Kid’s Brain Health: Recipes to feed their needs!
If you have a child that eats, this blog post is for you! Running a real food, household takes time, planning, and lots of preparation. You have to be committed in order to consistently make it happen every day.
The best way to find this commitment is to root it for a purpose. Telling yourself, that it is because your kids should eat healthily is not enough of a purpose. Connect it to something bigger, something super meaningful, something so powerful that you will find the motivation to make it happen despite tantrums or complaints that may be thrown your way as a result.
You are in charge of what is on your kids’ plates, you control the options presented to them. If you have junk food in the house, don’t expect them to choose otherwise. Create an environment that guarantees success, for you and for them!
Being a mom is probably one of the most difficult and rewarding jobs on the planet. Trust me, I know about the difficulties, I am FAR from perfect, and learning every day!
Let’s explore what children need for optimal brain development:
DHA and EPA
Vitamin A is necessary for proper function of vision, reading portions of DNA, proper growth and development of cells (including red blood cells) and bone formation. It is necessary for balancing immune cell function which reduces development of autoimmune disease
SOURCES: (retinoid, animal foods) beef and chicken liver, cod liver oil, shrimp, pastured eggs and raw cow’s milk
ANIMAL FOOD RECIPES:
SOURCES: (carotenoids, plant foods) Orange sweet potatoes, carrots, pumpkin, spinach, winter squash, collards and kale.
PLANT FOOD RECIPES:
Vitamin D is necessary for bone formation and immune system function.
SOURCES: pastured lard, cold-water fatty fish, organ meats, mushrooms, cod liver oil and pastured egg yolk.
Choline is key in the development of cell membranes. It forms the structure for a neurotransmitter, acetylcholine, which is involved in heart health, gut motility, and muscle movement.
SOURCES: fish, shellfish, liver, eggs, poultry, and leafy and non-leafy green vegetables.
DHA AND EPA
Omega 3 fatty acids come from plants, alpha-linoleic acid (ALA), and from animals docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA).
Omega 3 fats are essential to health, from proper fetal development to healthy aging.
DHA is found in plenty in the brain and retina.
There is evidence that mothers who use EPA and DHA supplementation during pregnancy may protect their children against allergies. This is true for food allergy and food sensitivity associated with eczema.
SOURCES: salmon, halibut, sardines, pastured eggs, grass-finished beef.
Not all oils are the same. Certain oils, including safflower, sunflower, soy, and canola oil are refined sources of omega 6 fatty acids, and exposure should be minimized. This is because of the connection of omega 6 to inflammation.
Limiting whole food sources of omega 6 including avocados, poultry, pork, and nuts is not necessary.
Omega 6 sources to minimize: Safflower, sunflower, corn, and soy oils.
Zinc helps your immune system, cell growth, and wound healing.
SOURCES: oysters, beef, pork, dark meat chicken, nuts, and legumes
Oysters are one of the richest sources of zinc. This is a simple and delicious way to incorporate them into your kid’s diet.
Tryptophan is an essential amino acid that the body requires to synthesize proteins and special molecules such as the neurotransmitter serotonin. Serotonin appears to play significant roles in sleep, emotional moods, pain control, inflammation, digestion, and other body functions.
In relation to a child’s developing brain, tryptophan helps with attention and focus. The neurotransmitter serotonin (made from tryptophan) help to relax the brain.
SOURCES: Cage-free eggs, spirulina, wild-caught helps fish (cod, salmon), pastured poultry, organic (preferably raw) dairy, sesame seeds, cashews and walnuts, grass-fed beef or lamb, 100% whole grain brown rice, oats, corn or quinoa, beans/legumes (chickpeas, green peas) potatoes, and bananas.
Glycine: is an amino acid which plays a major role in connective tissue growth and repair, immune function, inflammation, digestion, detoxification, blood sugar regulation, muscle repair and growth, healthy function of the CNS, mental alertness, memory, mood and stress reduction. Consuming an abundance of dietary glycine is critical for proper healing, growth and fighting inflammation.
Let’s talk about connective tissue:
Along with proline, glycine is a key component of connective tissue.
Children are growing and developing at a rapid rate. Healthy connective tissue ensures a sturdy foundation.
There are many types of connective tissue, glycine and proline are noticeable in most. From joint cartilage to organs, muscles, arteries and cell structure.
SOURCES: bone broth, any animal tissue that has more connective tissue is typically higher in glycine, including skin, joints and any meat you eat off the bone as well as chuck roasts. Collagen supplements such as vital proteins and great lakes gelatin are two widely used sources of glycine.
I am not a physician and none of this information is intended to serve as medical advice. All sources are cited below.
Swanson, Danielle, Robert Block, and Shaker A. Mousa. “Omega-3 Fatty Acids EPA and DHA: Health Benefits Throughout Life.” Advances in Nutrition 3.1 (2012): 1–7. PMC. Web. 6 Jan. 2018
The Paleo Approach, By, Sara Ballantne, p 196-198.