Our brain is just 2 % of our weight and carries out all the important functions of the body. The brain utilizes 20 % of the energy consumed. We get this energy from healthy food and the diet plays a very important role in the functioning of the brain. Recent studies say overconsumption of sugar causes memory loss. Unhealthy foods lead to aggression, depression, and stress.
Mental and brainpower are at their peak at 18 years of age which increases information processing. At the age of 25 years, the memory is quite sharp. At the age of 30 years, we have great brain power in recognizing faces and this tends to decline with age. At the age of 35 years, our short-term memory starts to decline. At birth, the brain of the baby is ¼ th the adult’s brain. In our very first year after birth, there are many changes in brainpower, and the size of the brain also increases and doubles. 80 % of the brain is developed at the age of 3 in children. At the age of 5 years, the brain is fully grown up to 90 %. There is a need to pay attention to the growth of children and their brains through healthy food and diet.
At Medicircle, we are presenting the Ask The Expert Series for health awareness to understand facts and find solutions related to them. We have come up with a series of Sehat Ki Baat, Karishma Ke Saath. Let’s interact with Expert Karishma Shah
Karishma Shah is a Renowned Nutritionist and Plant Diet based Food Coach. She is also a Weight Loss Expert, Diabetes and PCOS Educator & Certified in Psychology of Eating
Dr. Neeta Naik is Consultant Pediatric in Epilepsy, Neurology, and Neurodevelopmental disorders. She is the Founder and Director of EN1 Neuro. She has rich clinical experience of 20+ years in private practice and she has treated many children with mental disorders.
Food affects our brain
Dr. Neeta Naik says, “We should have a balanced diet and nutrition for all the organs in our body. We should consume a standard percentage of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats in our diet. The brain also needs vitamins and minerals along with plenty of water. There are no specific foods for any organ. Include a balanced diet for a healthy lifestyle;e. Some foods are very important for brain cells and neurons. Almonds are considered healthy and nutritious for the brain which is rich in omega 3 fatty acids. Bananas are good for the brain to keep optimum serotonin levels. White rice is beneficial for brain development.
A balanced meal is enough for a healthy brain.”
Karishma Shah says, ” As rightly mentioned by Dr. Neeta, a balanced meal is absolutely essential for the brain. We need to focus on what we are eating and how it affects our brain and gut health. Our gut is the second brain and if this inflames, it can affect the mind. If your diet is inflammatory in nature where you are consuming high content of fat, smoking, or having unhealthy food, there are many conditions that are transitioning into the following -
Anxiety Zeo Focus Stress Sedentary lifestyle Sleepiness Lethargy
We should definitely note the dos and don'ts of food for a healthy brain. A healthy gut is a key to a healthy brain.”
Semolina good or bad for children
Karishma Shah informs,” Wheat and wheat products are inflammatory in nature. Consuming wheat twice a month as a treat is acceptable. Kids become addicted to their favorite food and have a strong connection with foods after a certain while. Mothers generally become exhausted after a while giving their favorite foods to children. Wheat-based pasta 5 times/week will cause inflammation in the gut and affect the minds of the little ones. This may cause Gluten Intolerance. Every 3 rd person now is gluten intolerant. This may cause many problems. Include a variety of foods and give pasta once a week. Make sure that the child does not become addicted to pasta.”
Dr. Neeta Naik, “Mothers need to be creative. Give your children some creative food with protein, colorful vegetables, low fat, and oil with low spicy food. Include healthy foods at home that resemble the outside fast food. Include sprouts bhel with fruits. Make sure that the content of the food is healthy and interesting. Participation with children in their talks for food is also important. Make your children a decision-making partner which will empower them too. Emotional connection with a child is important while cooking. This can help them. Show them some children’s recipes which can help them this lockdown.”
Social interaction is must prevent memory loss
Dr. Neeta Naik, ” Primary caretakers and guardians of the child are the parents and the family members. It is important to have a healthy relationship with the parents and the children. Understanding the developmental changes, aspirations, and thoughts will help in better connecting with the child. Avoid negativity, pressure, and judgment on children. Parenting technique must be focussed to bring out the best in the child should follow this -
Sensitive parenting Responsive parenting Less directive parenting Encouraging parents
When a child finds you as a partner. He connects well. Every child is gifted with a set up of genes. The genes are going to direct his environment and future. Kids are born with characteristics by their genes.”
Advice to parents for healthy foods for brain
Karishma Shah informs, “Every child has its own strength and weakness when he is born. He has different fears and communications. Every parent must learn their child’s fear and communication. This automatically changes the parenting technique and shows some sensitivity towards the child. Parents do not express their emotions in front of children. It is important to connect and be emotionally vulnerable. Understanding the child is important. Here are some healthy foods for brain development in children and a healthier lifestyle in the future -
Millets such as ragi, jowar Nuts, and seeds which are rich are omega 3 fatty acids Healthy smoothie which is chocolate flavored Energy balls of nuts and seeds with cranberries and dates Fruits are very important for children to Avoid sugar with fruits consumption
Foods in form of supplements for brain
Karishma says, “ Supplements should be taken in fewer quantities with diet. If there is no medical condition and the child is healthy, then there is no need for supplements. Incorporate these supplements -
Avoid other supplements until there are nutritional deficiencies.”
Sweetened and surgery drinks for brain
Dr. Neeta Naik informs, “Sugary drinks cause hyperactivity and must be avoided in ADHD and autistic. Sudden spikes of sugar are not good for children. Small chocolate treats once in a while can be given if the child is fond of sugars and must be controlled for better health. Excess of sugar causes harm to brain development. Many children are inattentive and it is important to check if they are consuming more sugar in their diet.”
Supplements for children
Dr. Neeta Naik informs, “Supplementing children with Vitamin D is a must. A very large number of children are anemic which causes attention problems and decreases the ability to focus on children. Ensure these vitamins levels to be normal in children is a must -
Karishma Shah states, “Unmonitored diet in children especially in cases of ADHD and autism needs special attention. Certain parameters must be kept in check in children to know about the nutritional status. This will improve the quality of life of the children.”
Dr. Neeta informs,” Children with epilepsy must be monitored closely for Vitamin D levels as the anti-epileptic drugs affect the vitamin D levels and calcium levels. The chances of epilepsy are higher. The child with special needs must be helped in the diet. Diet is like a drug in the neurological field. A protocol and evidence-based treatment are very important.”
(Edited by Dr.Rati Parwani)