So everyone seems to be interested in finding the perfect superfood these days, rather than multiplying vitamins and supplements to get an edge.
Those same people have kids and want their children to be likewise healthy and focused during the day without unnatural foodstuffs and medication. Since we are in the back-to-school season, I felt it was appropriate to showcase a few great new “brain foods” that would help your kids to be present and attentive, thus more successful, in their classes.
Let’s see what we’ve got:
High-Fiber, Whole-Grain Cereal with Blueberries
Kids already love Cap’n Crunch Berries, why not give them the real thing? The problem with your basic sugary cereal is not necessarily that they lack nutritional value, in fact many have very decent levels of various nutrients. The primary issue is that they offer kids a form of energy that is very transient and is quickly burned off. This means that kids are beginning to have a sugar crash before they are even half-way through the morning! What kids bodies and brains need, instead, is whole-grain cereal with high fiber content and even real berries.
The blueberries are tasty and sweet (providing a healthy form of the “sugar high”), and they are well known for their antioxidants. Antioxidants are essential for brain health and function. The brain, being a rather unique organ, is prone to oxidative injury. Antioxidants help preserve your brain from such injury and enable the proper appropriation of nutrients like Omega-3s. Plus, the largely insoluble fiber and complex carbs offered by the grains take longer to burn and will keep your child’s blood sugar and metabolism up until lunchtime when they can refuel. Remember that breakfast should not be the meal to throw quick fixes at your kids, such as Pop-Tarts and pastries. These foods lead to almost immediate crash. But whole grains and fibrous foods will keep them firing on all cylinders all day!
Nuts, Quinoa, Chia Seeds
Speaking of complex carbs and fiber, there are certain nuts, grains, and seeds that are considered superfoods on account of their diverse and comprehensive nutrition contents. Nuts are often overlooked, but they are ideal for lunches and brain health. While peanuts are the norm, consider mixing it up! Walnuts contain generous portions of Omega-3s, the highly-touted fatty acid known for promoting brain health and diminishing the onset and effects of ADHD and similar conditions, and almonds are often reputed as having neurological mood-improving agents. Something to consider!
Quinoa is a type of kernel, related to grains, that is a true superfood! Constituting a complete protein, Quinoa (pronounced “keen-WA”) is a perfect rice and pasta substitute. Quinoa is an amazing source of several bone and tissue supportive nutrients like calcium, iron, phosphorus, and magnesium. Additionally, quinoa is a good source of Vitamin E, which is a known supporter of neurological function.
Finally, chia seeds! I try to consume chia seeds very often because they are Omega-3 and fiber powerhouses! Chia seeds are great in cereal since they have roughly half of the daily value of fiber and are literally stuffed with useful nutrients for growing kids in school. Chia seeds contain a complete protein, and significant amounts of calcium and complex carbs. When wet, these seeds grow plump with a jelly-like coating which delays digestion of the seeds themselves. This is useful when trying to keep your child’s metabolism and blood sugar from spiking and crashing throughout the day, causing sleepiness and distraction.
Other Great Sources of Omega-3s
As far as dinner and later meals are concerned, significant amounts of Omega-3s and Vitamin E can be obtained by serving your child fish like salmon and tuna, broccoli (which my parents served me by telling me they were little trees!), and avocado which is loading with healthy fatty acids known to boost brain and memory function. So grill up some salmon, make a tuna sandwich, some broccoli and cheese or some tasty guacamole and your children will be truly benefitted by brain-bolstering nutrients and will be given the stamina to study efficiently every day!
Kevin Wayne writes for Health Testing Centers, which has been offering direct access to medical testing for 30 years.