What foods are good for my child's brain?

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Marjorie Nolan Cohn
Nutrition & Dietetics

Dairy foods are packed with protein and B vitamins, both are essential for growth of brain tissue, neurotransmitters, and enzymes. Milk and yogurt also provide a bigger punch with both protein and carbohydrates, which are the preferred source of energy for the brain.

Recent research suggests that children and teens need 10 times more than the recommended dose of vitamin D, a vitamin that benefits the neuromuscular system and the overall life cycle of human cells.

A well-balanced diet can help children of any age optimize their brainpower or thinking skills in and out of the classroom.
  • Start with the power of breakfast. Studies show eating breakfast improves attention and is associated with higher academic achievement. A good pick: whole-grain cereal, like oatmeal, topped with fruit and nuts.
  • Eat brain foods throughout the day. It's important to keep energy and concentration up with regular meals and snacks. Avoid items that can cause a sugar rush followed by a crash. Good picks: proteins (turkey, tofu, beans and nuts), whole grains and whole fruits and vegetables.
Additional food for thought: A growing amount of research suggests omega-3 fatty acids, commonly found in fish such as salmon, help feed critical brain cell membranes that may aid in learning and memory.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.