The Best and Worst Food’s for Children’s Brains
When we first become parents, the list of what we should do and what we shouldn’t do for our children seems long and insurmountable. It can be hard to wade through all of the advice, well-meaning or otherwise, which comes at us from all sides. One of the most important stages of parenting comes starting your baby on solid foods for the first time, and although we all want to feed our children the best and healthiest food possible, it can be hard to know where to start.
Today, we’re going to break down some of the best and worst foods for children’s developing brains, and how we can use these food items to ensure that our child’s brain health is support from infancy into their teen years.
One of the best and easiest foods that you can give your child, especially when they’re first learning to eat solid foods on their own, is oats. Oats are rich in glucose, which is the basic fuel that ensures our brain is able to operate at peak functionality. Oats help keep our glucose level steady, ensuring that we don’t suddenly have a spike where our blood sugar levels rise and suddenly drop, leading to short periods of high energy followed by low-energy crash.
Oats and oatmeal can also help lower our cholesterol levels — something’s that not usually of concern for a child, but fat and cholesterol have both been linked to a buildup of fatty deposits in the blood, which have been linked to a higher potential for brain damage.
Another food that’s ideal for brain health that happens to go extremely well with oats are berries — any kind of berries will do. These sweet little gems have lots of vitamins and minerals that will help with brain functioning and cognition well into old age. Generally, darker berries contain more nutrients than lighter ones. They also have high levels of Vitamin C, antioxidants, and Omega-3 fatty acids. Studies have shown that extracts from both strawberries and blueberries can help improve memory function. For kids, berries are a great snack because they’re portable, and easy to grab with little fingers. You can also buy them frozen and blend them into smoothies using other healthy ingredients like spinach and yogurt.
For many years, the phrase ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away’ has been bandied about by parents trying to get their kids to eat more fruits and veggies. As it turns out, apples are actually great for developing brains. They’re extremely rich in antioxidants, which can help block free radicals which can cause damage to the cells in our brain. Apples also help prevent memory loss, and the fiber in the fruit can help lower our risk for strokes. Unfortunately, much of the apple’s fiber is found in the peel, so it’s integral that your children get used to eating the apple with the peel, in order to reap the most benefits possible. Just one apple contains around five grams of dietary fiber.