When the time to transition your baby into the world of solids is around the corner, you should think about the right nutrition. It is important to focus on the best foods for baby brain development.
Many factors are responsible for sustaining good brain development and cognitive function in your baby, but it is undeniable that a proper intake of food and essential nutrients plays the most important role of them all.
As nutrients play an important role in how your child thinks and acts, it is important to pick the right foods in order to provide your child with the necessary nutrition for proper brain growth.
12 Best Foods for Baby Brain Development
To make your task easier, we are providing you a list of 12 best foods for baby brain development. Try to include these foods that make baby smart.
1. Greek yogurt for baby brain development
Greek yogurt is very beneficial for the increased brainpower of the child 1. Yogurt is among the most popular foods across the globe. Being rich in calcium, protein, and healthy amounts of fat and a valuable source of nutrients, Greek yogurt also helps improve the baby’s brain development.
Greek yogurt, along with its rich, creamy texture and complex vitamins, helps keep brain cells flexible and is therefore easily one of the best foods for baby brain development. Not to mention their very appealing taste, as it is sure to leave your child wanting more every time.
Avocado<sup>2</sup> is considered a super fruit when it comes to the brain development of the baby. Due to its soft, creamy texture, mashed avocado is a popular first food for babies. Avocado is a nutrient-dense fruit. It contains healthy fats that promote blood flow to the brain and contributes to brain cell development.
It is also rich in Vitamin K, another element that helps with baby brain development. Therefore, avocado can be considered as one of the best foods for baby brain development.
Avocados also contain oleic acid. This element is very important for the protection of myelin, the layer that covers the nerves. Myelin helps with the quick transmission of electrical impulses. Therefore, avocado is also a great way to improve baby brain development during pregnancy.
Related Reading: 18 Foods To Eat To Increase Fetal Weight During Pregnancy
It is found that cheese <sup>3</sup> contains vitamins for child brain development. Being generally softer and lighter in terms of texture and taste, cheese is often introduced rather early into a child’s palette. Cottage cheese, in particular, is a popular choice.
As it is a great source of calcium, protein, and certain essential vitamins for child brain development, it is an excellent choice of food to increase your child’s brainpower.
There are, however, rather overwhelming varieties of cheese, and not all of them may be a suitable source of nutrition and brain development in early life. It is therefore advisable to consult a pediatrician.
4. Whole grain porridge
Growing evidence shows that the whole-grains<sup>4</sup> play an important role in the brain development of babies. Whole grains are a rich source of various essential nutrients and fiber and can be a very effective addition to your child’s early foods.
Mixing whole grains such as oatmeal and barley, made to a fine powder and boiled in water to make porridge, with breast milk, yogurt, or fruits offers a rich and delicious meal and is sure to help make baby intelligent after birth.
Being rich in vitamins, antioxidants, and fiber, whole grain porridge is also a great source of energy for your child and also greatly helps them concentrate. Whole grain porridge is best served for breakfast in order to provide your child with a steady supply of energy throughout the day.
Eggs, and particularly yolks, are an excellent source of nutrition. It contains vitamins like D, B12, B6 and elements like copper, iron, and zinc. It also contains omega 3 fatty acids. In short, they are a storehouse of nutrition and can quite easily be regarded as one of the best foods for baby brain development.
Eggs are rich in choline. Studies have confirmed the ability of choline to boost the brainpower of babies. Therefore, it is important to include eggs in your baby’s diet.
However, it is generally not advisable to give egg whites to your child until they are 8-12 months of age, in case of allergies. Some pediatricians encourage parents to feed their children eggs by the time they are six months old, as this greatly reduces the risk of having an allergy.
6. Nuts and nut butters
You might be wondering how beneficial the highly proclaimed nuts be for your baby brain development. Nuts boost the brain development of babies <sup>5</sup>. Also, nut butter like Almond butter contains essential nutrients like zinc, healthy fats, and proteins that play a crucial role in developing the baby’s brain.
Nuts and seeds (like sunflower seeds) contain Vitamin E and omega 3 fatty acids that greatly nourish the baby’s brain and help improve concentration and help protect the brain from oxidative stress. Hazelnuts, almonds, peanuts, and so on are some really great nuts for brain development. Walnuts, too, are good for the baby’s brain.
Similar to eggs, nuts are also generally introduced fairly early into the child’s palette in order to reduce the risk of allergies.
However, it is greatly recommended to take extra caution with nuts such as peanuts and even consult a dietician or pediatrician beforehand, as a peanut allergy is among the most common allergies to exist, and neglecting it will put your child at great risk.
7. Apples- the superfood for brain development
Apples are a superfood, as it is a rich source of antioxidants and is one of the first foods introduced to a baby. It is found that quercetin, an element found in apples, helps to stimulate brain activity<sup>6</sup>
Being one of the most commonly available and richest sources of nutrients, apples are among the best foods for baby brain development. The rich sweet taste of a nice, juicy apple is also sure to entice your baby. And as the saying goes, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.”
8. Lentils and sweet potatoes
Lentils are a readily available and extremely popular food item on the eastern side of the world and can exist in one of many forms. They are rich in iron, fiber, and protein, and are soft and, as they don’t require soaking, easy to cook. Loaded with B vitamin folate, lentils are well known for strengthening brain power<sup>7</sup>
Sweet potatoes, being rich in Vitamin A, greatly help modulate neurogenesis and help in the child’s brain functionality. They are a wonderful source of nutrition for the brain, as recommended by even the Department of Molecular Nutrition. Like lintels, mashed sweet potatoes can also be easily added to the baby’s diet
Because of these reasons, lentils and sweet potatoes, often together, are counted as one of the best foods for baby brain development.
9. Leafy greens
Leafy greens are a vastly popular, even universal addition to any healthy diet. leafy greens are well known for their brain power boosting ability<sup>8</sup>. It may be no secret that leafy green vegetables like kale, spinach, chard, and so on are highly nutritious.
They are, in fact, among the best foods for baby brain development, as they are rich in lutein, a specifically brain-boosting nutrient. Spinach, kale, and other green, leafy vegetables are rich in Vitamin K, a great contributor to positive brain activity.
Spinach, mint, cabbage, and kale contain medicinal properties greatly lower your child’s risk of being affected by dementia. The rich antioxidant content in kale and spinach also helps in cell growth and sharper thinking.
All these makes leafy greens a fine, even essential part of your child’s diet. Soups and purees are healthy ways to incorporate leafy greens into a baby’s diet.
In general, fish are great sources of Vitamin D and omega-three fatty acids that help protect the brain from memory loss and other mental diseases. Therefore, it is highly recommended that you make certain of giving your child tuna, sardines, and other nutrient-rich fish.
According to the New York times, fatty fish like Salmon in particular, which are rich in omega-three fatty acids and DHA, help aid the growth and function of a baby’s brain and vastly accelerate cognitive development. Fish like Salmon is also rich in protein, which can help brain growth and increase metabolism.
One of the most commonly asked questions is, “Are walnuts good for a baby’s brain?” As mentioned earlier, nuts are indeed a great source of nutrients and immensely helpful in improving your child’s brain functionality and cognitive skills.
Walnuts, in particular, boast rich amounts of omega 3 fatty acids and DHA, which protect the health of new-born babies’ brains and improve their concentration levels as well. This makes them a wonderful addition to your child’s diet. Ever noticed they are designed by nature like a brain?
12. Whole grain foods
Whole-grain foods <sup>9</sup>like rice, barley, millet, oatmeal, and so on have a plethora of health benefits and can greatly help in your baby’s brain development, as mentioned earlier. They also greatly help reduce the risk of, if not preventing, diseases like heart disease and diabetes and greatly aid weight loss.
Being rich in Vitamin E and antioxidants, whole grain foods also reduce the risk of contracting Alzheimer’s disease. In babies they can improve concentration and also provide a steady flow of energy. Studies show that the best time to serve whole-grain foods is for breakfast, as it helps keep your child alert and energetic throughout the day.
Though these are generally the food items that provide your baby with the proper nutrition for brain development, the food that you ought to consider can vary depending on where you live, what is available, and most importantly, on your child.
As allergies are becoming increasingly common in children, it is highly recommended that you consult a professional – a dietician or pediatrician before devising the most suitable diet plan that would be the most beneficial to your child.
It is also worth noting that though a healthy, nutritious diet can go a long way in helping your baby’s brain development, it isn’t everything. It is also important to provide a safe and stimulating environment for your child and regularly exercising their concentration and cognitive capabilities.