Your One Stop Shop To Better Health

4101 Mexico Rd Ste K

Saint Peters, MO 63376-6414

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Sunday: Closed

Nutrition Stop

Vital Nutrients for Children

Helping your child with homework doesn't have to be a drudgery.  Believe it or not, a properly fueled brain can actually turn the homework hour into a pleasant experience.  The brain has only one source of energy: glucose.  Studies have linked breakfast to better school performance, because stable blood sugar levels make children (and adults) smarter.  So, before the homework hour, give your child a meal or snack that includes protein, such as egg salad, tofu spreads, cheese, nuts or nut butters, yogurt protein shake, or a protein bar.  High-carbohydrate foods alone can create a quick energy fix that's followed by a body-and-brain slump.  One study found that fourth grade students with the lowest protein intake had the lowest achievement scores.  In another study, learning-disabled children who were given B vitamins and minerals significantly improved their academic performance.

 

Iron depletion can also pose a problem.  Called the "mental mineral," iron is what enables red blood cells to supply oxygen to the brain.  Meat, poultry, fish, dried fruit, whole grains, egg yolks, leafy green vegetables, nuts and seeds are rich in iron.

 

The right fats also boost mental performance.  DHA, an essential fatty acid found in fish oil, is one fat in particular that can fuel our think tanks.  Try to increase your child's consumption of cold-water fish, such as tuna and salmon.

 

Don't forget the brainpower of water.  Children may not recognize thirst and become dangerously dehydrated, which impairs brain function.  Have your child drink an 8-oz. glass of water (from a bottled source) before doing homework.  A 50 lb. active child needs about 1 qt. of water each day to stay hydrated.

 

Antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables clear cobwebs by gathering free radicals that threaten healthy brain cells.  Blueberries, strawberries and spinach are genuine brain foods.  If your child won't munch on berries or broccoli, try a phytochemical-rich supplement.