Isn’t it the prayer of every mother that through the food she prepares her kids could get smarter, healthier, and succeed in life?
But how come, with such immense prayers and expectations, some kids end up unsuccessful and miserable in their future life yet, as kids, they were reminded now and then that “they will be the leaders of tomorrow”?
Research shows that the food your kid consumes determines the kid’s brainpower and hence, the level of future success.(01)
In this article, I highlight the top 18 brain foods that will boost your kids’ brainpower —and jump-start them to success.
Let’s dive right in.
18 Top Brain Foods To Make Your Kid Smarter (And Succeed In Life)
Table of Contents
1. Green Leafy Vegetables
A recent Neurology study published in the American Academy of Neurology Journal discovered that healthy seniors who had daily consumption of green leafy vegetables such as kales, spinach, romaine lettuce, cabbages, beet greens, had a lower rate of cognitive decline, and high memory and thinking skills compared to those who consumed little to none. These greens contain vitamins B6, B12, folate, and iron —the ideal properties behind better brain health.(2)
Tomato consumption is worldwide both as fruits as well as vegetables. Apart from being a good source of iron, tomatoes contain a powerful antioxidant called lycopene that fights free radical damage to cells, which otherwise results in dementia cases, particularly Alzheimer’s disease.
3. Whole grains
Include whole wheat, brown rice, bran, oatmeal. They are rich in vitamin B6 and folate that are well-known for increasing the blood flow to the brain.
4. Wild salmon
This type of fish is rich in omega-3 fatty acids that are vital for brain function and development.
5. Pumpkin seeds
Pumpkin seeds are rich in powerful antioxidants that protect the brain from free radical damage. They are also a good source of zinc, magnesium, copper, and iron, of which all are essential for brain health, especially in cognitive and memory skills.(4)
It is a good source of vitamin K, which improves brain function and cognition by contributing to synthesizing sphingolipids to nurture brain cells.
7. Almonds and Hazelnuts
These two are very rich in vitamin E, which is a powerful antioxidant that protects cells from damage resulting from free radicals.
Studies show that the antioxidants found in blueberries can positively affect parts of the brain essential for intelligence.
9. Sunflower seeds
These wonder seeds are packed with thiamine, a B vitamin that sharpens memory and boosts cognitive function.
Walnuts are very rich in two powerful elements: polyphenolic compounds and a plant-based omega-3 fatty acid called alpha-linolenic acid. The two are vital brainfoods that can counter inflammation and oxidative stress, which are notorious for cognitive decline.
11. Akai berries
This Brazilian Supper fruit contains antioxidants that neutralize the damaging effects of inflammation and oxidation within brain cells which may lead to deterioration of memory and learning abilities.
Eggplant is a king source of phytonutrients that enhance cognitive activity and general mental health. Eggplant is considered among the best brain food because it increases blood flow to the brain, hence boosting both memory power and analytical thoughts. It is also a good source of potassium, which acts as a vasodilator and keeps the brain sharp.
Bananas enjoy recognition as brain food because it is rich in potassium and magnesium which enhance brain sharpness and focus. Research indicates that one banana contains enough glucose for your brain for a whole day, which guarantees good mind sharpness for the day. With a remarkable amount of nutrients and vitamins, bananas are also known to boost cognitive function as well as improve and control mood.
14. Raw carrots
Carrots are best known for promoting eyes’ health. But a study published in the Nutrition Journal in the year 2010 revealed that a compound called luteolin which is richly found in carrots could reduce memory decline as well as inflammation in the brain.
Raw carrots may also help keep your mind clear and steady because they have a low glycemic index, which means their glucose is broken down at a low rate hence fuel your brain at a steady pace throughout the day.
Eggs are packed with nutrients that promote brain health, such as choline, vitamins B6, B12, and folate. Choline is an essential micronutrient that enables your body to create acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that helps in regulating mood and memory. Studies also link a combination of vitamin B6, B12, and folate with slowing down cognitive decline.
A 2012 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine discovered that regions leading in chocolate consumption were also leading in the number of Nobel Prize Winners. Whether it is a coincidence or a fact, the May 2017 review published in Frontiers in Nutrition suggested that flavanols — found in dark chocolate and cocoa are anti-inflammatory and antioxidant hence, can boost human brain function. Other studies established evidence of increased blood flow and oxygen levels with the consumption of dark chocolate.
17. Green tea
Green tea contains the amino acid called L-theanine which together with caffeine can work synergistically to boost brain activity. Perhaps this is why freshly green tea has been shown to improve memory and focus.
Other benefits of green tea.
- It is a source of catechins that can keep you mentally relaxed, —and focused.
- It contains antioxidants that can help prevent oxidative stress to brain cells. (5)
Caffeine, a stimulant contained in coffee, is the science behind coffee being brain king. Caffeine acts by blocking adenosine, an inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain that causes drowsiness, hence makes you alert.
A 2016 study from the University Ulster in Coleraine, United Kingdom, suggested that coffee protects the brain against cognitive impairments and improves thinking skills.
In another study carried out by Krembil Brain Institute —a constituent of the Krembil Research Institute in Toronto, Canada Dr. Donald Weaver, a co-director of the Krembil Brain Institute, notes,
“Coffee consumption does seem to have some correlation to a decreased risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease,”
However, for the best results researchers advise drinking coffee about 90 minutes after waking up. This allows the natural morning surge of cortisol to normalize —otherwise, it would constrain caffeine’s effect. (6,7)
Best Brain Juices and Beverages to Make Your Kid Smarter (And Succeed In Life)
The brain works optimum when it is well hydrated. Therefore, water, as well as other healthy drinks is a very vital component in the brain’s diet. That is why it is always necessary to start your day with a glass of water.
Healthful juices, especially those rich in antioxidants and vitamins like aloe juice, cranberry juice, green tea (especially Matcha tea) —which is high in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals play a vital role in the brain’s health.
Other critically important brain juices and beverages include Beetroot juice, Kombucha, herbal teas, green juices and smoothies, blueberry juice, and turmeric lattes.
The Bottom Line
While your brain may only take up 2% of your body mass, take note that it utilizes up a whopping 20% of your total energy (at rest). Therefore to keep it in an optimum functioning state, the brain needs a complex mixture of proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. These cannot be derived from a single almighty food (or drink!). It calls for the consumption of the proven healthful balanced diet comprising of brain foods and juices as indicated in this article. This will assure your kid of sharper memory, better academic performance, and higher chances of future success.