We as parents are always concerned about our kids and want the best for them. You would have seen advertisements mentioning that a product has DHA. Have you ever wondered what DHA exactly is? Why it is important for your child? This infographic will help you understand how DHA can make your kid smart.
DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) is an Omega-3 fatty acid essential for the all-round development of your kid. This nutrient is also known as the “brain food.” It ensures that the cells in the brain, eyes, and heart develop and function properly.
Importance of DHA in child’s brain development
DHA forms approximately 35% of the structured fats in the gray matter of the brain and 97% of the Omega-3s in the brain. It is the major structural component of the cerebral cortex. It is the building blocks of brain cell membranes and nerve cells.
The human brain is approximately 60% fat, which determines the brain’s integrity and its ability to perform. An imbalance of the essential fatty acids is directly related to impaired brain performance and disorders like depression, dementia, and ADHD (attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder). This makes it a very important nutrient in your child’s diet for brain development.
It keeps the cell membranes soft and flexible. It holds the receptors in place. The soft and flexible membranes are capable of altering the shape of receptors. This facilitate the smooth transmission of information between neurons and develops neuroplasticity
What calcium is for bones, DHA is for the brain. From their IQ to face recognition, better eye–hand coordination, to giving a jumpstart to the production of hormones that are vital for brain development. Pregnant and breastfeeding mothers should also take optimum amount of this nutrient. It ensures better brain development of the fetus and prevents postpartum depression.
It is an essential element to build and preserve cognitive and mental health of your child. It facilitates neurotransmitter activity, optimizing the use of feel-good neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine. It also increases the level of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which improves spatial memory and the focus span of your child.
The main food source of DHA is seafood, like salmon, mackerel, herring, sardines, and bluefin tuna. The vegetarian options are broccoli, cauliflower, and leafy green vegetables like spinach, kale, and collard greens. Papaya is one of the few fruits that contains a high percentage of Omega-3 fatty acid.
Most of our child’s brain is developed by the age of 5 years. Proper nutrition in their diet plays a key role in his/her overall development. Eating habits influence your child’s memory, concentration, comprehension, judgment, intellect, mood, and emotions. Remember “to eat is a necessity but to eat intelligently is an art.” So, inculcate right eating habits and make sure your child gets the optimal level of DHA in his/her food.
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