Boost Brain Development With These Summer Superfoods
That Austin, TX sunshine is here and that can only mean one thing: sweet, sweet summertime!
Summers with kids usually mean being on the go, traveling, summer camps, vacations… which in turn, means easy-to-make foods, processed snacks, eating out, and food being whatever is easiest, not necessarily what’s best.
The foods we consume play a big part in the structure and health of our brains, and a brain-boosting, superfood-focused diet can support both short- and long-term function and development. From improving mental tasks such as memory and concentration to enhancing overall brain structure, a healthy diet can keep your brain sharp and will increase your odds of keeping a healthy brain as you continue to grow and age.
It’s important to incorporate superfoods into your child’s diet — there’s a magnitude of benefits when it comes to their brain function and development. (That’s really just scraping the surface, here’s tons of examples of the benefits of superfoods.)
Not sure what exactly constitutes a superfood? Let’s take a look...
The word “superfood” is used a lot when it comes to food- and health-related conversations.
Although there’s no standardized, scientifically-backed criteria for what makes something a superfood, the term generally refers to foods that contain high levels of at least one important vitamin or mineral. A quick Google search will tell you it’s “a nutrient-rich food considered to be especially beneficial for health and well-being.”
I bet your family is probably already incorporating some of these foods into your meals! Don’t let the word make you think it’s “too healthy,” meaning your child will turn their nose up.
I know my toddler snacks on about three of the foods I list below and loves every second of it!
There are many common superfoods that can be added into your child’s diet so they can reap the health benefits. Here are some great superfoods for kids (all while promoting healthy brain growth and development).
Here’s some of my kids' go-to's…
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Broccoli and other cruciferous (plants of the cabbage family) vegetables are rich in fiber and nutrients — making them an easy top pick.
I love how versatile this vegetable is. It serves as a quick and easy snack, can be made into a casserole, or eaten for dinner as a side!
As well as being a low-calorie source of dietary fiber, broccoli is beneficial for the brain. It’s rich in compounds called glucosinolates. When the body breaks these down, they produce isothiocyanates.
Isothiocyanates may reduce oxidative stress and lower the risk of neurodegenerative diseases.
Broccoli is also jam-packed with vitamin C and flavonoids, and these antioxidants can further boost a person’s brain health.
And if you get tired of broccoli, the good news is that there’s other cruciferous vegetables that contain glucosinolates. These include:
A diet rich with healthy unsaturated fat supports brain function and combats cognitive decline. Avocados are technically a fruit, and one that’s packed with good-for-you monounsaturated fats that promote healthy blood flow and support information-carrying nerves in the brain. They are also loaded with several of the brain’s most valued nutrients, including folate, vitamin C, vitamin E, and copper.
Consuming unsaturated fats may reduce blood pressure, and high blood pressure is directly linked with cognitive decline. So in turn, by reducing high blood pressure, the unsaturated fats in avocados can lower the risk of cognitive decline. When I do the math, it’s a no-brainer to eat these almost daily!
Other sources of healthful unsaturated fats (spoiler: many of these are on our list!) include: