As the school bells start ringing and your children return to school, they may start to experience what is known as “summer brain drain.” This is a time frame during the first few weeks of school where children settle back into the routine of school. During this time, they also start remembering the things that they forgot over the summer.
According to a study conducted by Pop Warner and DSM Nutritional Products, 78% of the parents surveyed expressed concern about their children’s difficulty in retaining what they learned from the previous year of school over the summer.
As society becomes more health conscious, more parents are beginning to understand the role of nutrition in academic and physical performance. However, they don’t often take into account how nutrition is important in keeping the mind sharp.
Many parents admit that they have their children take vitamins and other health supplements to aid in proper nutrition, but most still admit that they aren’t clear about which nutrients are good for the health of the brain.
Another interesting point that they found in the study is that parents tend to focus much more on nutrition and healthy, well-rounded diets that support extracurricular activities and sports. The vitamins and essential nutrients to support their child’s brain health was ranked significantly lower on the priority list.
“Nutrition plays a very important role in the health of your child’s brain year round,” says Elizabeth Somer, an acclaimed registered dietitian, author and nutritionist. Elizabeth Somer offered some important tips to help keep your students’ minds sharp as they head back into this school year, which I have listed below.
1. Eat Fatty Fish Or Supplement Omega-3s – 2 or 3 times a week, it is important to supplement these fats in order to maintain a healthy, growing brain. Both children and adults can see an increase in mental facilities by eating 2 servings of fatty fish, such as salmon, each week.
2. Keep A Variety Of Healthy Food Options In The House – Give your children many different choices while teaching them to take care of their bodies. Creating these habits young will help with long-term good health in your family.
If eating a lot of fruits and vegetables is new to your family, that’s okay, you are not alone. When I was a kid, my mother taught us one trick to help balance out a meal – variety of color. The different colors often contain different important nutrients for the body. While eating a lot of greens is good, you will want to add other colors onto your plate to make sure you are getting all of the different nutrients that you need.
Elizabeth Somer also recommends that you stock your kitchen with a good variety of colors of fruits and veggies such as berries, bananas and baby carrots for snacks while having broccoli, mashed sweet potatoes and green peas for dinner. These foods contain important nutrients for the brain.
3. Supplement With A Multivitamin – We understand that some kids are picky. They may resist eating certain foods that would provide the nutrients they need in their well-rounded diet.
Talk with your healthcare or registered dietitian about whether you or your children would benefit from supplementing their diet with a multivitamin. According to the Journal of Nutrition, only about 10% of Americans get the nutrients they need from food. Supplements may fill those gaps in your family’s health.
Try out these techniques and let us know in the comments below what you do to support your families brain health.