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Brain power
for bright minds

We never cease to be amazed that our children grow so quickly. In next to no time new trousers become too short and, sometimes sooner than we would expect, we notice that our "little ones" are able to argue their point. As parents we are able not only to contribute to our children's physical growth, but also to significantly influence their intellectual development. In addition to the importance of emotional care, a key role is also played by healthy eating, exercise and relaxation.

Brain power from nutrients

In order to create the best possible conditions for thinking and learning throughout all stages of development, the brain needs more than just oxygen and energy. There are certain other food components that are also important for good performance and a good ability to learn. Scientists have coined the phrase “brain food” for these specific nutrients that boost brain development.

Omega-3 fatty acids

The brain is an organ that needs a large amount of unsaturated fatty acids, such as omega (Ω)-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are the main provider of structure in the brain tissue and are involved in the construction of nerve cells, neural pathways and cell walls. These fatty acids therefore make up a significant part of the intellectual “hardware”.  Neural networks are continually developed and expanded throughout a person’s lifetime. In addition to providing structure, omega-3 fatty acids also play an important role in signal transmission. They are involved in binding and releasing messenger substances and thus the targeted control of the data flow.

The most important sources of omega-3 fatty acids in food are fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, herring, tuna and sardines.

“Membrane component” Omega-3 fatty acids

Iron and zinc

Iron is a trace element that is very important for the brain, and not just because of its role in the transport of oxygen. Iron contributes to normal cognitive development in children because it is involved in both the development of our “brain hardware” and also the targeted flow of information (formation of messenger substances). Important sources of iron include meat, pulses and spinach. Zinc is a mineral with important roles in a child’s immune system as it protects the body against oxidative stress and has been proven to contribute to normal cognitive functioning in adults. We obtain zinc in particular from milk, cheese and wholegrain products.

A balanced diet is important for a child’s intellectual development

Healthy eating is often difficult

Children love to eat anything that tastes good. Unfortunately, healthy food does not always coincide with what our children call “good”. And many people – including many children – are not fond of the taste of fish.

Avoiding fish means avoiding omega-3 fatty acids.

Omega-3 fatty acids are an important constituent of the nerve cells. It is therefore vital that a sufficient amount of fish is consumed: children should eat fish 1–2 times per week. However, it has been revealed that our children consume much less (fatty) fish than the amounts recommended by health organisations. According to the DONALD study, for example, only 38% of children and young people eat fish. The proportion of fatty sea fish, which is particularly rich in omega-3 fatty acids, is merely 10%.

Fatty sea fish = important source of omega-3 fatty acids