For optimal brain performance, feed your child these foods

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By Ijeoma Ugwu

AS families prepare to send their children back to school, it is still essential that attention is paid to the intellectual preparedness of our children and wards. In the light of this, the foods that help to boost the brain in readiness for learning will be discussed. The need for local content will be emphasized in this write-up, for what does it profit a man if he knows all the right foods but cannot access them.

  • Ijeoma Ugwu is a mother and Belgium-trained Nutritionist/Food Scientist. She is the founder of Brainfoods for Guts and Psychology.

Dark green leafy vegetables

CALL it efo, green, ugwu, bitter leaves, potato   leaves, cassava leaves, lettuce, cabbage, bamboo leaves and lots more, these are all available and affordable. Use them extensively in your porridges, gravies and main dishes. You can use steamed spinach as a side dish for your rice dish for example.

They are very rich in vitamins A, C, K and folates. Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology have   linked the presence of vitamin K to slower cognitive decline on regular consumption of leafy vegetable.


NUTS are essentially rich in oil and vitamin E. Nuts in season and highly affordable is the fresh groundnut. Cashew nuts and walnuts are available but relatively expensive.

According to  research, good intake of vitamin E might help to prevent cognitive decline. A recent research has also found that walnut activates an area of the brain, the right insula which regulates hunger and cravings.

Oily fish

THE benefit of oily fish to brain health is attributed to the abundance of omega-3 fatty acid in them. Based on a   Study published on the Journal of Alzheimer’s Diseases, higher consumption of omega-3 fatty acids seem to increase blood flow to areas of the brain linked to learning, memory and depression. The fish we generally know as titus fish is classed as an oily fish.

Whole grains

IT prevents the early onset of hunger by releasing energy gradually. The best shot at whole grain foods locally is the whole grain wheat that is ground and made into fufu. There is the brown rice that is fast coming into vogue. There are also breakfast cereals that families can utilise as sources of whole grain foods. When whole grain bread is found, they are usually too expensive for the average family.

With all the above incorporated in our children’s diet for this school year, we are sure to see happier and better articulate children.


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