Nutrition is an important factor in brain development particularly during the early stages of life. According to Rosales (190), proper nutrition is critical during the first three years of a child’s life because their quickly developing brain exhibit a great deal of plasticity. This means that nutritional insufficiency can have significant implications on normal brain development thereby perpetuating serious and irreversible developmental problems. This paper explores the impact that nutrition can have on developing brain.
The impact of nutrition on developing brain
The impact that nutrition can have on developing brain begins during pregnancy and continues into infancy as well as the first three years of a child’s life. According to Rosales (191), a baby’s developing brain usually require amino acids to create neurotransmitters that enables brain cells to coordinate with each other. Insufficiency in amino acids may affect a baby’s brain’s ability to coordinate activities such as sleeping and alertness. A baby’s developing brain also requires calories to hasten the development of psychomotor skills. As explained by Rosales (194), lack of calories denies a baby’s developing brain with the required energy to build motor skills, including language, vision as well as social cognition. Fats are critical in development of vision as well as intelligence. Insufficiency in fats affects the developing brain by lowering a child’s vision and IQ. Minerals such as iron are important in promoting development of brain tissue. Deficiency in iron lowers the movement of nerve impulses, which in return lowers psychomotor development (Rosales 196). Iodine deficiency affects developing brain by lowering the level of cognition, which may eventually affect a child’s performance in school (Rosales 197).
In order to promote proper brain development, parents have a role in ensuring that their children are eating properly. This can be realized by ensuring that they replace unhealthy food with healthy ones. For instance, parents can get rid of junk foods and instead ensure that they have a rich supply of healthy foods that are rich in all nutrients needed for proper brain development (Rosales 199). Parents can as well reduce, rather than eliminating, the amount of junk food their children eat every day. This will suppress the children’s urge to seek for junk foods outside homes, which may affect their eating habits (Rosales 201). Parents should also ensure an ample supply of fruits and vegetables while limiting the amount of starch available at a main meal (Rosales 202).
Nutrition is critical for brain development in that it enhances psychomotor, cognitive and social development. Lack of certain nutrients limits the brain’s ability to develop properly. Parents are thus responsible for ensuring that their children eat properly by replacing unhealthy foods with healthy ones, reducing junk foods, increasing the amount of fruits and vegetables at main meals and reducing the amount of starch served during each meal.
Rosales, Francisco. “Understanding the Role of Nutrition in the Brain & Behavioral Development of Toddlers and Preschool Children: Identifying and Overcoming Methodological Barriers”, Nutr Neurosci, 12.5(2009):190-202.