We all want our kids to eat right. Fueling their developing bodies with nutritious choices is directly linked to physical fitness. But what about brain health? As the driving force for the human body, the brain deserves to be nurtured just as much as the arms and legs. Incorporating a diet rich in foods proven to boost the brain’s continued growth and development can have immeasurable benefits on your child’s focus, comprehension and memory.
Try some of these brain boosters:
- Dark, leafy green vegetables. Chock full of folate and other vitamins, leafy greens contain antioxidants that actually promote new brain cell growth. Additionally, regular consumption is linked with a decreased risk of dementia in later life. Serving suggestion: Pair with fruit (#5), low-fat milk (#6) and ice, then blend in a smoothie.
- Fish (especially oily varieties). Fish offers both vitamin D and omega-3s to help with focus and concentration. It also protects against memory loss. Serving suggestion: Pan fry salmon and serve in taco shells with dipping sauce.
- Nuts & seeds. These ready-to-go snack items are packed with vitamins and protein. They help boost mood and regulate the nervous system. Serving suggestion: Toss with butter and your favorite spice combination. Bake in single layer at 250 degrees F for approximately 1 hour, stirring every 10-15 minutes.
- Oatmeal. Filled with fiber, B vitamins and protein, oatmeal helps keep both brain and heart arteries clear and boost memory. Because it’s a whole grain, it digests slowly to give you steady energy. Serving suggestion: Prepare according to directions, then add cinnamon and berries (#5).
- Blueberries. In addition to preventing memory loss, blueberries are high in vitamin C and antioxidants, so they naturally stave off both short- and long-term illness. Serving suggestion: Add them to smoothies (#1), roasted nut & seed snacks (#3) and hot oatmeal (#4).
- Low-fat dairy products. Milk and yogurt (preferably plain, nonfat Greek) support brain health because they’re loaded with B vitamins and protein to help you concentrate. Serving suggestion: Add milk to your smoothies (#1) or yogurt to your berries (#5).
- Chocolate (specifically dark). It gets you going by increasing the blood flow to the brain. Always remember to look for a high concentration of cocoa. That’s where all the nutrition and brain benefit can be found. Serving suggestion: Add dark chocolate chips to roasted nut & seed snacks (#3).