Brain Development in Early Childhood

    Brain Development in Early Childhood

    Today I want to share an important topic with you concerning the brain development in early childhood. Because every mom wants her lovely child to grow smart, brainy and intelligent. So in this article I will consider nutrition for the brain and you will find gymnastics for the brain in the next one.

    The human brain starts forming even in the womb, but this process is especially active in the first year of life. Correctness of this process influences the degree of development of a person’s body functions. And for a child to go in the right direction, parents should try their best to help their little one to become a complete person in the future. There are many ways to develop a child, and development of the brain is one of the most important issues.

    Let’s consider some research studies about brain and right nutrition for its proper work

    You will be surprised, but our brain is primarily composed of fat – 60% of its “dry” weight. Fats are very important for the brain’s health. DHA, or docosahexaenoic acid, or omega-3 fatty acids are involved in the construction of the brain and the central nervous system, and they make up a large part of the fat contained in the brain (25-35%). Its proper and healthy work without DHA, like the work of the retina – as in infancy so in old age – would be impossible. By the way, there is 60% of DHA in the retina.

    Even before birth a developing fetus receives DHA through the mother’s placenta. DHA is crucial for the development of the cerebral cortex of the brain and eye retina of a child. After the birth DHA is received by a child through his mother’s breast milk and also contributes to the proper development of the brain and vision. Breast milk is the best natural baby food containing omega-3, mainly DHA, in varying amounts, depending on the diet of a mother. By the way, studies of the scientists have confirmed that breastfed babies are provided with intellectual advantage compared to those babies whose mothers for some reason started feeding them usual baby formula. Breastfed babies have higher IQ level.

    Mother’s milk contains about 30 times more DHA than cow’s milk.

    Nursing mothers should receive daily 200 mg of DHA, in order to make sure that they get the required amount of DHA.

    Here it should be noted that, of course, breast milk cannot be of the same quality, but entirely depends on the diet of a pregnant and then a lactating mother. For example, in the U.S., where mothers eat little seafood – the main source of omega-3 fatty acids – the number of DHA in their breast milk is much lower than, for example, of women in the Mediterranean region of Europe or Japan.

    Realizing the importance of DHA in baby diet, the World Health Organization (WHO) has recommended the manufacturers of baby formula and other baby foods to add there the omega-3. DHA in liquid form or in pills form can be found in pharmacies, they are sold as for pregnant women so for young children.

    But nutrition is of course the most important source of DHA. The richest sources of omega-3 are red meat, eggs, fish. Deep-water fish like salmon, striped bass, rainbow trout, halibut, tuna, sardines and mackerel get DHA from microalgae. You and your child can eat all this set of fish, but if you are not familiar with the fish, you can use a simple rule – all fatty fish is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon and mackerel, and freshwater fish does not almost has DHA.

    • Tuna contains 0.9 g of DHA per one 100 g of its weight.
    • Mackerel has 1.6 g of DHA.
    • Salmon contains 0.9 g of DHA.

    IMPORTANT NOTE: fish can be included in the diet of a baby after seven months of age, provided that he does not show any symptoms of allergy.

    Green leafy vegetables, soybeans, walnuts, flaxseed and canola oil also contains DHA and you can include them into your diet.

    Also, it must be remembered that excessive sodium and saturated fats has a negative impact on cholesterol level in the blood and this, in turn, reduces the absorption of omega-3 fatty acids.

    Lack of DHA in the body leads to serious consequences: inflammation of the skin, decreased learning ability, as well as disorders of concentration and memory, and these are some of the consequences. Therefore it is better not to take risks and to ensure proper protection of health and development of the child from the first years of life. But remember that your diet during pregnancy is of great importance for your further baby’s development. DHA is being accumulated in the brain of a child between the 26th and the 40th week of pregnancy and has a crucial influence on the neuron functioning. Lack of DHA hinders intellectual and psychomotor development of children.

    And also remember, that if you child grows in an atmosphere of love, warmth and well-being, he is being paid enough attention and is accepted as a full-fledged member of society with his own needs, his mental and physical development will reach a good level.


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