These 5 Nutrients Ensure That Your Toddler's Brain Develops Well
A child’s brain grows very rapidly in the initial years. In fact, it attains 90% of its development by the age of 6 years!^ Isn’t that surprising? And not to say the least, nutrition plays a key role in the proper development of your toddler’s brain. Below is the list of some nutrients that help in brain development:
DHA is an essential component that helps in brain development in children. DHA provides a number of health benefits to children, particularly in early childhood. It supports normal cognitive function, brain and eye development and its function. DHA is found abundantly in oily cold-water Fish and Seafoodand in trace or negligible amount in plant-based foods. This could pose a challenge of inadequate intake for vegetarians.
Iron deficiency during infancy is likely to alter higher brain functions later in adulthood. A lack of sufficient Iron intake may significantly delay the development of the central nervous system. To provide your toddler with Iron, include Meat in their diet with increased consumption of fruits and vegetables rich in Ascorbic Acid to enhance nonheme Iron absorption. If you are a vegetarian, then your toddler could get its iron nourishment from Grains, Spinach, Nuts, and Legumes/Beans.
Zinc plays an important role in transmission of messages across the central nervous system and other organs of the human body. It is necessary for making DNA and RNA, facilitating cell division, and regulating the functioning of Proteins. Zinc deficiency impairs Protein synthesis during brain development, lowered learning ability, apathy, lethargy, and mental retardation. To provide your toddler with the requisite Zinc intake you could go for Oysters, Meat, Poultry, and Egg Yolk. For toddlers in vegetarian households Cheese, Legumes, and Peanuts are a good source of Zinc.
Iodine is necessary for the production of Thyroid hormones, which play a major role in growth mechanisms and the development of tissues. The hormones regulate nerve cell growth and functions in the central nervous system. Iodine is naturally present in Fish and Seaweed and in fortified food items such as Salt, Milk, and Bread.
Choline is an essential nutrient that is found in many food sources and plays a critical role in the development of the central nervous system. Choline functions in several important structural and cell signalling and message transmission. Some of the good sources of Choline that should be part of your child’s diet include Eggs, Meats, Legumes, and Wheat Germ.
Plentiful portions of these nutrients in the diet improve learning ability. However, food choices such as vegetarianism, seasonal and localised availability, food allergies, and finicky eating habits can limit the adequate intake of the recommended micronutrients. This could risk the pace and quality of a toddler’s brain development. Health food drinks such as Junior Horlicks# contain essential nutrients such as DHA, Choline, Iron, Iodine etc. that are important for brain development and is designed to contain micronutrients as per WHO guidelines.