Did you know that the first 1,000 days of a child’s life, which is roughly the first two years, are the most critical to long-term development? Those first 1,000 days are when the structure of the brain is established. Brain structure determines cognitive function for the rest of one’s life, so it is important to support brain health at an early age.Parents worry a great deal about what they can do to help their kids reach their maximum potential. Supporting brain development is the single most important thing any parent can do for a child. Here is a look at the most effective methods for bolstering brain health in children.
Crucial Brain Foods Support Brain Development
For the brain to develop correctly, the body needs nutrients and raw materials for building neurons, myelin (the substance that surrounds and protects neurons), and the supporting structures that keep the brain healthy and working efficiently. A proper diet for optimal brain health includes the following items.
- Lean protein
- Folate (found in green leafy vegetables)
- Choline (found in eggs, broccoli, and fish)
- Vitamins A, D, B6, and B12
- Long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (e.g. omega-3 fatty acids found in nuts, fish, seeds, and avocado)
Positive, Interactive Relationships Nurture Brain Growth
Research suggests that babies brought up in highly interactive environments do better throughout life. This is particularly true of babies that spend a lot of time interacting with their parents. In early childhood, kids need to be in near constant contact with family, friends, and peers in healthy, highly stimulating spaces.
Parents should focus on helping their children explore their surroundings. It is important to respond to children when they seek attention and work to satiate their curiosity. Developing relationships with parents who have children of the same age is a great way to boost interaction and help baby’s brain grow.
Thymosin Alpha-1 Shows How the Immune System Is Critical to Brain Health
It has long been known that the immune system plays a critical role in early brain development. Recent research using the peptide thymosin alpha-1 has shown that improved immune function and decreased inflammatory reactions in the brain lead to improved neuron growth in mouse models. These same studies of thymosin alpha-1 show that a lack of proper immune function impairs learning and memory. Parents should support their children’s immune system with proper diet, act whenever a child appears ill, and undertake preventative measures to ensure good health during early development when the immune system has its greatest effect on cognitive performance. You can learn more about Thymosin Alpha-1 here;
Beyond diet and illness, sleep is the single most important factor in brain development and health. Sleep is when the body undertakes most of its growth and remodeling, a fact that is particularly true of the brain. Sleep is not only a time when the brain grows, but when it undergoes necessary maintenance, such as the removal of metabolic byproducts. Kids younger than 10 may require up to 12 hours of sleep per day, so make sure baby has a quiet, peaceful place to rest and that any sleep disturbances are addressed immediately.