If a child’s brain is to develop healthily, a balanced diet is important in addition to cognitive stimuli and a lot of attention. Some foods are better for brain development than others. We’ll show you which five foods are particularly suitable.
There are very different views when it comes to when to wean breast milk. It is undisputed, however, that the baby should be fully breastfed for at least six months if possible or that the bottle should be given, according to the recommendation of the National Breastfeeding Commission. Most mothers begin slow weaning and first baby food as complementary foods after about six months. After about ten months, when the first teeth are already there, the “solid” food follows. This includes soft-boiled carrots or potato pieces, peeled cucumber pieces or chopped, ripe and soft pears, watermelons, peaches, or nectarines. Not whole grapes, they can get into the windpipe!
No question about it, introducing the world of food is an exciting new step in development for both toddlers and parents. Mothers and fathers normally want to feed their offspring the most healthy food possible, everything that makes the child “big and strong”, as they say in the vernacular. Less attention is paid to which foods best promote the child’s mental development. Here are five examples.
Greek yogurt is creamy and soft, which alone makes it the ideal food for babies or toddlers. But that alone also applies to other yogurts or quarks – and babies should avoid them until their first birthday. What sets Greek yogurt apart is its wholesomeness. It contains smaller amounts of whey protein and lactose and usually only half the usual sugar content. As natural yogurt, it has a positive effect on the intestines. Recent studies have shown that there is a connection between the gut and the brain. In this context, researchers speak of the “gut-brain axis”. Researchers at Cork University in Ireland confirm that the microbes in the intestinal flora influence the brain and mood through various mechanisms.
Avocados are also very suitable as baby food because when ripe they are naturally creamy. In numerous countries, for example in the USA, mothers give their babies avocados as the first complementary food because it is easy to digest and loosens the stool. It also has a high nutrient density, with healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals. Healthy fats promote the development of brain cells. So if you want to do something good for your baby and add variety, give him 50 grams of avocado as a pureed or squeezed afternoon porridge. However, the avocado should not replace the entire intake of vegetables, it is too fatty and contains too few carbohydrates.
Whole grain porridge
Whole grains may not spring to mind when it comes to baby foods. But cereals are not a problem for babies, as long as no gluten intolerance has been established. This is all the more true for whole-grain cereals, which you can offer in the morning or in the evening, for example in very small flake form, softened in hot water or warm milk. It’s about oat flakes, quinoa, or barley, which, when boiled and soaked, can be mixed with breast milk, yogurt or fruit, and vegetable puree. Whole grains are healthy because of the many vital nutrients in the shell and in the seedling. It contains, for example, B vitamins, magnesium, calcium, iron as well as fiber, protein, and secondary plant substances.
Until the 1990s, it was believed that children should be at least two years old when they first eat eggs. In the meantime, however, the experts say that eggs are suitable for small children from nine to twelve months of age. The egg yolk in particular has a high nutritional value and is easily digestible. It contains cholesterol, a natural substance that is also found in the outer lining of brain cells; as well as choline, selenium, and vitamin B12 – all-important foundations for organ development.
The online portal warns that you should pay particular attention to an increased risk of allergies, which can be associated with the consumption of protein, as well as its high protein content, which could overwhelm the still immature kidneys. So: either separate the yolk and white or leave it at the amount of one egg per week for one-year-olds (or two eggs for two-year-olds).
An apple in the morning drives away grief and worries, as the saying goes. Of course, apples are nutritious and healthy, we know that: for teeth and gums and as a supplier of quercetin, a natural pigment from the group of flavonoids. A cross center also increases brain activity. Since it is a dye, the peel contains the majority of the center. Of course, you can also chop apples, including their skin, so that they are suitable for a baby to eat. If you combine apples with wholegrain porridge, you get a double effect: because the butter from peanuts, cashews, or almonds is also rich in healthy fats, proteins, and fat-soluble vitamins. With nut butter, however, the following applies: Due to the allergens in nuts, do not give before the sixth month.
Salmon can also do the baby’s brain good because it is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, especially DHA, which is naturally present in breast milk. DHA is essential for the cognitive development of the human brain. When soft-boiled, salmon is very easy to chop or puree.
If you are interested in more posts about health, check our site!