Your child’s brain is truly incredible! Here are a few ways you can help to boost their brain power, keep them focused throughout the day, improve their learning and concentration and minimise mood swings.
Oiling the cogs
There is a fatty, insulating layer around all our brain cells called myelin, which allows for faster processing of information and better learning ability.
Therefore, to keep the brain functioning at its best, include plenty of essential fats in your children’s diet – aim for one or more of these each day: nuts and seeds (try them as snacks, in smoothies, on cereal or as nut butters), oily fish like salmon, mackerel and sardines, olive oil and avocadoes.
Low levels of omega-3 fats have been linked to poor cognitive performance and behaviour in 7-9-year-olds, and a higher incidence of the behavioural problem ADHD.
There is a popular misconception that children need sugar for energy, but eating sugar leads to a dip in blood sugar levels, causing poor concentration and mood swings.
Many children consume half of their daily sugar quota, around 11g, at breakfast, mainly from cereals. Check the sugar levels on cereal packets and aim for less than 10g per 100g. For example, Oatibix has 3.2g sugar per 100g, and Crunchy Nut Cornflakes a whopping 35g!
Starting the day with an amazing, balanced breakfast will give your child a great brain boost. Swap sugary cereal for a home-made fruit and veg smoothie, fruit with porridge, whole grain toast with nut butter or eggs.
Drink more to think more
The brain is made up of around 85% water and needs hydration throughout the day – if a child doesn’t get enough water, you may start to see problems with concentration, brain fatigue, headaches and poor sleep.
Drinking water is especially important with the demands of school work – children’s performance in school tests has been shown to improve after simply having a drink of water.
Water is the only thing your child needs to drink, or you could sometimes offer diluted fresh fruit juice. Avoid sugary, fizzy drinks and any containing caffeine as these have been linked to poor mental health, low mood and poor sleep.
I hope you will find these strategies helpful – try them out and let me know how you get on!