Five Superfoods to Boost your Child’s Brain Power

For most of us, childhood is a particularly joyous time, but this doesn’t mean that it is without its share of stress. Children spend an average of seven hours at school, and the stimulation provided by teachers and fellow students is usually anything but ‘quiet’ for most young ones. Music, art, the alphabet and basic mathematics keep a toddler’s brain busy and active, and the complexity and number of subjects only increase as our kids enter Year 1, Year 2, and so forth… We often think of what superfoods can do for adults, but there are many foods that can help boost our children’s concentration, memory and energy levels too. In this post, we present five superfoods that are ideal lunchbox stuffers on busy days.

  • Oily fish: If your little ones love the flavour of tuna, you could no better than packing them a sandwich or small salad with fish like salmon, tuna and sardines, which are rich in Omega-3 essential fatty acids. The benefits of oily fish are plentiful, according to recent studies. One has shown immensely beneficial results from feeding fish oil to children with learning difficulties such as dyslexia, dyspraxia and ADHD. Adults are reporting great benefits from fish oil, too, including an alleviation of the symptoms associated with depression and schizophrenia. Another trial undertaken in the UK revealed that children had marked improvements in reading, writing and numeracy after the consumption of fish oil for several months. If your family’s diet is currently low in Omega-3s, and your kids aren’t too keen on fish, fear not; there are other ways to source these useful acids; try walnuts, fax seeds, cauliflower and even winter squash. If you are considering using a fish oil supplement with children, see your doctor beforehand to glean vital information on dosage, effects on allergies and other health conditions, etc.
  • Blueberries, Strawberries and Spinach: Researchers at Tufts University in the US recently conducted the first major study into the ability of particular fruits and vegetables to reverse damage in nerve cells. Their findings, published in the Journal of Neuroscience, indicate that blueberries, strawberries and spinach, when consumed regularly, can lead to short-term memory improvements. The consumption of blueberries was also linked to improved balance and coordination.

strawberries

 

  • Sprouts: We often feed toddlers and young children cooked seeds, pulses or grains, yet when we germinate these same foods first, their nutritional value increases considerably. Did you know that the Vitamin E content of wheat grains increases by up to three times when they are sprouted, or that the B2 in oats rise by at least 1300 per cent? In addition to being powerhouses of vitamins and minerals, sprouts are, in effect, ‘pre-digested food’; they enable the body to absorb their nutritional content much more efficiently. Start out by sprinkling salads and sandwiches with your own homemade sprouts and add more content and variety as kids grow accustomed to their crisp texture and unbeatable flavour. Read this easy tutorial by Leslie Kenton on how to sprout your own seeds and grains and save on expensive trips to the health food store. For a more professional look, try using a seed sprouter.

brussel sprouts

 

  • Bananas: Bananas are nutritionally dense and contain three natural sugars – glucose, fructose and sucrose as well as fibre, which helps children feel sustained and energised for hours on end. Bananas are an excellent source of complex carbohydrates, which, unlike simple sugars, help stabilise glucose levels in the blood and keep mental lapses at bay.
  • Sage: This aromatic herb, used in an array of traditional meat and fish dishes, not only adds an inimitable flavour to your favourite recipes, it is also known as being an excellent memory booster. A study undertaken at the Medicinal Plant Research Centre at the Universities of Newcastle and Northumbria, tested 44 healthy young adults aged 18 to 37.  Some were given sage oil capsules, while others were given a placebo. The study found that those who had consumed the sage oil consistently performed better at memory tests. While sage essential oils and capsules are not recommended for infants and children, do not be shy about using a few leaves in your favourite sauce, roast, or pasta dish.

 

Written for Mojomums by Emma Dexter – Mum of 2. Emma is a freelance writer who works from home writing about a whole host of subjects. She is particularly passionate about family matters being a mum to a 3 year old and an 8 month old.

 

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