Proper nutrition can increase attention span, response and concentration, problem solving, emotional physical co- ordination. Feeding your child’s brain starts at conception.
What a mother eats at conception and during pregnancy affects the child’s intelligence even after ten years.
Although at birth a child weighs on about 450 gms, his brain consumes and needs vast a vast quantity of nutrients including proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and essential fats. About 60% of the brain is made up of fats.
There are four specific kinds of fat which are found in the brain. They are AA, DHA, EPA AND DGLA. If during pregnancy there’s a deficiency of these in the mother’s diet, it can seriously impact the child’s intelligence and behaviour. The best source of DHA for babies is mother’s milk. If the mother is eating fish, flax seeds or milk and milk products like ice-cream or paneer the mother’s milk would naturally be rich in DHA. Breast –fed babies have higher IQs and later on do better at tests and have fewer health problems. The best fish for brain fats are sardines and tuna.
There is a link between an even blood sugar level and intelligence. The brain’s fuel, glucose is sugar derived from the carbohydrates we eat. If the child is fed the wrong kind of carbohydrates all the time like sweets and starchy foods the brain sugar levels go up and down. When the blood sugar suddenly dips, the child’s concentration wanders.
GOOD BRAIN FOOD
Feed your child vegetables, oily fish, nuts and seeds. The best food for good mental health and for controlling behavior are fruits and vegetables. Those children eating the most of both are twice as likely to be well behaved.
Eating dark green leafy vegetables, fish and water helps good academic scores.
Choose whole grains like dalia, dals, beans, rice, buckwheat, ragi.
Fresh vegetables like dark green leafy and root vegetables such as spinach, sweet potatoes, broccoli, green beans or capsicum(raw or lightly cooked) are good.
Fruit such as apples, pears, berries and citrus fruit and infrequently, bananas.
Combine protein foods with carbohydrates by giving cereals and fruit with nuts or seeds. Combine potatoes, bread, pasta or rice with protein rich foods such as fish, chicken, lentils, beans or eggs.
As fiber is important for slowing sugar absorption make sure your child is getting ample fiber fruit.
Avoid giving your child sugar or foods containing sugar .
Some nutritionists recommend a regular supplement of multivitamins to the child’s diet. Some are totally against it, as they believe artificial supplements reduce the body’s capacity to produce antibodies.