The idea is to ensure that the small ones have, in the first thousand days of life, the nutrients necessary for a healthy mind throughout life.
The February issue of Pediatrics , published by the American Association of Pediatrics (AAP), brings a recommendation about the child’s eating , especially in the first thousand days of life. This period, which goes from gestation to 2 years of age of the small, is considered crucial for the development of the brain and the lack of some nutrients disrupts this process.
The idea of the organization is to ensure that doctors no longer just indicate a “good diet” and start checking if pregnant and infants are receiving specific substances. That is, it is not enough to be fed, but also to have a menu that includes the so-called micronutrients , such as vitamins and minerals.
The studies quoted in the publication show that children who get the right amount of these molecules early in life do better at reasoning, knowledge, reading, and vocabulary tests, and demonstrate faster processing of information.
On the other hand, the lack of them, also called hidden hunger , is associated with poor school performance, poor IQ test results and more behavioral problems.
“The foundation of the brain structure and the connection between its billions of cells is built in that period,” said Sarah Jane Schwarzenberg, a pediatrician and lead author of the paper. “These key nutrients are the bricks that enable this growth,” she added.
In addition to proteins, B vitamins, C, D and iron , some compounds can not be missing from the children’s menu. Here’s what they are and where to find them:
- Zinc: breast milk, meats, eggs and oilseeds like almonds.
- Long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids: the famous omega 3 and 6, EPA and DHA. They are the “good fats”, present in fish, olive oil, breast milk and some vegetable oils.
- Selenium : especially in Brazil nuts, but also in wheat flour, chicken and egg.
- Hill: egg, milk and derivatives, soy and wheat derivatives.
In the document, the AAP also gives guidance on how to secure this offer. The first is to encourage and support breastfeeding , which already provides much of these necessary nutrients for the brain. In addition to the minimum six-month period exclusive to the breast, the organization suggests that breastfeeding continue for at least the first year, along with solid foods .
In addition, the publication urges physicians to also disclose the importance of dietary care at this stage and for health professionals to guide families on how to get quality food. Raising awareness of the importance of healthy food should be at the heart of public policy. And the more colorful it is, the better!