23 Feb 2018
Eating well doesn’t just boost strength – the nutrients in food are also excellent fuel for the brain. Scientists in the US have discovered that eating a handful of walnuts a day can help improve memory. In tests conducted to observe the effects of dietary influence on brain processes, adults who ate 13g of walnuts every day performed significantly better than those who didn’t, and so walnuts have been added to the growing list of foods for geniuses. But what other snacks can make one smarter? Here’s a few of the foods your child should eat to help strengthen his brain.
Nuts like walnuts, almonds, pistachios, cashews or seeds contain vitamin E, may help prevent the deterioration of brain activity as one gets older, in other words, they keep your child really sharp in his thinking as he grows. However, nuts should not be consumed in too large quantities, because they are high in calories. Your child needs only about a (child’s) palmful of them a day. You might also want to go for the unsalted versions of the nuts, and add them to fruits or yoghurt for some additional flavour.
Researchers have found that blueberries don’t just enhance memory – they can actually reverse memory loss. A study conducted in the United States found that a small amount of blueberries eaten every day resulted in a reversal of nerve cell damage in rodents. After eating their daily dose of berries, the rodents picked things up faster, had better memory and had improved motor skills. The simple blueberry is truly a beneficial supplement for your child’s brain cells!
The brain is like all other organs in your body and depends on a steady flow of energy to perform well. Our focusing skills are linked to the brain’s supply of glucose. Whole grains have a low GI (glycaemic index), and therefore they are a healthy brain food, as they intermittently release glucose into the bloodstream. Other carbohydrates such as white rice and pasta, are more dangerous sources of glucose, as they will cause energy levels to climb and then crash, leaving one’s brain feeling tired – something we all know as “food coma.” Whole grains such as oatmeal, whole-grain breads, and brown rice can also help in preventing heart disease. Every organ in the body is dependent on the flow of blood. If you promote heart health, you’re promoting good flow of blood to every organ, including the brain. Experts suggest including half a cup of whole-grain cereal, 1 slice of bread two to three times, or 2 tablespoons of wheat germ, in your child’s diet each day.
Who says that healthy food can’t be yummy? Cocoa can improve fluency in speech and mental processing functions in elderly people, meaning that it might be even more effective in children. Eating some dark chocolate daily has also been found to improve blood flow to the brain. So, don’t feel guilty about giving your child that chocolate bar – his brain will thank you later!
Pomegranate juice offers powerful antioxidant benefits, which protect the brain from the damage caused by free radicals (waste products from various chemical reactions). You can eat the fruit itself but as it has many seeds, it might not be as enjoyable. Citrus fruits and colourful vegetables are also high on the list of health super foods because of their antioxidant properties — the more colourful, the better. Because pomegranate juice has added sugar you don’t want to go overboard, dieticians recommend approximately 2 ounces a day, diluted with water.
The foods listed above are easily available at your nearest supermarkets, and can be convenient additions to your child’s daily diet, or simply as snacks to bring along in a small Ziplock bag everywhere they go. Placing a snack jar within arm’s reach, filled with these brain boosters, would also prevent the temptation for your child to turn to unhealthy snacks. Try cultivating this healthy habit today – your child will thank you for it!