There have been so many research and studies about the benefits of omega-3 for children. Another new study, that will aid to the merits of the essential fatty acid was made that links omega-3 levels with the cognitive performance and the behavior of school children. The study that was published in PLOS ONE last June 2013 found that kids with low omega-3 in their blood scored low on standardized tests for reading ability and working memory. The research also showed children having behavioral issues due to low levels of omega-3.
It has long been known that omega-3 fatty acids is essential in normal brain development and brain function. Omega-3 is an essential because the body needs it to work properly but the human body is unable to naturally produce this type of fat, that’s why it is sourced from our diet or through supplements. An adequate supply of omega-3 during pregnancy will help the mother to be healthy and help in developing a normal fetus. The human brain is made up of 40% DHA in omega-3. It helps in the development of the eyes, skin and the nervous system of an infant. Inadequate supply of this essential fat can affect a child's physical, intellectual and emotional development. If you notice, most infant formulas is enriched with DHA because this polyunsaturated fat in omega-3 has cognitive-enhancing properties.
Omega -3 fatty acids play a an important role in the development of the eyes, brain and nervous system and it also improves literacy in healthy kids. It can also reduce the chances of a child developing allergies, respiratory issues and decrease the chance of a child developing behavioral problems like ADHD, dyslexia and dyspraxia.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids Defined
Omega-3 fatty acids are “essential fatty acids” that the body needs in order for it to function normally and properly. Omega-3 fatty acids have three polyunsaturated fats called: ALA (alaphalinolenic acid), EPA (eicosapentaenic acid), DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). Best sources of omega-3 fatty acids are:
- Flax seeds
- Pumpkin seeds
- Olive oil
- Flaxseed oil
- Green leafy vegetables
Experts suggested to enhance a child's diet by adding omega-3 rich foods in their daily or weekly diet. Two servings of fish and vegetables every week is enough to give children adequate levels of omega-3. If you can have your kids eats fish and vegetables 4 times a week, the better. Try to limit foods containing too much sugar and salt because this can affect a child’s behavior and an imbalance in their diet. A study was made about the effects of processed food found out that these types of food can can trick the brain in ways that it resembles an addiction to nicotine and meth. It also showed that a blood sugar spike will decrease plasma glucose and stimulate a region in the brain that is linked to craving. It also showed that a sharp crash of blood sugar will trigger a region in the brain called the nucleus accumbens that is linked to addictive behavior. This addicting behavior can cause kids to be restless, rowdy and develop ADHD.
We always remind growing children to drink their milk, eat their fruits and vegetables but we tend to forget that they also needs other types of food - foods rich in omega-3 which can further enhance kids’ intelligence and behavior. The school can only do enough in enhancing a child's learning ability. As a parent, you need to be as ready and intelligent as possible through omega-3.