Remember when your mother reminded you to eat your fruits and vegetables? Well, she wasn’t joking when she said they’re good for you because fruits and vegetables actually have a lot of beneficial effects on not just your overall health, but also your brain. Here are some fruits and vegetables for a brain boost.
An apple a day keeps the doctor away.
Ask your child what he/she wants for a mid-afternoon snack, and they will probably scream for chocolates, sweets, or potato chips. Rarely, if not never, will they ask for apple slices or a bunch of grapes. Hand them an apple slice and they will probably sulk and walk away dejected; hand them a chocolate bar and they will lap it all up within a matter of seconds. Fruits, however, are packed with vitamins and minerals, like antioxidants, that are necessary for your child’s growth. Depending on the season, fruits can be a real sweet and colourful treat.
In fact, the darker the colour of the fruit, the more antioxidants it is packed with. Overflowing with antioxidants are berries – strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, etc. The high level of antioxidants can inhibit brain inflammation, and improve cognitive functions. Berries also contain a substance called flavonoids which bolsters the brain’s memory functions – very important for memorising facts for school exams.
Speaking of school, if junior finds it difficult to concentrate throughout the day in class, bananas are an easy takeaway breakfast that can be eaten anywhere. Bananas are loaded with potassium and when potassium is supplied to the brain, it provides the brain with a boost in energy to stay alert and invigorated throughout the day.
What about those moody mornings before your kid leaves for school? Kiwis are a great way to regulate the brain and improve mood. Research has shown that because of the copious amounts of vitamin C in kiwis, eating just two kiwis a day can improve your mood and give you a boost in energy.
Popeye knew what he was doing whenever he wolfed down a can of spinach. But place a plate of spinach in front of your child for dinner, and you’re likely to receive a scowl, a groan, and maybe an “ew”. Spinach is loaded with nutrients that are beneficial for your brain such as, iron, calcium, Vitamins E and K. These can protect your child’s brain from cognitive decline. Spinach also contains B-vitamins, like folate, which inhibit the accumulation of plaque and develop neurotransmitters which are essential for thinking and learning.
Thinking and learning also require the use of memory too. Broccoli contains a ton of Vitamin K which is important to improve memory. Research has also shown that because broccoli contains sulforaphane, which has anti-inflammatory functions, broccoli also encourages the growth and repair of brain tissue.
If you need some more variety, kale is also a great source of brain food for your child. Kale contains Omega 3s which are essential for brain function and development. They contain fatty acids which are important for the maintenance of day-to-day brain functions, and to safeguard the health of brain cell membranes.
Food for thought.
All of us need a variety of food to promote healthy bodily functions. As your children are at an age where their body is constantly changing, what they eat will be integral to their growth and overall well-being. Fruits and vegetables are a necessary part of a growing healthy diet and it is crucial to incorporate them into your child’s diet be it as a snack in their lunchboxes, or as part of a smoothie. Whatever it is, we hope your child gets the best nutrition possible.