Foods rich in DHA are great for your child’s development
Ensuring that your child eats healthy meals can be quite a task, however, when you are sure that the content they are consuming is right for their bodies, you will definitely be at peace. A lot of snacks and foods out there can tell that they are “healthy” for your kids, whereas they are actually unhealthy for their brain and overall development.
Do you know that DHA is an important nutritional benefit for every growing child? Hence you should ensure that the foods they consume is safe and age-appropriate.
DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid) is a type of omega 3 fat, says Amarachi Nwankwere, a Nutritionist. Omega 3 fatty acids are essential part of our diet and can be found in foods like oil-rich fish, fish oil, nuts plus fortified foods like eggs, breads and fruit juices.
DHA is a fatty acid that can be found in the meat of cold water fish including mackerel, tuna etc. The body can only make a small amount of DHA from other fatty acids, so we need to consume it directly from food or supplement.
Nwankwere said that consumption of diet with adequate DHA improves dry eyes and diabetic eye disease (retinopathy). It may also decrease contact lens discomfort and reduce eye pressure, a risk factor for glaucoma.
DHA is naturally concentrated in the retina of the eye – the layer of the tissue that lines the inside of the eye and receives the image formed by the lens and thought to promote healthy retinal function.
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (AJCN), in one of the results published in February 2001, indicates that eating larger amounts of fish or Omega 3s may help to promote muscular health (caused by deterioration of the retina and can severely impair vision).
While stressing the importance of DHA for kids, Nwankwere said Omega-3 fatty acids dominant in DHA are a crucial component of a healthy diet. They are integral to many aspects of health, including fetal development, brain function, heart health, and immunity.
DHA is an important nutrient that the body cannot produce; hence it can only be gotten from foods. These essential fats are especially important for children, as they play a key role in growth and development and are associated with numerous health benefits
“DHA is one of the good fats the body needs. Its job is to go straight to tissues, like those in the brain, and keep them functioning to the best of their ability. It contains all the necessary vitamins, minerals, proteins and other nutrients to meet the needs of children which meets the needs of every growing child.”
Healthy food options include fresh vegetables and fruits, milk, a perfect choice for your toddlers include fish, whole-grain cereals and bread. Other foods your child should eat are:
Yogurt: Dairy products are a great source of protein and carbohydrates for the brain. Dairy is also an excellent source of vitamin D, which children and teens need in greater amounts than adults.
Beans: They are good for children’s brains because they contain protein, complex carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. They also keep energy levels high in your child.
Oatmeal: Rich in fiber and Vitamin E, it is a nutrient known to boost the memory and it is also filling. It can be made for breakfast, swallow or any soup and cookies as snacks.
Vegetables: They are high in iron, an essential brain-building nutrient for children. You can make them into smoothies or add to rice or porridge for your kids.
Peanuts butter: It is high in protein, fats, and traces of glucose. It can be made at home by grinding peanuts or cashew nuts into a paste, then incorporate into children’s meals.