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Brain Food for Baby
by: Andrew Loh

This article shows you the brain food that can make your child smarter
Brain development is affected greatly by a baby's nutrition intake. Children who are malnourished will resulted an inadequate brain growth that showing lower IQ, slower language and fine moter development. Before we talk about the kind of food that we need to 'feed' the brain. We probably want to ask ourselves, what is our brain made of?

~ The Building Block of the Brain ~

Our brain is primarily fat, 60% by dry weight! Few people realize how important fat is to a healthy brain. And DHA, the most plentiful fatty acid in the brain, is crucial to brain health, from infancy to old age.

~ DHA ~

Many parents today already heard about the brain food - DHA. If you have not, you may want to pay attention to this.

DHA is shorthand for docosahexaenoic acid. This omega-3 long chain fatty acid is the primary building block of the brain and retina of the eye. The brain is 60% fat, and DHA is the most abundant fatty acid in the brain, comprising 25-35%. DHA is found in even greater concentrations - 50-60% - in the retina. DHA is critical for infant development. Compelling research links DHA to the rapid cerebral cortex and eye development that occurs during pregnancy and in the first few months after birth.

DHA passes through the placenta to the fetus during pregnancy, and to the nursing baby through breast milk. Optimal levels of DHA in the bloodstream of pregnant women and the breast milk of nursing mothers are crucial to babies. In fact, DHA's presence in breast milk may explain why breast-fed babies have demonstrable IQ advantages over babies fed formula without DHA. This is proved by the 21-year study by a research team at Brisbane's University of Queensland. They found that the breastfed children ended up with an intellectual advantage of eight IQ points. One of the explanation by Prof. Najman, the research team leader was "that omega fatty acids found in breast milk may be giving breastfed children an intellectual advantage."

Once we understood the important of DHA presence in breastmilk, one must also realises that the level of DHA vary widely from mother to mother. In fact, the DHA levels in the breastmilk of American women rank among the lowest in the world. Why? Because the level of DHA in the breastmilk is very much depending upon the food intake of the mother. To produce high level of DHA in the breastmilk, the mothers should try to eat as much seafood as possible on the regular basis. And try to breast-feed their children if at all possible.

With the finding of the importance of DHA in brain development, the World Health Organization (WHO) has recommended that DHA be included in infant formulas at levels comparable to those of mothers' milk. Today, you can find many infant formulas are fortified with DHA such as: Frisogrow, Anmum Essential, Enfapro, Dumex ... and many more! Just look for DHA next time when you are buying infant formula. In addition, you can find DHA packaged in the softgel for older children. You can find these products in major pharmacies and there are three products that I've come across: Champs, Kordel's Tuna Oil, Red Sun - BrainMax

You can also ensure your children (and yourself) obtain DHA from the diets. The richest sources of DHA are red meats, animal organs, and eggs. Deep-water fish obtain their DHA from microalgae like salmon, striped bass, rainbow trout, halibut, tuna, sardines, mackerel or fish oil supplements for those whose fish intake is very low. You can also find DHA in plants like green leafy vegetables, soybeans, walnuts, flaxseed and canola oil.

~ DMAE ~

DMAE normally found in small amounts in our brains, DMAE (dimetheyaminoethanol) has been shown to remarkably enhance improvement in learning, mental alertness and clarity of thinking. A study conducted by Dr. Carl Pfeiffer of Princeton, N.J. showed significant improvements in behavior, learning ability, and attention span with 108 boys and girls. Irritability was decreased, scholastic ability was improved and intelligence was actually elevated in some cases. With its ability to improve attention span, DMAE is also alleviates behavior problems and hyperactivity such as ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder).

DMAE is often given credit for having to elevate mood and improve memory and learning. People who have taken DMAE for a period of a few weeks often report an increase in physical energy and less of a need for sleep. Occurring naturally in fish (sardines), you can also find DMAE in tablets/capsule form in major pharmacies. Why is DMAE important? Because, it also increases the levels of the neurotransmitter 'acetylcholine' in the brain. Next...

~ Acetylcholine ~

'Acetylocholine' was the very first neurotransmitter to be identified back in the early 1900s. Acetylcholine is found in the brain and the peripheral nervous system and is an critical element in brain development and it proved to enhance spatial memory and mental focus. Choline is the usual pre- cursor of acetylocholine and Choline influences levels of acetylcholine. One of the infant formula that contains choline is 'ABBOTT GROW'.

~ Ginkgo biloba ~

The last food for brain in this article (there are many others, make sure you follow the subscription to receive more information in the future) is Ginkgo biloba. Ginkgo biloba is the oldest species of tree native to China. Extracts from the leaves of the ginkgo biloba tree has been used medicinally for centuries. Studies showed that ginkgo works by increasing blood flow thoughout the body and brain. Especially, ginkgo biloba improves circulation and oxygen supply to the brain. Thereby improves mental alertness by increasing the brain's alpha wave rhythms and overall brain functioning. You can find Ginkgo biloba tablets in major pharmacies.

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About the Author

Andrew Loh, the editor of 'BrainyZine' newsletter teaches parents to nurture a smarter kid.
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