0 Comments July 30, 2014Food Benefits

As fast as children whiz from classroom to activity to home and back again, their brains are just as actively and dramatically growing and changing. “These years are critical for brain development, and what they eat affects focus and cognitive skills,” psychiatrist Drew Ramsey, MD, coauthor of The Happiness Diet, says. Food is one of many factors that affect a child’s brain development.

The following 10 foods that can help kids stay sharp all day long, and affect brain development well into the future.


 1. Eggs

 Eating a high-nutrient protein like eggs (which have nutrients including choline, omega-3s, zinc, and lutein) will help kids concentrate, Beth Saltz, RD, says.

 How to Serve It:  Fold scrambled eggs into a whole-grain tortilla for a filling breakfast or late-afternoon snack. “The protein-carb combo tides kids over until the next meal with no sugar-induced energy crash,” Saltz says.

 2. Greek Yogurt

Fat is important to brain health, says Laura Lagano, RD. A full-fat Greek yogurt (which has more protein that other yogurts) can help keep brain cell membranes flexible, helping them to send and receive information.

How to Serve It: Pack Greek yogurt in lunch with some fun mix-ins: cereal with at least 3 grams of fiber and blueberries for a dose of nutrients called polyphenols. Or add a few dark chocolate chips. Polyphenols in cocoa are thought to keep the mind sharp by hiking brain blood flow.

3. Greens

Full of folate and vitamins, spinach and kale are part of a healthy diet linked to lower odds of getting dementia later in life. “Kale contains sulforaphane, a molecule that has detoxifying abilities, and diindolylmethane, which helps new brain cells grow,” says Ramsey, coauthor of 50 Shades of Kale.

How to Serve It:

  • Whip spinach into smoothies for snack time.
  • Add it to omelets.
  • Saute it at dinner drizzled with olive oil (the dash of fat helps your body absorb vitamins).
  • Make chips out of kale: Cut kale from stems/ribs, drizzle with olive oil and a bit of salt, and bake.

4. Purple Cauliflower

Low in sugar, high in fiber, and full of folate and B6 that help regulate mood, memory, and attention, purple cauliflower also delivers inflammation-fighting nutrients called anthocyanins.

How to Serve It: Roast and puree cauliflower to make a nutritious dipping sauce for carrots and other veggies such as peppers, celery, and radishes.

5. Fish

Naturally fatty fish are a good source of vitamin D and omega-3s, which protect the brain against cognitive decline and memory loss. Salmon, tuna, and sardines are all rich in omega-3s. 

“The more omega-3s we can get to the brain, the better it will function and the better kids will be able to focus,” says Bonnie Taub-Dix, RD, author of Read It Before You Eat It.

How to Serve It: Grill it, roast it, or add it to a salad or sandwich.  

6. “Clean” Meat

“Animal fat is where pesticides and antibiotics are stored. A high toxic load can contribute to brain fog,” Lagano says. For better behavior and focus, choose meats (and other foods) that are free of artificial ingredients, dyes, flavoring, preservatives, and sweeteners.

How to Serve It: Ditch deli sandwich meat for preservative-free roast beef left over from last night’s “clean” dinner.

7. Nuts and Seeds

Packed with protein, essential fatty acids, and vitamins and minerals, nuts and seeds may boost mood and keep your nervous system happy. 

How to Serve It: Spread sunflower seed butter — rich in folate, vitamin E, and selenium — on a whole-grain cracker or bread. Or make pesto: Nuts combined with olive oil and dark leafy greens make a healthful sauce for whole-grain pasta.

8. Oatmeal

Protein- and fiber-rich oatmeal helps keep heart and brain arteries clear. In one study, kids who ate sweetened oatmeal did better on memory-related academic tasks than those who ate a sugary cereal.  

How to Serve It: Add cinnamon. Compounds in the spice may protect brain cells, preliminary research shows.

9. Apples and Plums

Kids often crave sweets, especially when they’re feeling sluggish. Apples and plums are lunchbox-friendly and contain quercetin, an antioxidant that may fight cognitive decline, according to lab studies. 

How to Serve It: The good stuff is often in the skin of fruit, so buy organic and wash well.

10. Turmeric

“The curcumin in turmeric can actually make the brain grow,” Ramsey says. He says studies show curcumin fights inflammation and blocks Alzheimer’s plaque formation.

How to Serve It: Visit an Indian restaurant or experiment with Indian recipes. Even if your child just eats the puri (fried bread), they’ll likely get some curcumin benefits and be primed to be more adventurous eaters.  



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Vitamin Supplements

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As with all Nordic Naturals products, Nordic Gummies are in the natural triglyceride form for optimal absorption. Our patented “nitrogen processing” ensures that Nordic Gummies are absolutely pure and fresh. The fish oils used in Nordic Naturals products surpass all major national and international standards for purity and freshness. Every batch is third-party tested to guarantee exceptional freshness and that it has been purified of heavy metals and environmental toxins.


By Anne Krueger
WebMD Feature
Reviewed by Patricia Quinn, MD



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