Do diets help children with ADHD?
Children’s brains grow and change dramatically during their formative years - and what they eat affects their brain development and cognitive skills. Here are some brain-healthy foods that can help your kids stay sharp while also benefiting their brain development:
Eggs - are rich in protein and contain important nutrients such as choline, omega-3 fats, zinc, and lutein, which help your kids concentrate better. Combine with whole-grain breads or tortillas for a satisfying meal.
Greek yogurt - fat is important for brain health. A full-fat yogurt keeps your child’s brain cell membranes flexible, efficient and active. Combine with fiber and colorful fruits like strawberries and blueberries for a healthy snack.
Greens - full of folate and vitamins, greens like spinach and kale lower odds of getting dementia later in life. You can either whip these greens into smoothies or add them to soups and omelets; or simply sauté them for dinner drizzled with a little olive oil - which helps your body absorb vitamins.
Purple cauliflower - low in sugar, high in fiber, and full of folate and vitamin B6 that manage mood, memory and attention, purple cauliflower also contains inflammation-fighting nutrients. Add as a component to stir-fries or roast and puree to make a nutritious dipping sauce for carrots and other veggies such as peppers, celery, and radishes.
Fish - cold-water oily fish are an excellent source of vitamin D and omega-3s, which protect your child’s brain against cognitive decline and memory loss. Salmon, tuna, and sardines are all rich in omega-3s. The simplest way to prepare fish is to grill, or roast it with herbs and spices.
Clean, lean meat - animal fat is where pesticides and antibiotics accumulate, which can contribute to brain fog. For better behavior and focus in your child, choose lean, grass-fed meats free of artificial ingredients, dyes, flavoring, preservatives and sweeteners.
Nuts and seeds - packed with protein, essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals, nuts and seeds boost your child’s mood and keep his or her nervous system working well. To get the full benefits of seeds, spread sunflower seed butter - rich in folate, vitamin E, and selenium - on a whole-grain cracker or bread. Or make pesto by combining nuts with olive oil and dark leafy greens to make a healthy sauce with whole-grain pasta. You can also simply lightly sauté them in olive oil and add to salads.
Oatmeal - protein- and fiber-rich oatmeal helps keep your child’s heart and brain arteries clear. In one study, kids who consumed sweetened oatmeal performed better on memory-related tasks than those who ate sugary cereal. For extra flavor, add cinnamon - which has been shown to protect brain cells.
Apples and plums - satisfy your child’s sweet tooth and also contain quercetin, an antioxidant that fights cognitive decline. Always buy organic and wash well.
Turmeric - the compound curcumin in turmeric can actually help your child’s brain grow. In fact, studies show curcumin fights inflammation and blocks Alzheimer's plaque formation. Visit an Indian restaurant or experiment with Indian recipes.
Another blog post that might be of interest to you: Brain Foods: How To Concentrate Better