The Connection Between Nutrition and Learning
Most of us know that good nutrition habits benefit our bodies. But did you know that nutrition and learning are connected? From immunity, decreasing the risk of diseases, to improving sleep and caring for our nervous systems, healthy eating keeps the body performing at its best.
Proper nutrition ensures that kids have the nutrients needed to come to school ready to learn for children with growing brains!
Nutrition’s Effect On Learning
Children use the majority of their daily energy at school. When children experience a drop in energy levels and don’t eat to replenish their energy, it can affect their learning. Mid-day slumps, decreased attention spans, impaired memory, and other side effects that affect learning become common occurrences.
Along with the side effects above, mental health issues can arise with poor nutrition. Because adolescence is a crucial time for brain development, high sugar consumption and the subsequent increase in stress hormones may trigger mental health problems, like anxiety and depression [source]
Nutrition Tips For Effective Learning
To maintain energy levels throughout the day, be sure to manage blood sugar levels to avoid crashes. For instance, start the day with a balanced breakfast and pack easy-yet-healthy snacks that your child can eat at school. Eating throughout the day keeps blood sugar up.
In other words, for optimal learning and nutrition, incorporate the following into your child’s diet:
- Foods high in Omega-3 fatty acids—found in oily fish, nuts, and seeds
- Whole grains—found in brown rice, oatmeal, and specific bread and pasta
- Calcium—found in dairy products, dark green leafy vegetables
- Choline—found in eggs
- Zinc & Iron—lean meat
- Antioxidants—vegetables, including everyone’s favourite, broccoli, and colourful fruits
Learn more about the effects of each nutrient here.
Learn to Subtract
Our brains shape themselves based on what we eat, therefore it’s crucial to add foods to your child’s diet that will allow their body to perform at its best. Moreover, it’s also essential, to take away the foods that negatively affect growth and development.
Above all, sugars are the most common substance linked to behavioral and learning challenges. Other foods include:
- Fast foods
- Processed meats
- Red meat
- High-fat dairy products
It’s clear to see that nutrition and brain development are deeply connected. Making sure nutrition habits are as healthy as possible will go a long way when it comes to your child’s academic success!
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