the best source of fuel for the human body. What else is a better source of complex carbohydrates than whole-grain products? Whole grains like oatmeal and brown rice also contain several types of Vitamin B and would aid to repair and restore the nerve cells.
In addition, whole grains have been said to bring improvement in short-term memory capacity and attention. Add whole-grain bread, pasta, and crackers to your young one’s diet to make sure that their brain gets a constant and steady supply of energy.
Milk and milk products, more or less, have all the nutrients that should be consumed in a meal. Teeming with proteins and vitamins, dairy products facilitate the proper production of enzymes, and neurotransmitters.
Vitamins B and D present in dairy products also have an important role in maintaining the nervous system. Besides, vitamin D is essential in the proper functioning of the neuromuscular system.
Children under the age of ten undergo tremendous developmental changes. Finding an appropriate diet that facilitates these changes can be a little tricky but is completely worth the effort. At the same time, ensure that your ward does not have any food allergies before making changes in their diets. Consult a nutritionist to inquire about allergies and nutritional needs of your child prior to implementing changes.
Without a doubt, good food changes people, so make sure that you enjoy the process and that your child loves their food.