As we head into the first few weeks of the school year, our kids face the often daunting task of coming back from “summer amnesia.” With two teens of my own, I know first hand how challenging it can be to switch back into intense school mode after leisurely hours spent at camp, hanging by the pool, late nights watching movies, and a diet of snack food indulgences.
Giving your kids an extra edge may prove easier than you think thanks to a new web-based program called BrainFuel – designed to maximize our children’s learning potential. BrainFuel4Kids.com aims to help take your child’s learning to the next level. Research suggests key changes in diet, exercise, and sleep can enhance cognitive abilities, and BrainFuel thus offers sections like “Brain Food,” “Healthy Brain,” and “Brain Games,” aimed at engaging kids and Moms alike. The site provides us Moms as much benefit as our kids, featuring a forum to give parents a chance to discuss what works and what doesn’t with our kids this school year. Some of my favorite features include:
• Explanations for our kids in answer to their complaints, “Why vitamins?!”: “The brain is the greediest organ in your body – greedier than the spleen or stomach, even greedier than the heart” and other “why?!” questions.
• Challenging games for kids from Lumosity.com, designed to promote quicker thinking, better concentration, and improved memory.
• Recipes that give your kids the right balances of carbs and protein, and help understanding those complicated nutritional labels.
Dr. Fernando Gómez-Pinilla, UCLA Professor of Neurosurgery and Physiological Science who has spent years studying the brain says,
- “Diet, exercise and sleep have the potential to alter our brain health and mental function. This raises the exciting possibility that changes in diet are a viable strategy for enhancing cognitive abilities.”1
We’ve pulled together this information that we hope will help you make the right nutritional choices to maximize your child’s learning potential.
Of course this is not an exact science – watch your children closely to see which foods enhance their behavior and performance and which do the opposite. A diary can help you track results over time.
The approximate weight of a human brain is three pounds8