Your brain is directly affected by the foods you consume. Food can make you feel happy, energized, tired, or even unfocused . As your kids return to school, it’s important to help them eat healthily so they can have all the tools they need to succeed.
Research suggests that certain foods rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and omega-3s can help support a healthy brain. Let’s look at which brain healthy foods you can incorporate into their meals so your little one is ready to tackle school and succeed.
Eggs are more than a great protein source, they’re full of vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats. They have vitamins A, B2, B5, B12, and selenium as well as trace amounts of calcium, iron, potassium, zinc, manganese, vitamin E, folate and more. They’re an easy breakfast option too. A study looking at the impact of breakfast found that children who ate breakfast daily had a more complete nutritional profile than kids who did not eat breakfast. So, make sure your little ones don’t skip out on the “most important meal of the day.”
Leafy greens are loaded with vitamin K, vitamin E, folate, lutein and beta carotene. Vitamin K and beta carotene have been linked to supporting memory retention and healthy cognition. Vitamin E is an antioxidant, so it helps protect cells from damaging free radicals. These nutrients can be found in spinach, kale, collard greens and broccoli. If your child doesn’t find green veggies appetizing, try making smoothies and adding their favorite fruits too.
Fatty fish are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which support healthy brain function. They are also great sources of vitamin D and unsaturated fats, which may help protect the brain from mental decline and memory issues. Fish are also great for heart health. This brain healthy food includes options like salmon, cod, light tuna and sardines.
Nuts and seeds are great brain healthy foods because they’re great sources of healthy fats and protein. Though if you’re looking at which is the “reigning” nut, walnuts come at the top. This is because they have more antioxidants than other nuts and they come packed with omega-3s (specifically ALA). ALA is a type of omega-3 that is linked to healthy blood pressure. Walnuts and flaxseeds are both great sources of omega-3s.
Oatmeal is a versatile whole grain. The carbohydrates can give your child a quick energy boost, while the fiber in oatmeal keeps them full for longer and helps regulate blood sugar levels. This will help your child feel good all-around instead of having tummy issues or feeling hungry before lunch period, which may make it easier for them to focus in class. Oatmeal can be loaded with nuts and fruits for added benefits.
Helping your littles ones succeed is no easy task, but it can be so fulfilling. Healthy eating is just one way to help your child succeed in school, so be sure to look at other ways to help, like teaching them good sleep hygiene.
These brain healthy foods will help them get the essential nutrients they need to feel healthy. And when they feel healthy, well, it’s easy to feel happy. Don’t forget to nourish your body, too. Kids learn by example, and when they see you making healthy food choices that nourish you, they will learn to make those healthy choices too.