Food for a child’s brain

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This is an article from our “Doctor’s Corner” series, brought to you by Samitivej Hospital. Make sure to read the entire series!

Good nutrition is the cornerstone for optimized academic performance and it is also essential for building and maintaining normal body organs and sturdy bones.

Food for a child's brain

Foods for the brain help your child develop and organize his or her life in an efficient way. For optimum health and brain power, your child’s daily intake should contain the right amounts of certain critical nutrients. Balance, distribution and variety are the important keys to a nutritious meal, and a perceived deficiency in just one important nutrient can seriously impair your child’s ability to perform well in the classroom and later in professional life.

The first and foremost parameter of your child’s meal is the biologically available energy resources that help cells in the body produce more energy and vitality. Researchers suggest that both complex and simple sugars should form an important component of the diet. For example, almost all fruits provide copious amounts of energy in the form of fructose and simple sucrose. A dash of fresh fruit pieces in your child’s lunch box will not only keep you child energetic throughout the day, but also assist in developing increased concentration levels and attention spans.

Mysterious Amino Acids
Most amino acids have to be supplied by the diet. Deficiency in even one of the important amino acids can impair a number of bodily functions. A complete protein rich diet is an efficient plan that can enhance your child’s basic building blocks of the brain like neuro-transmitters and neuro-chemicals, which are the brain’s messengers that transport signals from brain cells to different parts of the body. Amino acids like tyrosine, largely found in fish, dairy products, eggs, oats and turkey, can enhance the mood and increase mental alertness. Another critical amino acid, phenylalanine, can regulate blood glucose levels and maintain memory power and intricate mental processes.

Excellent fat resources
Dietary fat is perhaps the most important component in your child’s diet, and the type and quality of fat largely influence the degree and level of brain development and ability to think, store and retrieve memories and events. Useful fat additives such as Omega-3 are known to boost brain development in children and help stop a decline in brain activity. Fish oils, eggs, dry fruits and seeds are rich depositories of Omega-3 fatty acids.

Beneficial vitamins and minerals
Brain function in your child is substantially enhanced or influenced by a number of essential vitamins and minerals. Essential vitamins and critical minerals are also very crucial for a number of other issues such as production of mental energy, enhancement of the immune system, and boosting nervous system functions.

Brain foods are always rich in the following nutrients and associated additives:

  1. Basic sugars like sucrose and fructose. Examples include oranges, avocado, berries, apricots, apples, and grapes.
  2. Biologically available proteins. Examples include poultry, sea foods such as cods, sardines, mackerels, shrimps and shell fishes, eggs, turkey and red meat.
  3. Essential fats. Examples include soybean oil, corn oil, omega-3 fats generated by some fishes, dairy products, yogurt, limited quantities of cheese, cocoa, tuna.
  4. Fiber. Examples include corn, nuts, seeds, green leaves, vegetables such as spinach and broccoli and carrots.

Tip: Never ever allow your child to eat too much refined and sugary foods because of their pronounced ill effects including dizziness, irritability and mood swings.

Samitivej, We Care!

For further information, please contact:

Child Health Institute
Samitivej Sukhumvit Hospital
2st Floor, Building 2
Tel: 66 (0) 2711-8236-7
Call Center: 66 (0) 2711-8181

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