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The Secrets to Raising a Smarter Child
- By Inderbir Sandhu, Ph.D


Food for the Brain: Helping Your Child to be Smarter

By Andrew Loh

It is back to school and you are on your toes to help your child survive the daily routines of school. Most parents are so efficient in helping their children get ready for the daily chores of the classroom like books, papers, craft tools and pencils. But, they tend to forget other equally important and critical things like healthy and nutritious food supplements that ensure brain and physical development. Eating proper food will help your kid grow normally with a healthy and disease-free lifestyle. Good and healthy foods will also ensure that your kids will remain active and intelligent throughout their life. Available research findings suggest that children who eat a nutritious diet tend to perform better at school and in their career, when compared to those who are malnourished and nutrition deficient.

Nutrition experts and researchers believe that certain food items and nutritional ingredients can really enhance your child's brain development and cognitive functions. These are the brain foods of the century that almost all experts are trying to promote and propagate among health conscious parents of the world. All parents are so much concerned about the health of their children that they pack big and fact lunch boxes in the school bags. But, in many cases the quality of lunch and snacks that they pack seem to be non-nutritious and junk in their nature. With all those fatty food and processed junk eatables, segregating nutritious food from junk is becoming increasingly difficult and strenuous for most of the parents.

However, there is good news too! There are a number of brain foods available in the grocery store near your home that can help your child grow normally, improve concentration, enhance attention and focus, increase academic performance and normalize brain functions. Good nutrition is the cornerstone for optimized academic performance and it is also essential for building and maintaining normal body organs as well as sturdy bones.

Foods for the brain help your child develop and organize his or her life in an efficient way. For optimum health and brain power, your child's daily diet should contain the right amounts of certain critical nutrients. Balance, distribution and variety are the important keys of nutritious meal, and a perceived deficiency in just one important nutrient can seriously impair your child's ability to perform well in classroom and in professional life.

The first and the foremost parameter of your child's meal is the biologically available energy resources that help cells in the body produce more energy and vitality. Researchers suggest that both complex and simple sugars should form an important component of the diet. For example, almost all fruits provide copious amounts of energy in the form of fructose and simple sucrose. A dash of fresh fruit pieces in your child's lunch box will not only keep your child energetic throughout the day, but also assist in develop increased concentration level, as well as attention span.

Tip: Never ever allow your child to eat too much of refined and sugary food because of their pronounced ill effects like dizziness, irritability and mood swings.

Mysterious Amino Acids: Most of the amino acids have to be supplied by the diet and deficiency in even one of the important amino acids can impair a number of body functions. A complete protein rich diet is an efficient plan that can enhance your child's basic building blocks of the brain like neuro-transmitters and neuro-chemicals, which are brain's messengers in transporting signals from the brain cells to different parts of the body. Amino acids like tyrosine, largely found in fish, dairy products, eggs, oats and turkey, can enhance mood and increase mental alertness, while another critical amino acid, phenylalanine, can regulate blood glucose levels and maintain memory power and intricate mental processes.

Excellent fat resources: Dietary fat is perhaps the most important component in your child's diet, and the type and quality of fat largely influence the degree and level of brain development and ability to think, store and retrieve memories and events. Useful fat additives like Omega-3 fats are known to boost brain development in children and help stop decline in the activities of the brain. Fish oils, eggs, dry fruits and seeds are rich depositories of Omega-3 fatty acids.

Beneficial vitamins and minerals: Brain functions in your child is substantially enhanced or influenced by a number of essential vitamins and minerals. Essential vitamins and critical minerals are also very crucial for a number of other issues like production of metal energy, enhancing immune system, and boost nervous system functions.
Brain foods are always rich in the following nutrients and associated additives:

  1. Basic sugars like sucrose and fructose. Example- Oranges, Avocado, Berries, Apricots, Apples and Grapes.

  2. Biologically available proteins. Poultry meat, sea foods like cods, sardines, mackerels, shrimps and shell fishes, Eggs, Turkey and Red meat.

  3. Essential fats: Soybean oil, corn oil, Omega-3 fats generated by some fishes, dairy products, yogurt, limited quantities of cheese, Cocoa, Tuna.

  4. Fiber: Corn, Nuts, Seeds, Green leaves, Vegetables like Spinach and Broccoli and Carrots.

  5. Vitamins and Minerals: Nuts, Seeds, fresh fruits and vegetables, Berries, Brown Rice, Legumes, Legumes, Fishes and Green vegetables.


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