Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Nutrition vs. Behavior in Children & Importance of FISH OIL for brain development

I am not a doctor, nutritionist, or dietician. I’m just a former teacher turned stay-at-home-mom who is passionate about education and nutrition. I’m a little bit of a nerd and really enjoy studying and researching nutrition, so I like to share what I learn with others. I recently came across a few articles that I enjoyed and I definitely wanted to pass these articles along to you guys.

I thought this was a really insightful article (you can read it HERE) about the link between boys’ nutrition and behavior. I’ve always known nutrition plays a huge role in our overall health, sleep habits, metabolism, immune function, digestion, ability to focus, etc. However, the more I read and learn, the more I am blown away at how powerful of a role it actually plays.  I remember studying this topic some during grad school as well, but I noticed the impact more on a first-hand basis when I taught for 5 years. There was/is a direct correlation between when the kids ate junk food/candy/dyes and their behavior/hyperactivity/attention span. This was true for both boys and girls. We studied the unique learning needs of boys in my Specialist’s program, and I know that boys often NEED the ability to more around while they are learning.  When I read to Jase, he plays in his room while I read aloud to him, and I know he is still “getting it.” That’s definitely not what I’m talking about here. The article states that “Boys have a 3 times higher need for essential fatty acids than do girls.” There are several other undeniable points to consider about properly feeding our boys’ brains. Parents with little guys, make sure you read that article. If you’re looking for ways to incorporate more essential fatty acids (EFA) and proteins, think nuts/nut butter, eggs, ground flax, and fish. I only have one kiddo so far, but he is an awesome eater. I found with him that incorporating those foods into their diet at an early age was really helpful. We used a method called Baby Led Weaning when Jase was 6 months old (no solids prior to that) to start feeding him real food. An old school thought was to not introduce high allergen foods (peanuts, eggs, etc.) until kids are older. Obviously you don’t give a baby peanuts because of the choking hazard, but after some research (articles like this one called How and Why to Introduce Allergens to Your Infant, based on recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics),we did introduce natural peanut butter and eggs fairly early with Jase. He loves them both and they are a big part of his diet, along with grilled fish & ground flax in his oats. That protein/EFA combo is so important, and especially for boys! (By the way, PRAYER was a big part of that method. We prayed any time we introduced new foods for no choking and no reactions and always watched carefully for both. I wouldn’t recommend trying to use the method without reading the book first. You can order it off Amazon here: Baby-Led Weaning: The Essential Guide to Introducing Solid Foods - and Helping Your Baby to Grow Up a Happy and Confident Eater )


Also, if you are looking for a supplement to run by your doctor (for kids 4+), look into this one.

Purple Champs (Here is the link to the product page)

Purple Champs

Jonathan and I personally take Omegaplex- one of our my favorite products because of the immense benefits for pretty much every system in the body. This is also how I get DHA during pregnancy & breastfeeding. (Any time you are considering prenatals or supplements, you want approval from your physician first, so always check with them. You can take them the product info pages or labels like I did.) Hopefully they are recommending a high quality DHA supplement (in addition to a multivitamin with iron & folic acid) to aid specifically in the baby’s brain development. Super nerd alert: I recently read some of the research in this study and it further confirmed our need for a quality fish oil supplement, particularly during pregnancy and nursing. On page 13 of the research study, it says that “brain development starts early in pregnancy and is largely finished by two years after birth." That means we have a HUGE responsibility as moms because we determine their nutritional choices both in the womb and for their first 2 years of life. Unfortunately, most Americans are not consuming enough omegas in their diet alone and need to supplement. And even more unfortunately (you may want to do your research and check it out), all omega supplements are not created equal. That’s part of why we are so passionate about AdvoCare…the quality.

So, if you read all that, congrats on being super nerdy like me. Ha! Really though, I hope you found some of that info as interesting as I did. Feel free to pass it along to moms you think might be interested to check it out.

**As the disclosure on the article states, “THE INFORMATION CONTAINED ON THIS WEBSITE IS FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO BE A SUBSTITUTE FOR PROFESSIONAL MEDICAL ADVICE, DIAGNOSIS OR TREATMENT.” You definitely want to consult with a physician before taking supplements of any kind for yourself or giving them to your children.


Anna Demko said...

I think nutrition is a direct link to the brain power in any children! If they don't have the right nutrition their body can't develop properly. The same goes for TV time. I think there is a huge correlation between the amount of TV toddlers watch and how fast and well their brain develops and how they are able to make connections, pay attention and occupy themselves. I'm a huge proponent of good quality nutrition and no TV until at least 2!

Happy Medley

Unknown said...

Thank you, Danielle, for this information!! I'm checking this out for CJ.

Unknown said...

Great post and very informative! We love yo' baby and toddler yogurt and smoothies with our little man because of the added DHA it provides. Also Horizion organic whole milk with added DHA. Thanks for the other food examples you gave in your post. We will be trying them out! :)

Unknown said...

Hi there! You don't know me from Adam, but I found your blog through my friend, Amanda's blog. Anyway. I have a friend that is going to start trying to conceive in the next few months. I was telling her that she should start taking folic acid now. After telling her that, I stumbled across this article,, and a few others. What is your opinion about folic acid and pregnancy? I'm just curious for your take on it since you're up on your vitamin game. Thanks-Tab

Amanda P. said...

Hi! Thanks for the tips! I read the article. I didn't see anywhere that said how much of each thing boy's need. My little boy is about the same age as Jace. How much do you try to give him on a daily basis?