Brain development in early childhood
A newborn baby is born with hundred billion brain cells .
Cell formation is mostly completed by birth.
Brain maturation, formation of the neural pathways and intrinsic connections continue to develop throughout one’s life.
But the plasticity of the brain, the ability to learn, is most exceptional in the first 5 years of life.
Later in life ,this remarkable quality may be diminished.But with training our brain retains the ability to learn new things.
The more new things you learn the more new connections your brain cells make.
Learning new things is a popular way of preventing the brain from growing old.
It’s when you stop learning that you grow old!
How do doctors assess brain development?
Doctors access brain development in in childhood ,upto 6 years of age ,by the occipito-frontalis head circumference.
It is used for measuring adequacy of brain development (roughly) in children.
Protein- energy ,iron ,zinc,long chain fatty acids polyunsaturated fatty acid ,help in the normal functioning of the brain .
During pregnancy :
Most important nutrients for brain development and function as Folic acid. It is required for the neural tube development.
During early pregnancy other nutrients needed are :
Long chain poly unsaturated fatty acids.
Essential amino acids tryptophan and tyrosine present in first class proteins are important for production of brain
The neurotransmitters are chemicals which help relay info, control our moods ,regulate our systems ,control our body temperature ,help us understand pain and teach our brain to think.
Any irregularities in production ,or use of these chemicals can have serious Neuro- psychiatric and developmental consequences.
Nutrients required for the development of the brain:
Long chain poly and saturated fatty acids Vitamin D ,A
I explain in detail here, about the sources of these nutrients.
Dietary nutrients influence the chemistry and the function of the developing as well as the mature brain .
What is the best food at breakfast for optimum brain function?
Composition of meals and the time of meal are both important. The brain has limited store of glucose that lasts for 10 minutes .
Food that release carbohydrate slowly is associated with better brain function.
Brain is one of the most metabolically active organ in the body.
It unfortunately has very limited energy sources.
The only source of energy for the brain ,is glucose.
Your diet should thus always contain ,low glycaemic index carbs ,to give the brain a gradual , constant source of energy .
Carbohydrates with low glycemic index for breakfast ,give children the ability to perform better at school.
Cognitive development of the brain is influenced by the type of breakfast the child has.
Ideal breakfast food :
Cereal and pulse combination with protein added work best.
- Idli -Dosa
- Vegetable Upma
- Whole wheat bread with egg
- Roti -sabzi
- Whole grain sandwich
- Oats porridge
Plan your families breakfast with care.What you feed them for breakfast ,decides how well their brain works!