1. Feed that hungry brain
Eating well gives the growing brain and body the nutrition it needs to encourage optial development. Your child should eat a nutrient rich diet containing essential fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fibre and high quality protien. This means:
- Ensure your child eats a full breakfast every day. The brain is the hungriest of all organs and needs adequate energy and nutrition to function at its best. Having a poor breakfast, or no breakfast is known to impair learning and concenttration in children.
- Ensure your child eats plenty of vegetables and fruit every day. Vegetables and fruits are very high in nutrients and beneficial dietary fibre. Regular fruit and vegetable consumption can help support brain function and development.
- Ensure your child eats protien rich foods in each meal or snack. Protien is essential for health especially in childhood, but make sure you choose lean protein sources, such as free range chicken breast, lean cuts of red meat and fish. Reduce or eliminate fatty meats, as these are high in saturated fat.
- Ensure your child drinks plenty of pure water daily. Aim to substitute soft drinks, fruit juices, cordials an other sweetened drinks with water. A healthy replacement for soft drinks is 4 parts sparkling mineral water with 1 part fresh fruit juice.
- Avoid or severely limit processed foods, additives and artificial flavours. Heavily processed foods containing artificial colourings, flavours and preservatives may exacerbate behaviour symptoms.
2. Growing children need a healthy lifestyle
Consider the following lifestyle suggestions that your child may benefit from:
- Identify areas of your child's interest and encourage active participation. Encourage them to become involved in team sports, martial arts, ballet, music or art. Studies show that regular participation in structured social activities is linked to low levels of antisocial behaviour.
- Exercise and fresh air matter. Getting regular exercise and fresh air encourages not only a healthy body , but also a healthy mind. Make sure your child gets plenty of regular exercise.
- Sleep and rest are also important. Your child's growing body and mind also need adequate rest and sleep. Ensure your child is getting adequate sleep every night, remembering that younger children need more hours of sleep every night than older children.
- Positive role models and family support is essential. Lack of parental supervision and support are strong predisposing factors for problem behaviour in childhood and into adulthood. A healthy family environment and positive role models are very important to ensure optimal health and development of your child.
3. Smart supplements for a better brain
Along with the above advice, I may also recommend some key natural supplements to further assist in improving the health of your child.
- Multivitamin and Minerals: A children's multivitamin and mineral formula will provide your child with the nutrients they need for optimal brain function. A powdered supplement that can recommend a pleasant tasting liquid option for your child to take every day.
- Herbal Support: Gingko and bacopa (brahmi) are both herbs proven to help boost memory and enhance learning. Ginkgo is beneficial for maintaining healthy circulation to the brain, and bacopa can be used to help learning and motor performance. Both ginko and bacopa may enhance mental alterness and optimise concentration and learning.