Of course we all desire to have intelligent children who almost always top their class. While intelligence is a function of genetic makeup, good nutrition from pregnancy onwards plays an important role in brain health. Through extensive research, I discovered 10 superb brain foods that any mum should keep top of mind to boost health and intelligence. Despite not being an expert on brain matter, most of these foods are safe and readily available in the market or supermarkets. You can also prepare them in interesting ways as part of your children’s daily meal routine. If in doubt, please speak to a nutritionist or medical doctor concerning nutritional needs that suit your child’s health and condition.
Super nutrient: Vitamin A
Vitamin A helps with development of your child’s central nervous system(CNS). Sweet potatoes with yellow/ orange flesh have a higher concentration of beta carotene which is converted to vitamin A by the body.
Cooking tip: Bake them for 30 mins with a little butter and don’t forget to leave the skin on.
Super nutrient: Zinc
Pumpkin seeds are an excellent source of zinc which is vital for building brain structure and processing information.
Super nutrient: Iodine
All yogurt is good but Greek yogurt is best.
Tip: Try drizzling honey, nuts, berries or chia seeds for breakfast.
Super nutrient: folate
Folate is important in the production of new DNA and to regulate cell metabolism. Its anti-oxidant properties also help the brain tissue from damage.
Cooking tip: Lightly steam or add it as the last thing in a stew.
Super nutrient: Iron
Iron affects the production of brain chemicals and the formation of myelin which increases the speeds of brain impulses.
Cooking tip: Add butternut, cabbage, pepper or tomatoes which are vitamin c rich inorder to boost the body’s ability to absorb iron.
Super nutrient: Choline
Eggs are great source of protein and iron which are vital for brain development. Choline is essential in developing memory and learning ability and the egg yolk is rich in choline.
Cooking tip: Boil eggs and add it to a vegetable salad.
Super nutrient: DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid)
Omena is a rich source of Docosahexaenoic Acid(DHA) important for the brain and Central nervous system structure. They are also a good source of vitamin D.
Cooking tip: Pan fry omena and serve with sukuma wiki and ugali or use omena mix in porridge flour.
Super nutrient: Mono saturated fatty acids.
Fat makes up to 60% of the developing brain and avocadoes contain high oleic acid which helps to create myelin, the fatty protective coating around nerves in the CNS.
Cooking tip: Blend them to juices or add them to salads and sandwiches.
Super nutrient: Vitamin E
Vitamin E in peanuts supports DHA and protects cell membrane. Choose unsalted peanut with skin intact.
Cooking tip: Spread peanut butter on their bread for a healthy sandwich or mash their food with a little bit of peanut source. Older children can chew roasted peanuts as a healthy snack.
Super nutrient: Selenium
Selenium is good for your child’s brain development and Brazilian nuts are an excellent source of mono saturated fats.
Eating tip: One nut a day will do.