In an effort to improve general health and wellbeing at a time when the world is becoming busier and more technologically dependent, it is important to not only exercise but to maintain good eating habits. ‘Brain food’ is typically associated with those foods that assist in brain development and function. More and more emphasis is being placed on smart choices for children’s lunchboxes. Below you will find some very useful information on some initiatives that you may like to consider, if you have not already. I have also included a recipe that may be of interest.
Can diet be modified to boost cognitive function? Absolutely. In addition, the benefits of ‘brain food’ are not just significant, they are mouth-watering.
It has long been claimed that eating fish is good for the brain. Science has now proven, however, that without omega-3, a fatty acid, brains simply cannot function healthily. There is strong evidence to suggest it was the omega-3 in fish, which triggered the massive growth of the human brain thousands of years ago.
There are a number of other 'brain foods', which could boost your child’s cognitive function. Choline, a fatty acid found in eggs, improves memory and learning. Whole grains provide copious amounts of the steady source of glucose needed by the immature brain. Blueberry fruits are rich in antioxidants, which protect brain cells from damage caused by free radicals and support developing brains by allowing them to 'breathe'. These same antioxidants can also slow cognitive decline as people reach old age. Lastly, the minerals fundamental to making it all possible, such as magnesium, zinc and selenium, are found in rich supply in avocados, seeds and nuts.
Start the day on track
Research has consistently shown that students who eat breakfast perform better at school, not just socially and emotionally, but academically as well. For parents and guardians, breakfast is an opportunity to introduce some beneficial foods to children. Good 'brain-food' breakfasts include scrambled or fried eggs with wholemeal toast, or a bowl of oats served with blueberries and sprinkled with cinnamon. If nuts are not an option, then try muesli. Just a handful of walnuts or Brazil nuts will provide enough omega-3 for a whole day of optimal brain processing. When there is simply no time for breakfast, a serving of nuts and a sliced orange make an ideal portable alternative.
Eat a healthy lunch
Tins or sachets of salmon are ideal for the lunchbox. To maximise a child’s ‘brain food’ intake, parents or guardians can add a steamed corn cob or some raw vegetables, such as carrot sticks, snow peas, capsicum and beetroot slices. Include as many colours as you can in order to achieve a balance of nutrients.
Four Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies
Head of Health and Physical Education Faculty