Physical Fitness May Make Kids Smarter, Try These Foods Too!

A new study, published in the journal NeuroImage, shows that physical fitness in children may increase the volume of grey matter in specific brain regions, which can help in improving their academic performance. The study examined over 100 overweight children and found that aerobic capacity is linked with greater grey matter volume in regions that are important for learning, motor and visual processes.
The research links motor ability with higher grey matter volume in two regions essential for language processing and reading: the inferior frontal gyrus and the superior temporal gyrus. However, muscular strength did not show any independent association with gray matter volume in any brain region.

The grey matter volume in the cortical and subcortical regions influenced by physical fitness improves in turn the children’s academic performance, said Irene Esteban-Cornejo, postdoctoral researcher at the University of Granada.

Researchers conclude that physical fitness is a factor that can be modified through exercise, and combining exercises that improve aerobic capacity and motor ability would be an effective approach to stimulate brain development and academic performance in kids who are obese or overweight. Your diet can also play a crucial role in improving your brain power. Here are five healthy foods to include in your child’s diet to sharpen their memory and boost brain development.

1. Foods rich in Vitamin C: Vitamin C has long been associated with mental agility. Add a whole lot of citrus fruits such as oranges and lemons to their diet. Also, some other foods such as broccoli and bell peppers are known to contain more Vitamin C than oranges.

2. Walnuts: Brain-shaped walnuts are a good source of omega-3 and other essential nutrients crucial for brain functioning and memory skills.

3. Seeds: Pumpkin seeds are loaded with zinc that play a great role in sharpening your memory. Sunflower seeds are good sources of Vitamin E which is crucial in giving your brainpower a significant boost.

4. Green Vegetables: From broccoli, kale, to spinach – green vegetables are full of iron, Vitamin E, K and B9 (folate) which are extremely important for brain cell development. Vitamin K is known to be helpful in cognitive enhancement and increasing mental alertness.

5. Whole grains: These are considered to be the powerhouse of energy and help you keep alert and focus better. While consuming whole grains, energy is released in the body in form of sugar which assists our brain in functioning properly.

Food is the fuel that your body needs to function well. Make sure you provide a balance of all the nutrients that your child needs during the growing phase.