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Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Brain Foods for Kids


It’s back-to-school time, and you’re headed to buy school supplies and filling up the fridge for lunches and snacks. Do you know what foods will really boost your child’s brain power?  Studies have found that certain “brain foods” can help boost a child’s brain growth and improve brain function, memory and concentration. Diets rich in fruits, vegetables, healthy proteins and whole grains will keep kids’ brains and bodies healthy.  Below are some of the best foods to strengthen your kid’s brain and help them focus this upcoming school year.


1. Oatmeal for breakfast

Oats are one of the most familiar hot cereals for kids and are a very nutritious “grain for the brain.”  Loaded with fiber, oats keep a child’s brain fed all morning.  Oats are also a good source of E and B-vitamins, potassium and zinc — which make the body and brain function at full capacity.


2. Nuts and flaxseed for smarts

Nuts, such as walnuts, almonds or flaxseed, are great sources of Omega-3 fatty acids.  DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) is one of those Omega-3 fatty acids, and is the primary structural component of brain tissue.  It stands to reason that a deficiency of DHA in a child’s diet could translate into a deficiency in brain function.



3. Strawberries and blueberries for concentration

Fruits and vegetables, which are high in antioxidants, have been linked to improved memory and brain function.  Studies have shown that strawberries and blueberries are especially effective in improving coordination, concentration and short-term memory.


4. Dried fruit keep to kids alert

Dried fruit is high in iron, which improves mental alertness and energy levels.  A great suggestion for parents is to pack some trail mix containing raisins and dried cherries as an addition to their child’s lunch.





5. Yogurt enhances learning

Studies show that children eating high-calcium foods, such as yogurt, for breakfast have enhanced behavior and learning ability.  Calcium also helps strengthen bones.


6. Eggs for remembering

Eggs are one of the few sources of choline that boosts memory and brainpower, and are rich in protein that can provide energy to help the brain stay alert longer.  Choline is essential for brain development in children.

Kids’ brains are high-performance engines.  If we want our children to excel in school, we as parents need to provide them with clean, high-quality fuel.  For children, this means a balanced diet of delicious whole foods, grown without toxic pesticides, and prepared in a healthy manner that preserves nutrients.

You may ask, what are the worst foods for the brain?  The answer: anything that is very high in refined sugars and carbohydrates.  According to The Journal of Pediatrics, there is a more pronounced response to a glucose overload in children than in adults, resulting in altered thinking, irritability and hyperactivity.  The problem with highly refined sugars and carbohydrates is that they quickly enter the bloodstream and produce more rapid fluctuations in blood glucose levels.  If the brain doesn’t get its steady fuel supply, kids’ behavior and learning could become more erratic.

Biggest brain drains:

* Sugary cereals

* Juices and drinks with high fructose corn syrup

* White bread


Dr. Silverman is a licensed psychologist who specializes in helping children, adolescents and adults in both the diagnosis and treatment of attention deficit disorder, learning disorders, autism, anxiety, depression and other clinical and behavioral disorders.  He is the founder of the Center for Attention Deficit and Learning Disorders and the Center for Peak Performance in Scottsdale. www.centerforadd-az.com, www.peakperformanceaz.com


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