4 Key Nutrients for Your Child's Brain Development

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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! ^ Fascinating, isn’t it? And unsurprisingly, nutrition plays a key role in the proper development of your toddler’s brain. Below is the list of some nutrients that support brain development:

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1. Iron2

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 and increase the quantity of fruits and vegetables rich in Ascorbic Acid to enhance nonheme Iron absorption. If you are a vegetarian, then your toddler could get the required iron from grains, spinach, nuts, and legumes/beans.

2. Zinc3

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, lowers the learning ability, causes apathy, lethargy, and a stunted mental development. To provide your toddler with the requisite Zinc intake, you can add oysters, meat, poultry, and eggs to their diets. For toddlers in vegetarian households cheese, legumes, and peanuts are a good source of Zinc.

3. Iodine4

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.

4. Choline5

Choline is an essential nutrient found in many food sources that plays a critical role in the development of the central nervous system. Choline is responsible for memory and cognitive functions of your child’s brain and is important for cell signalling and message transmission. Some 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 picky 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 like Choline, Iron, Iodine, etc., which are known to support brain development, as well as calcium, Vitamin D, vitamin K & Protein which are known to support physical growth and development. It also contains nutrients such as Vit E, A, selenium & copper to support healthy immune function.

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