Top 5 fruits and veggies for brain health.
With electronic screens taking over our world, and electronic games increasingly becoming more social. It is important to not just monitor our children’s screen time but also provide and educate them on foods that can help to protect their brain.
Our brain is one of our body’s most complicated parts and interestingly the outer surface of our brain is made up of around 20 billion cells! Therefore, our brain is kind of a big deal, and it is the boss of our body. It runs the show and controls just about everything we do, even when we are asleep. Our brain ultimately makes us happy or sad as it controls what we think, that’s why it’s a good idea to keep our children's brain in peak working condition.
So besides keeping sugar down, what should your child eat to give their brain a boost and give it protection from all of the new technologies and stressors of life? Well here at Healthy Little Eaters we understand that there are many different brain boosting foods, however, we LOVE to focus on fruits and veggies because they are absolutely vital, and sadly, we aren’t even close to eating enough, especially our kids (and it turns out our mum was right – we really do need to eat our vegetables for optimal brain health).
Build a better brain with blueberries! Researchers found that diets rich in blueberries significantly helped the learning ability and motor skills of older people and made them mentally equivalent to younger people (imagine what they could do for your kids’ brain!).
The flavonoids in blueberries are what give them their vibrant colour, but it’s also what helps protect our brains as we get older. Blueberries also deliver anthocyanins, a group of plant compounds with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects which can help boost our memory and increase our ability to remain focused.
Did you know that some of the antioxidants in blueberries have been found to accumulate in the brain and help improve communication between brain cells, so cool!
Try sprinkling them over your breakfast cereal, adding them to a smoothie, or enjoying as is for a simple snack. Word of warning, once your kids start eating frozen blueberries they can almost eat a whole bag in one go!
A vegetable that makes you smarter! Did you know that broccoli is in the same neighbourhood as apples? Broccoli and apples first help our brain and then our whole body.
Broccoli is packed with powerful nutrients and coming straight from the Healthy Little Eaters game “The large amounts of broccoli enhance cognitive function and improve brain power!”
Like other cruciferous vegetables, if you look closely at broccoli, you’ll notice that they have stems and branches that mirror the dendrites and structure of our brain. It's no accident that they look this way. Mother nature has given us broccoli to make us smarter and help protect our brains.
You get a great kick of vitamin C when you eat just one medium orange and doing so is important for a healthy brain since vitamin C is a key factor in healing and protecting our brain.
According to one study, having higher levels of vitamin C in the blood was associated with improvements in tasks involving focus, memory, attention, and decision speed. Imagine how good school would be if we all had brains like superhero's??
Vitamin C is also a powerful antioxidant that helps fight off the free radicals that can damage brain cells and can also help improve and or prevent depression and anxiety.
You can also get high amounts of vitamin C from other foods like capsicums, guava, kiwi, tomatoes, and strawberries.
Hot Tip: Buy a simple orange squeezer and juice 1 or 2 oranges for a quick orange super shot before work or sending your child off to school.
You might not get bulging muscles like Popeye from eating spinach but you will get a wide variety of brain-boosting nutrients. Researchers have found that even one serving of spinach per day may help your brain stay a decade younger younger than those who do not. Pretty powerful stuff!
Incorporating spinach into your daily routine is easier than you imagine. Baby spinach is the best place to start. Grab some leaves and place them in the freezer, they make perfect little ice chips for a chocolate and banana smoothie.
You can also make green ice cream by blending up frozen banana and spinach (you don’t even taste it). Or simply mix it into your favourite chicken salad and drizzle with olive oil. Your brain will thank you for it.
Don’t forget the fat! Since our brain is more than 50% fat, in addition to vegetables, we need less sugar, and plenty of good fat in our diet to truly optimize our brain’s function and potential. This means avocados, coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil and nuts.
Avocados are one of nature’s most perfect sources of good fats. Avocados are also full of potassium, omega-3s, oleic acid and magnesium, which can all support the quality of blood flow to our brain by helping to keep our blood pressure at a healthy range and also helps to balance your child's mood.
So do your best to include avocados in your child’s, and yours, diet regularly - add them to salads, spread them on toast, enjoy them on their own (you can even put a poached egg in the middle) with salt and lemon juice, add them to pasta, prepare guacamole, or even add 1/2 a ripe avo to a green smoothie.
There are many foods that can help to keep our children's brain healthy and protect them from the overwhelming use of screens and highly processed food that is EVERYWHERE. Other foods such as nuts and eggs also contain nutrients that support memory and brain development but lets never forget the superpowers of fruits and vegetables.
We love what we do here at Healthy Little Eaters and so do thousands of happy parents knowing they have taught their children about the superpowers of fruits and veggies at a young age. From the words of one grateful and relieved mother
“Thanks to Healthy Little Eaters my child now asks for broccoli because she knows it helps her brain”.
You can discover more about the Healthy Little Eaters game and how it can benefit your child (and you) here.
The Team at Healthy Little Eaters.
Inspiring all children to feel like a superhero and eat like one!