The best foods to boost children’s concentration
With exam season approaching, it’s a great time to consider the kind of nutrition your child is getting. We look at which foods will boost their brain health and help them concentrate.
Kids’ wellbeing is often at the forefront of parents’ minds. Arguably the most impactful action we can take to keep our little ones healthy is to re-examine the food we’re giving them. Including nutritious options will help children thrive, both physically and mentally.
While eating healthy foods to maintain a healthy body is common knowledge, many people often overlook the huge benefits that a great diet will have on your little one’s brain growth and function.
There are specific nutrients that are good to include so that your child’s brain is getting exactly what it needs, and this is particularly relevant during exam season. Let’s take a look at seven different foods that you should consider.
Fish might just be the best brain food of all, mainly because of the presence of healthy omega-3 fatty acids. These omega-3s help all the cells in kids’ bodies function as they should. Not only do they contribute to a healthy brain, a lack of omega-3s can negatively affect your child’s cognitive function. Fish also contains zinc and iodine, both of which are important for brain development.
Studies have shown that children who regularly consume seafood perform better in school and in exams. One danger to be aware of is the presence of pollutants in some seafood. Mercury can be found in tuna, so frequent consumption of tuna should be avoided. Instead, try options like salmon or prawns.
Leafy green vegetables
Leafy greens are dreaded by many children but their benefits are unquestionable. Kale and spinach contain vitamin E and vitamin K1, along with other brain-friendly compounds. Leafy green vegetables are a great source of carotenoids – helpful antioxidants that boost your child’s brain function. Along with this, they will look after little ones’ eye health, immune system and protect them from disease. Aim to include a handful of leafy greens as often as possible, despite any potential complaints!
The humble egg is packed with a plethora of nutritional goodness. Unlike the leafy green vegetables above, eggs go down a treat with many children – whether they’re scrambled, fried, boiled or poached. Eggs contain vitamin B12, protein and choline among other nutrients. Research has shown that the latter is an amazing nutrient for supporting brain development and protecting against nerve cell damage, particularly in the first few years of a child’s life. Just two eggs will fulfil the recommended daily amount of choline for children under nine years of age.
Oranges are another delicious treat loved by many children. They’re full of flavonoids, which increase nerve function and blood flow to the brain, potentially leading to increased cognitive function. Oranges are also one of the best sources of vitamin C, which is necessary for brain development and the production of neurotransmitters. Having an adequate amount of vitamin C has been linked with an improved ability to pay attention and concentrate, as well as a better memory. An orange in your child’s lunchbox will really help them to get the most out of their school day.
Nuts and seeds
Speaking of handy lunchtime snacks, nuts and seeds are a wonderful option. A strong source of vitamin E, iron and thiamine, they’re excellent for your child’s brain health. Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant and thiamine helps the brain to get energy from glucose. Nuts and seeds are a very easy way to include the protein and healthy fats that are crucial for all growing children. Nut butters, such as peanut butter or almond butter, are another delicious way to fuel your child this exam season.
Not only are they brimming with flavour, berries contain anthocyanins. These compounds are known to have positive effects on the health of your little one’s brain. They aid learning and recall ability, help to produce nerve cells, and have impressive anti-inflammatory capabilities. Many studies have shown that consuming berries has a positive effect on cognitive function and academic performance in children. Strawberries and blueberries are very simple to add into your child’s diet. Some chopped strawberries on their morning cereal or a handful of blueberries alongside their lunch will ensure they’re accessing the brain-boosting benefits berries have to offer.
Last, but by no means least, on this list of brain-boosting foods is natural yoghurt. Giving your little one some unsweetened natural yoghurt is a brilliant way to look after their cognitive health. It contains iodine which is a key contributor to brain development and function. A serving of yoghurt with their normal breakfast will ensure a balanced meal and a very nutritious start to the day!
HEALTH IS WEALTH
The end of the school year, and the exams that come with it, can be a very stressful and mentally taxing experience for children. Adding these brain-friendly superfoods into your child’s weekly meals will undoubtedly aid their concentration and cognitive function, giving them the edge to finish out the term with a flourish!