Just like body, brain too needs nutrients for development. Children’s brain develops rapidly from birth to age five and during these years, it’s necessary to provide the right nutrients required to boost their brain’s growth. As a parent, you can help your child to make healthy food choices to develop their positive relationship with food. Once this is done, kids benefit a lifetime.
The early years of child’s life are very important for his/her future growth and development in terms of both physical as well as mental. Brain development in kids is influenced by many factors. In addition to genes, some important factors are nutrition taken during pregnancy, encounter with toxins or infections at an early age, experience with people and exposure to the world around them. Children are ready to learn from they moment their umbilical cord is cut. They depend upon parents, family members to help them develop skills to become more and more independent and learned. Lastly, in combination with others, food too is a key factor behind brain development.
Before going further, to know in detail about foods good for brain, it is important to understand the nutrients that work together to make them a brain food. Key nutrients in brain foods are:
Foods rich in above nutrients which can support memory, cognition and overall brain health among kids:
Green veggies are brain’s favorite food. The health benefits attached with them are not only for brain but also eyes (vitamin A), immunity (vitamin C, E), energy (vitamin B) and bones (Vitamin K). Vegetables like spinach, cabbage, mint and kale contributes to brain health as they are rich in vitamin Bs, iron and antioxidants that helps in the growth of new cells and aids in sharp thinking.
The daily vitamin C requirements of a kid’s body can be fulfilled by the intake of citrus fruits in natural form. Vitamin C has powerful antioxidant that helps fight off free radicals (what are free radicals?) which can damage brain cells. Vitamin C also supports brain health in your kids growing age by protecting it against cell damage. Other than oranges, kiwi, tomatoes, and strawberries are also some of the rich sources of vitamin C.
NUTS AND SEEDS
All the nuts like almonds, walnut, pista, cashew, brazil nut, hazel nuts, and Pine nuts are rich in vitamin E and helps in boosting memory. They are also antioxidants which protect against cell damage. Walnuts are rich in omega 3 fatty acid is a valuable substance for brain function, memory and thinking abilities. This fatty acid also encourages the cognitive functions. Apart from nuts seeds like flex, chia, melon, sesame and pumpkins also contain powerful antioxidants like vitamin E that protect the brain from free radical damage.
KIDNEY BEANS (Rajma)
Beans are rich in vitamin B1, which act positively to improve memory and enhance cognitive function. Beans encourages the function of compound called acetylcholine which is a neuron transmitter that allows signal to be transmitted through the brain and nerves. Kidney beans contain higher amount of omega3 fatty acids as compare to other beans, which are important for brain’s growth and function.
The presence of folate (vitamin B9) in chickpeas is not only good for efficient brain development, but also good for smooth functioning of nervous system. Chickpeas are nutritionally high in good fats (like linoleic and oleic) which are important for brain development.
APPLE AND PLUMS
Loaded with lots of nutrients, apple and plums helps in brain development in kids and fight cognitive declines. These fruits are packed with proteins, carbs, vitamins, choline, iron, selenium and antioxidants required for brain development and growth.
Sweet potato contains component (choline and manganese) that helps a kid’s brain to function at its best. Choline is an essential nutrient for brain growth development. The anthocyanin present in purple sweet potato may also have memory enhancing properties.
Pure cocoa powder (unsweetened) contains brain boosting components as it is packed with large number of antioxidants molecule, the main is epicatechin helpful to improve cognition in studies.
Loaded with folate (vitamin B9) and other B vitamins, Lentil has a reputation for strengthening brain power. The high fiber contents of lentils is a key component in keeping your brain in optimal shape.
The secret to Honey’s brain booster potential is an antioxidant called pinocembrin. This antioxidant improves brain function and prevents cellular damage within brain. It also has anti- inflammatory properties. Honey helps absorb calcium, which is used by brain in thought and decision making process.
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Recipe for Chocolate seed cake (eggless)
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¼ baking powder
- ½ cup cocoa powder
- 2 tbsp ghee or unsalted butter or oil of choice
- jaggery powder or sweetener (as per taste)
- ½ cup yogurt
- ¼ tsp vanila essense (optional)
- 2 handful melon seeds
- Milk to make batter consistency
- Mix all well. Preheat oven for 5 min at 200 celsius. Pour in a baking pan and bake for 20-25 min. Once done, let it cool. Spread melted dark chocolate on top. Refrigerate for some time for the chocolate to harden a bit. Serve!