Health: Nutrition Experts reveal the key nutrients needed for learning
How food can impact on a child’s learning.
Currently, around 130 million school children across the globe lack sufficient nutrition to learn basic literacy, according to food charity, Charity Right.
As living costs rise and families look to cut back where they can, experts stress the importance of proper nutrition for children’s brain development and learning abilities.
The release includes expert comments from the charity’s CEO, Sajad Mahmood, in conjunction with two nutritionists – Jenaed Brodell and Verena Dickson.
Primary school years are vital for cognitive development and acquiring core life skills.
Yet, 130 million school children across the globe are unable to develop these skills due to a lack of nutrition.
Without proper nourishment, memory, attentiveness and learning are all affected. In fact, malnourished children score around seven per cent lower in math and are 19 per cent less likely to be able to read by age eight.
Some nutrients are particularly important for the brain, say experts.
Dickson explains, “Minerals like iron, zinc, magnesium and iodine; vitamin D; B vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids” are key.
Brodell reveals that fatty acids aren’t produced by the body, and so must be consumed through food.
“These fats help build cells, regulate the nervous system, strengthen the cardiovascular system, build immunity, and help the body absorb nutrients.”
Iron is also necessary for physical growth, neurological development, cellular functioning, and synthesis of some hormones which is particularly important in periods of growth and development.
Carbohydrates are equally important, as “Our brains primary fuel source is glucose, which comes from carbohydrate consumption. Therefore, in order for a child to concentrate, adequate amounts of carbohydrate are vital”
Where possible, a steady consumption of foods, such as fish, broccoli and berries are suggested by experts at Charity Right to improve a child’s cognitive functions and memory.
However, with food prices rising, experts are becoming increasingly aware of how this may impact children’s learning.
“For many families, it is not that they choose not to eat these foods — it’s that they can’t afford them. Meats, fish, and fresh vegetables can be expensive.”