Brain-friendly diets have been found to help ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) while boosting concentration and IQ. Anastasia Stephens, nutrition advisor to UK Fostering, suggests how foster carers can give children in their care an IQ head start.
Eggs are rich choline and lecithin, substances needed by the brain’s nerve cells and for key ‘messenger molecules.’ One egg contains around 113mg lecithin. Studies have shown that eggs don’t raise levels of bad cholesterol as previously thought.
Ensure children eat 2-3 servings of oily fish per week such as salmon and mackerel. These are rich in Omega-3 fats, needed by the brain’s nerve cells. A study by Durham LEA looking at school performance found those given Omega-3 supplements performed significantly better. Walnuts and pumpkin seeds are also rich in Omega-3 fats.
Avoid sugary foods
Cut out or reduce sugary and refined foods such as white bread, white pasta, cake and pastries. These foods tend to cause sugar high’s and lows and cravings. Your child’s brain is likely to get a sudden energy blast followed by a crash, raising the risk of problems with behaviour and concentration.
Unlike sugar, whole-grains and fresh fruit & veg supply the brain with slow-release sugars and B-vitamins which provide the brain with the continual and consistent energy supply needed for concentration.
Avoid additives & fizzy drinks
Additives may contribute to problems concentrating. Fizzy drinks are loaded with sugar or artificial sweeteners and caffeine which may give an initial brain boost followed by a dive in concentration.
Urs Bielmann, Director of UK Fostering, will be working with foster carers at UK Fostering, the majority of who are fostering in London, to understand the link between hyperactive behaviour and diet. Guidance and support about a healthy diet and lifestyle will be provided to foster carers and children, for example where a child is diagnosed with ADHD.