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The initial days of life are crucial for brain development, and food has an important role to play. How the brain functions for the entire life majorly depends on the way it develops during pregnancy, and the first two years of life. This period literally shapes the brain for the rest of a person’s life. This is where the nerves get connected with myelin, creating systems that decide how a child will think and feel. This phase of human life is really pivotal, as the connections developed or the systems made can never be changed or undone. The brain continues to function in the same manner for the rest of your life.
The people around the child, the things he’s surrounded with, the entire environment is essential for these changes. Breastfeeding is also important, not only because it is nutritious, but also because of the close contact with the mother that it provides to the child.
Certain nutrients are important for a kid’s diet, as they are necessary for the development of a healthy brain. The list includes-
Vitamin A plays a pivotal role in providing good eyesight. It also provides the body the strength to fight against germs and infections. Some good sources of vitamin A include liver, carrots, spinach and sweet potato.
Vitamin B6 and B12, are important for kids, as they help them in generating and using energy. The deficiency of B vitamins in the body can make kids prone to getting anaemia. Liver and other organ meats, along with potatoes and other starchy vegetables are some of the best sources of vitamin B6, whereas vitamin B12 can be easily found in naturally produced dairy products, such as meat, fish and eggs.
Vitamin C helps kids ward off sneezes and sniffles by preparing their bodies to fight against infections. It also helps in healing the cuts faster than normal. Drinking a glass of orange juice, or eating an orange is one of the best ways to get your dose of vitamin C. There are some other fruits and vegetables that are great sources of this vitamin, including strawberries, tomatoes, cantaloupe, and sweet red peppers.
Vitamin D or “the sunshine vitamin” is essential for strong teeth and bones. Children need this nutrient each day, as it helps them absorb calcium, which ultimately helps them in building bones. The skin generates this vitamin when it comes in direct contact with the sun rays. Flesh of fatty fishes such as tuna and trout, liver oil and products fortified with it, such as fortified eggs & milk are some of the best sources of vitamin D.
Iron plays a major role in the circulation of oxygen. Red blood cells require it to circulate oxygen in various parts of the body. The best sources of iron include meats, beans and lentils, fortified cereals as well as bread, dark leafy vegetables and baked potatoes.
Zinc is essential for immunity. It helps in keeping colds, viruses, and other germs away. Plus, it helps kids in developing their body parts. The food that has the most zinc, interestingly, is oysters, but it is also found in various meats, fish, beans, and fortified breakfast cereals.
Women, during pregnancy and breastfeeding years, must try consuming these foods for healthy growth of kid’s brain. For people living in India, it might be a challenge to get all these nutrients, as the majority of the country prefers eating vegetarian food. Such people must try meeting a nutritionist who can help them in keeping their kid’s diet vegetarian while fulfilling all nutritional needs.