Today, parents are more aware—we know most of the brain’s wiring is established during the first few years of life.
Studies reveal that the first six years of one’s life is significant for the complete development of brain.
Did you know when a child is born, the brain size is only about a quarter of its eventual adult size, and by age two, it reaches 3/4th of adult size? And by five, the brain will be very close to adult size and volume.
When we say brain grows it means the structures of the brain involved in learning, memory, motor control, and every other brain functions are established by the age of six.
Needless to say, the first few years of a child are very important for brain development and learning skills. Each child is wired differently and no two brains are the same.
The development of the brain depends on genetics, how connections are made between the neurons in the brain, how the brain is used, and the different circumstances it’s exposed to.
The key to effective brain development in the first few years are being talked to, played with, getting a stimulating environment and influences all around. Wonder how you can help your child’s brain development?
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Here we list 10 powerful foods that help in early brain development:
Packed with protein, essential fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals, nuts and seeds are helpful for mood boost and keep the nervous system in check. Peanuts and peanut butter are a good source of vitamin E, a potent antioxidant that protects nervous membranes. Thiamine helps the brain and nervous system use glucose for energy. A must for your kids!
Eggs are a super food for brain development. They provide proteins and nutrients that help kids concentrate. The protein-carbohydrate combo diet is much better than sugar-induced energy jump. “Boiled, poached, scrambled, or as omelette, eggs are a rich source of proteins.
The egg yolk is a storehouse of vital vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants and is also packed with choline, which helps memory development,” says Dr S Yamuna, Chennai-based consultant paediatrician.
Get your child relish berries for a dose of nutrients called polyphenols. Dark chocolate chips are another option for polyphenols. These nutrients are said to keep the mind sharp by increasing blood flow to the brain.
Studies have shown improved memory with the extracts of blueberries and strawberries. How about adding berries to yoghurt, hot or cold cereal, or dips?
4) Dairy products
Dairy foods are packed with protein and B-vitamins—essential for growth of brain tissue, neurotransmitters, and enzymes. Fat is important to brain health and keeps brain cells in good form for sending and receiving information.
The benefits of green vegetables are too many. Full of folate and vitamins, spinach is linked to lower odds of getting dementia later in life. Greens are packed with antioxidants and other things that help new brain cells grow. How about adding spinach omelettes or lasagne?
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6) Apples and Plums
When children feel sluggish, give them the boost of vitamins and minerals provided by these fruits. Apples and plums are lunch box-friendly and contain quercetin, an antioxidant that may fight decline in mental skills.
Make sure your kids eat the skin as well for roughage. Go for the organic variety, wash well, and voilà quick snack for your kids are ready!
Fish is a good source of vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acid, which protect the brain from declining mental skills and memory loss. Salmon, tuna, and sardines are all rich sources of these. The more omega-3s we can get to the brain, the better it will function and the better kids will be able to focus. You bet!
8) Whole Grains
The brain needs a constant supply of glucose and whole grains provide that in multiples. They contain fibre that helps regulate the release of glucose into the body. Whole grains also have B-vitamins for a healthy nervous system. Switch to whole-grain bread, and how about low-fat popcorn for a fun snack?
Oats are very good for developing brain. Oats provide excellent energy for the brain that kids need first thing in the morning. Loaded with fibre, oats keep a child’s brain energetic. They are also a good sources of vitamin E, B-vitamins, potassium and zinc that make the brain function.
Beans are good because they have protein, complex carbohydrates, and fibre plus lots of vitamins and minerals. They are an excellent brain food since they keep a child’s energy and thinking level at peak for a long time. Beans also contain omega-3, important for brain growth and function.
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Image Credits: FMSC
90% of a child’s permanent foundation for brain development occurs in the early years according to Rauch Foundation. An overuse of gadgets can only stunt this growth and cause a negative impact on the child’s overall development.
If your child is spending more time swiping and scrolling, instead of interaction with the real world, you need to act before it’s too late.
Find out if your child is being meaningfully and positively engaged by taking this simple quiz.