family eating healthy dinnerAs a parent, you want your child to do well in school. The best way to ensure their success is to give them the tools and the fuel they need to do well, both in the classroom and in life. We’ve got you covered there, with our blog last week on back-to-school health kits, and now we’ve got more information for you! The team at American Family Care Indianapolis has put together a list of “brain foods” – foods that are known to boost cognitive abilities by helping support brain function. Here are the best foods to help your child focus on learning, and not on their growling stomach.

  1. Whole grains. Foods with whole grains are packed with energy in the form of complex carbohydrates. These fuel your child’s brain for the hard work it does during the school day. Since your brain is responsible for up to 20 percent of your body’s energy use, it needs lasting fuel to power comprehension and consciousness. When your child is busy learning and growing, a granola bar is not going to last them until lunch. Start the day with foods like whole grain toast, oatmeal or porridge.
  2. Salmon, and other oily fish. Salmon is an awesome source of omega-3 fatty acids, which have been linked to improved memory, better stress management and lower rates of depression. Other fish sources of omega-3 fatty acids are trout, mackerel, herring, sardines and kippers. For vegetarian and vegan families, walnuts, flaxseed, chia seeds and pumpkin seeds are all great meat-free sources.
  3. Blueberries. Blueberries contain antioxidant compounds called anthocyanins, which have been shown to be effective at improving short term memory. Short term memory is the first stop for the information you learn, so this improvement in cognitive function can support greater information retention across the board.
  4. Eggs, fish and chicken. These foods contain high amounts of B vitamins, which help the body metabolize and use carbohydrates for energy, and are known to reduce levels of a compound called homocysteine in the blood. High amounts of homocysteine limit cognitive function, and studies have shown that people who supplement their intake of vitamin B are less likely to experience brain shrinkage and tend to have improved brain function.
  5. Broccoli. It might not be popular, but there’s no denying that broccoli is one of the most nutrient-dense foods out there. Broccoli is a great source of several vitamins and minerals, including vitamin K, which enhances cognitive function. It is also high in glucosinolates, which slow the breakdown of important neurotransmitters and allow the central nervous system to perform optimally.

It isn’t that hard to build a healthy diet for your kids, it just takes some mindful choices. At American Family Care Indianapolis, we want to help you give your kids everything they need for success both inside and outside of the classroom. Visit us at American Family Care Indianapolis for more ideas on how to give your child’s diet a brain boost.