Get your kids’ brains in tip-top shape with these cognitive-powering foods.
Math tests, history homework, and the dreaded SATs — with the school season in full gear, it’s important that our kids’ brains are firing on all cylinders so that they can succeed at all of their academic challenges. While making sure they’re well rested, driving them to their tutors, and forcing them to get their homework done before dinner may be some of your best-kept strategies before, you might be surprised to learn that the kitchen is another place you can be improving your child’s academic prowess.
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Delicious, all-natural foods not only boost your child’s immune system and help them stay strong and healthy, but they can also fuel the brain and help them make the honor roll at school. Nutrients such as vitamin B6, omega-3 fatty acids, and folic acid are imperative for cognitive health, and there are many foods that your child likes to eat that are rich in them.
For the past 25 years, optimal health has been a high priority for Earthbound Farms, which supplies the country with fresh and organic produce that will fuel bodies and brains. Because the back-to-school season and children’s health are as important to the people at Earthbound as they are to the editors at The Daily Meal, they introduced us to nationally recognized nutrition expert and mother of two, Frances Largeman-Roth. With her book “Eating in Color: Delicious, Healthy Recipes for You and Your Family“ due out early next year, Largeman-Roth is well-versed in what kinds of foods your children should be eating, especially ones that improve optimal function at school.
From fruits and vegetables to protein, Largeman-Roth provided us with 10 brain-boosting foods that are essential to your child’s back-to-school diet. Whether it’s incorporating more blueberries at breakfast, a kale salad for lunch, or — believe it or not — some extra chocolate for dessert, Largeman-Roth has easy and convenient suggestions that you can incorporate into your child’s diet so that they can be an A+ student this year.
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Everyone’s favorite fall fruit contains quercetin, which appears to protect brain neurons from oxidative damage, a known cause of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. The pectin in apple peel has also been found to boost immunity. If your child is too sick to go to school, they can’t learn, so make sure they’re getting their apple every day.
Like whole grains, the fiber in beans and legumes also helps stabilize blood sugar, keeping them satiated and focused throughout the day. Even if your kids turn up their noses at beans, you can probably get them to eat hummus or a bean dip.
These sweet little berries contain anthocyanins, which are promising for helping to reverse age-related declines in cognitive and motor function. They have also been found to help improve memory for all ages, which is essential for learning.
“Three cheers for an easy win,” says Largeman-Roth, because chocolate contains flavanols and has been found to help keep the brain sharp. Of course, the sugar in chocolate might make your child a bit too “energetic,” so try using unsweetened cocoa in recipes, she says.
While we’re often cutting out the yolk for diet reasons, it contains the most nutrients in the egg, so don’t throw it out when feeding your child. The yolk contains large amounts of choline, which plays a role in the development of the hippocampus, the memory center of the brain. Does your child hate eggs? Cauliflower, pork chops, and soybeans also contain choline.
The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.