The first few years of life set the foundation for brain health. Studiesshow that a nutritious diet in infancy is key to promoting a child’s long-term well-being, and the foods they eat can impact their cognition, temperament, motor skills and language development. As a nutritional psychiatrist, I’ve found that foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, folate, iron, iodine, zinc, choline and vitamins A, B12 and D support brain function, behavior and learning. Avoiding processed foods with added sugars is also key. Children can be picky, so parents will have to get creative. Here are six brain foods that will help your kids stay sharp and focused:
- Superfood Smoothies: Smoothies are a tasty way to incorporate lots of nutrients into your child’s diet — and even disguise foods that they might normally fight. You can even call it a “milkshake.” For the best superfood smoothie, add folate-rich and fiber-rich leafy greens like spinach or kale, along with chia seeds or walnuts for plant-based omega-3 fatty acids, fiber and protein. Then throw in an avocado for healthy fats, followed by antioxidant-rich blueberries. Adding plain, unsweetened yogurt can also increase your smoothie’s creaminess, protein levels and gut-healthy probiotics that boost mood.
Excerpted from CNBC