Eating the right food can help a child’s learning ability. Sushma Veera finds out more
IT is important to give your children the right nutrients to keep them alert and focused at school. Associate professor Dr Loh Su Peng from Universiti Putra Malaysia’s Department Of Nutrition & Dietetics (Faculty Of Medicine And Health Sciences) says a child’s learning ability and behaviour depends on what nutrients the brain can use as fuel.
For brain to stay mentally sharp, children need a constant supply of energy. Here are some effective foods that can give brain power a boost.
Essential fatty acids (alpha linolenic, EPA and DHA) from fats are used to create specialised cells that allow us to think and feel.
Food: Nuts and seed.
Amino acids from proteins are used to make neurotransmitters that allow brain cells to network and communicate. Neurotransmitters are brain chemicals that motivate or sedate, focus or frustrate.
Food: Milk, beans and legumes, fish and seafood, eggs, protein.
FRUIT AND VEGETABLES
Micronutrients from food (especially vegetables and fruit) are the antioxidants the brain relies on to safeguard its cells from damage and dysfunction. These protect the brain from normal wear and tear.
Food: Fruit and dark green vegetables.
Glucose from carbohydrate is the main fuel the brain uses to produce energy for its function. Sweets and candy do not make the grade because they are simple carbohydrates which, when broken down by the body into glucose, is absorbed very quickly, causing high peaks and sudden drops in glucose levels.
The fibre in complex carbohydrate, on the other hand, slows the body’s absorption of energy, ensuring that the brain gets a slow and steady supply of fuel.
Food: Whole grains (brown rice, oats, breads, pasta, crackers, cereals).
Proper hydration is critical for concentration and alertness.