Over the last decade or so, children of the developed world have been eating food packed with sugar, salt, additives and the wrong sort of fat. In fact they have been consuming food with very little actual nourishment. Instead of building healthy bodies and brains, children simply get fatter and unhealthier by the year. Even more concerning is the rise in learning problems amongst school going children.
Children would be perfectly happy with milk or water, if we don’t introduce them to sugary flavourings or fizzy cool drinks. Likewise, if we encouraged them to snack on fruit or nuts, instead of unhealthy alternatives, they would be quite content.
Keeping your child away from sugar, salt and unhealthy fat intake, is easier said than done. As children grow, they begin to compare notes with friends or they are introduced to junk food by other, well meaning, adults. Add to this the impact of marketing and it seems practically impossible to keep your child away from unhealthy food for long.
The brain is a greedy organ and uses much of the nutrients consumed, to function efficiently. That is why growing and learning children need a nutritionally balanced diet. The brain is almost two-thirds fat and requires essential fatty acid (omega 6 and omega 3) intake, in order to function optimally. In fact, evidence shows that an omega 3 deficiency in children, leads to distractibility and learning difficulties.
Fatty fish (salmon, sardines, pilchards and mackerel) is a rich source of omega-3s, a major building block of the brain. Omega-3s play a role in sharpening memory and improving mood, as well as protecting your brain against decline.
Blueberries are packed with antioxidants that may delay brain ageing and improve memory.
Broccoli contains a number of compounds that have powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, including vitamin K.
Pumpkin seeds are rich in many micronutrients that are important for brain function, including copper, iron, magnesium and zinc.
The flavonoids (antioxidants) in dark chocolate may help protect the brain. Studies have suggested that eating dark chocolate could boost both memory and mood.
Nuts contain a host of brain-boosting nutrients, including vitamin E, healthy fats and plant compounds. While all nuts are good for your brain, walnuts may have an extra edge, since they also deliver omega-3 fatty acids.
Oranges and other foods that are high in vitamin C can help defend your brain against damage from free radicals.
Eggs are a rich source of several B vitamins and choline, which are important for proper brain functioning and development, as well as regulating mood.
Encourage healthy snacks: Look out for some yummy and healthy snack recipe’s which I will post in FUN IDEAS.