With end of year examinations in full swing, I thought I would focus on foods that children can eat that support good brain function. Now, it is important to remember that these are not magical foods and will not give your child any super powers during their exams (only hard word and studying can do that), but research has shown that these foods promote cognitive abilities ad prevent its decline in later life.
So, what are those foods?
- Fish. Fatty fish like salmon, sardines and mackerel are excellent sources of omega-3, an essential fatty acid that supports and promotes good cognitive health and brain function. Coincidently, these fish come canned, which can greatly lower their costs. As with tuna, you can make salmon sandwiches or salmon ‘burgers’ to make it more appealing to children.
- Whole grains. One of the best ways to ensure your child gets good grades is to ensure he stays awake and focused during the day. The best way to do this is to provide the brain with a steady source of carbohydrates which when broken down in the body, gives glucose. Foods such as oatmeal, whole wheat breads and pastas are excellent sources of whole grains and carbohydrates.
- Nuts and nut butters. Nuts have longed been known for their good supply of protein, but they also provide good amounts of that fatty acid we spoke about earlier—omega-3. Nuts like walnuts are a pretty good source of the fatty acid while peanuts are high in Vitamin E, another nutrient that helps to prevent cognitive decline as we age. Children usually like peanut butter, which is a great way they can get the protein and the Vitamin E. Just be sure you look for peanut butter, or any other type of nut butter, that does not have any hydrogenated oils.
- Chocolate. I know many parents are probably saying, ‘yes, something my child would like to eat!’ However, not all chocolate are created equally; dark chocolate is the one that has all the antioxidant properties that helps with brain function because the antioxidants protect the brain from damage. But, moderation is still the order of the day.