Eating the right foods not only significantly improves children’s memory, but also helps them focus better. In their formative years, little ones have higher energy requirements considering their active lifestyle at school, the playground, and jumping around at home. They are also at a stage where their brains are still developing rapidly, and ignoring good nutrition can have a lasting impact on various aspects of their physical and mental health. Eating foods rich in various nutrients could help them keep lifestyle diseases at bay and promote better memory, concentration and growth in them. (Also Read: Super Unhealthy Foods You Should Stop Giving Your Kids)
According to UNICEF, almost 2 in 3 children between six months and two years of age do not receive food to support their rapidly growing bodies and brains, putting them at risk for poor brain development, weak learning, low immunity, increased infections and , in many cases, death.
“Nutrition is very important for good health and better brain development. Better nutrition is linked to better health of babies, children and mothers, stronger immune systems, safer pregnancies and births, lower risk of lifestyle disorders of life (such as diabetes and obesity) and longevity. Healthy children with proper nutrition are more productive and have better memory power,” says Priscilla Marian, Cloudnine Group of Hospitals, Kalyaninagar, Pune.
Here are some memory-boosting superfoods for kids suggested by Marian:
1. Green leafy vegetables
All green leafy vegetables such as spinach, fenugreek leaves, coriander leaves, mustard greens, moringa leaves, beet greens, etc. They are a rich source of vitamins, antioxidants, minerals and dietary fiber. Vitamin A, B, E, K and C along with beta-carotene and folate help in proper brain development, mostly useful in younger children to support their future health as well. These superfoods aid in proper intestinal development because they are high in fiber and low in fat which aids in proper absorption of all nutrients to support healthy development. The folate content in vegetables is known to have good effects on the brain of growing children.
How to include in the diet: Dishes like corn chaat with spinach, methi parathas, thepla with beet greens, moringa leaf soup, sarso ka saag, coriander mint chutney, etc. they can be healthy options for children to consume daily with innovative variations.
2. Eggs and fish
The human brain is made up of fats such as omega-3 fatty acid and DHA, which is mainly found in egg yolks and fish such as salmon, sardines, anchovies, etc. Eggs and fish are rich in protein, vitamin B6, B12 and D. It helps increase good cholesterol, maintain vision and speed up metabolism. These superfoods build up brain and nerve cells, thus improving learning power and memory. Researchers suggest that if these superfoods are insufficiently consumed, they can lead to memory loss, poor decision-making power and, to some extent, depression.
How to include in the diet: Kids can savor dishes like vegetable egg pancakes, egg rolls, fish frankies, salmon rice rolls, fish cutlets, scrambled eggs, etc. at least four times a week.
Oatmeal is primarily consumed as a porridge that is loaded with dietary fiber, has a low glycemic index, and has healthy cholesterol-lowering properties. Therefore, it is usually eaten for breakfast to meet daily energy needs, especially by children. It offers a constant supply of energy for the body and brain and keeps children mentally alert. It reduces constipation, promotes healthy bacteria in the gut, helps maintain body weight, and relieves itching and skin irritation. Oatmeal is known to be a good food choice before exams for a sustained release of energy.
Children generally don’t like the taste of oatmeal, but their taste can be developed by incorporating some innovative ingredients.
How to include in the diet: Some of the recipes to try are Chocolate Oatmeal Bar, Oatmeal Banana Smoothie, Oatmeal Veggie Upma, Oatmeal Pancakes and Oatmeal Mushroom Soup, Cream of Oatmeal Soup and Oatmeal Pie. oats and nuts that can help improve oat intake in children.
Fruits like blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, and red cherries are excellent sources of anthocyanins and other flavonoids that support memory function. These are rich in antioxidants, fibers and fight inflammation. The vitamin C present in it improves the skin and helps in good absorption of iron. Berries are also high in calcium, potassium, phosphorus, zinc, and magnesium that help maintain the strength and elasticity of bones and joints. Berries are delicious and enjoyed by children and therefore should be included daily in their diet to complete nutrient requirements and improve brain health.
How to include in the diet: Recipes like strawberry smoothies, blueberry smoothies, mixed berry punch, mixed fruit custard can be some of the delights to enjoy in the daily diet of the little ones.
Nuts and seeds
Children are mostly active and require instant energy in small intervals. Nuts, seeds, and dried fruits are high in healthy fats, various minerals, and vitamins. Nuts that also resemble a brain help improve memory by providing omega-3 fatty acids.
Also, all nuts such as peanuts, almonds, pistachios and cashews contain nutrients that help provide instant and sustained energy to the brain for better function. All seeds such as pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, sunflower seeds, and flax seeds are rich in fiber, help nourish the skin, and have an anti-inflammatory effect that improves overall health and mood. development of children’s cognitive abilities.
How to include in the diet: All nuts and dried fruit can be mixed into smoothies, shakes, pancakes, laddoos, etc. and the edible seeds can be incorporated into children’s daily dietary preparation.
“Growing children’s bodies will always need such nutrients that not only stimulate the brain, but help in general development and good health. Therefore, it is always suggested that they maintain a balance in all the foods they eat on a daily basis, maintaining adequate time between meals, keeping them well hydrated and having a happy atmosphere at home so that children grow and learn in a better way”, concludes the nutritionist.
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