Childhood Education: What to Eat During Pregnancy for Intelligent Babies

By Rebecca / February 22, 2017
What to Eat During Pregnancy for Intelligent Babies

What to eat during pregnancy for intelligent babies is something that more and more parents are considering. As we all know, prenatal nutrition is essential to the development of an unborn baby. Prenatal vitamins, in addition to a good diet, are excellent ways to improve the health of the mother and the child. Prenatal vitamins include a variety of vitamins and minerals that are crucial for the child’s healthy development. During pregnancy, a woman’s daily intake of vitamins and minerals is higher and requires the use of prenatal vitamins to ensure they are getting the recommended daily values of each.

Folic acid and iron are two of the most important nutrients that a pregnant woman needs daily, and she cannot get her daily amount of these from food alone. Folic acid helps to reduce a baby’s risk of neural tube defects, as well as cleft lip and certain heart defects. It has also been shown to reduce the risk of preeclampsia in pregnant women.

Iron is essential when it comes to making hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is a protein that is found in red blood cells, and these carry oxygen to other cells. When a woman becomes pregnant, the amount of blood in her body increases which means the iron is needed to make the additional hemoglobin that is needed during the pregnancy. It is even more important during the last two trimesters for the growth of the baby and the placenta. Iron deficiency can lead to preterm delivery, low birth weight, and even infant mortality.

The diet the mother adopts certainly affects the physical and mental development of their unborn child. There are many foods a pregnant woman can consume throughout her pregnancy that can help boost brain development in unborn babies which will later create more intelligent children along with increased memory functions.

First, we should discuss the foods that should be avoided during pregnancy:

  • Raw Meat: Uncooked or undercooked meats should be avoided because they carry the risk of contamination
  • Fish with Mercury: This includes sushi, shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish. Mercury can lead to developmental delays and even brain damage
  • Raw Shellfish: This includes oysters, clams, and mussels. They can carry bacteria and cause infection and can affect both mother and unborn child
  • Caffeine: If consumed in moderation, it is okay but should be avoided in the first trimester or else the likelihood of a miscarriage will rise, and the pregnant mother will lose water and calcium since caffeine is a diuretic. A pregnant woman, after the first trimester, should limit herself to less than 200 mg of caffeine per day.

Foods that are Shown to Increase Intelligence

1. Greek Yogurt

Greek Yogurt

Yogurt is an excellent source of calcium which is vital for the healthy growth and development of an unborn child. Greek yogurt also has a lot of protein.


2. Salmon

Salmon

Salmon is a high-quality protein and an excellent source of omega-3 fats which aids in the development of the child while boosting the pregnant woman’s mood. 8 to 12 ounces of seafood a week is okay as long as there isn’t a high level of mercury that is present.


3. Walnuts

Walnuts

Walnuts are rich in omega-3 fatty acids which help boost brain cell activity. They also help lower blood cholesterol levels while increasing good cholesterol.


4. Spinach, Lean Chicken, and Beans

Spinach, Lean Chicken, and Beans

These foods are all rich in iron. Iron is essential because it sends oxygen to the baby’s brain cells. Maintaining iron levels while pregnant is important, but you will also need the iron found in prenatal vitamins to supplement the food you eat.


5. Blueberries, Artichokes, and Tomatoes

Blueberries, Artichokes, and Tomatoes

These foods are rich in antioxidants and protect brain tissue and help with healthy brain development.


6. Eggs

Eggs

Eggs contain amino acid choline, and it has been proven to help brain development and has been shown to increase memory function in the child later in life. The eggs should be pasteurized. Unpasteurized cheese can carry bacteria and cause sickness.


7. Vitamin D

Vitamin D

Foods that are high in Vitamin D like cheese, liver, beef, orange juice, and some cereals are good for the mother and unborn child during pregnancy. Vitamin D plays a role in immune functions, cell division, and bone health. Vitamin D also helps the body absorb and metabolize calcium and phosphorus.


8. Iodine

Iodine

Iodine is essential during the first twelve weeks of pregnancy. It aids in healthy brain development and the pregnant woman’s daily intake requirement of iodine increases exponentially during pregnancy to ensure that an adequate supply reaches the baby. Iodine can be found in dairy products, eggs, and vegetables.


9. Beans

Beans

Beans contain a lot of protein, minerals, vitamins, starch, and fiber. They are good for healthy brain development and will also help boost the mother’s energy levels. A lot of vegetables also contain antioxidants that can contribute to restoring damaged brain cells in children. These vegetables include eggplant, pumpkin, and corn.


10. Oatmeal

Oatmeal

Oatmeal contains vitamins E and B, potassium, and zinc that can boost cognitive activities and improve a child’s physical and mental development. Cereal contains much of the same vitamins and minerals and can help counteract obesity while stimulating a child’s physical development in the womb and after.


Foods to Promote Healthy Growth in Children

While the foods the mother ingests during the pregnancy helps support increased intelligence in the unborn child, it is just as important after the baby is born to continue teaching healthy eating habits to reap all the benefits possible while learning how to make healthy and positive food choices.

The following is a list of “brain foods” that a child should eat to boost their brain growth and development and improve brain function, memory, and concentration.

Infants

Infants

Breast milk contains all the vitamins and minerals an infant needs. If they are unable to breastfeed, however, different kinds of formulas are available and can provide much of the same necessary vitamins and minerals that are essential to an infant’s continued development.

Breast milk can also help to protect against certain illnesses and infections. During breastfeeding, a mother should still follow a healthy diet like she did during pregnancy. What she consumes will end up in the breast milk.

A post pregnancy diet should include salmon, low-fat dairy products like yogurt, milk, and cheese, lean beef, beans, brown rice, fruit, and plenty of water. A nursing mother still needs high amounts of Vitamin D and B and calcium, and it will help the child’s bones grow and develop as well as keeping the new mother’s energy levels up.

Foods for Toddlers and Grade Schoolers

Food Pyramid

1. Peanut Butter

Peanut butter is a great source of vitamin E and is also considered an antioxidant that helps to protect nervous membranes. It also has thiamin which aids the nervous system and brain in using glucose for energy.

2. Whole Grains

The most popular form of whole grains can be found in cereals and even oatmeal. Oats can provide a child with a boost of energy and can help them get through their day. It is fuel for their brain. It also has a lot of fiber and vitamins to help ensure that their brains are functioning at their fullest capacity throughout the day.

3. Berries

All kinds of berries including strawberries, cherries, blueberries, and blackberries are loaded with antioxidants and Vitamin C and help to increase energy levels throughout the day while contributing to improving the child’s memory.

4. Vegetables

Vegetables like tomatoes, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, carrots, and spinach are high in vitamins and minerals and are considered great antioxidants. Providing a variety of vegetables during the day instead of just one offers variety for the child and helps keep their brain cells active and strong.

5. Yogurt and Milk

Dairy products such as yogurt and milk have a lot of protein and vitamin B with helps brain tissue growth, neurotransmitters, and enzymes. Having a bowl of yogurt in the morning with their favorite berries provides them a great boost of energy to start their day and keep them full until lunch.

Foods for Older Adolescents

Good nutrition is essential for all ages of development. There is a direct correlation between nutrition and neurocognitive development in childhood. Teenagers should be drinking at least three to four servings of milk each day as well as ingesting other foods that provide a good source of vitamin D.

1. Mango

Mango has vitamin C that can help to boost a teen’s immune system and it gives more variety so that they don’t have to stick with the usual apples and oranges. It is also a good fruit to include in a smoothie or add in with their yogurt in the morning.

2. Avocado

Avocados have a lot of antioxidant properties and can even help with their skin. However, they are high in fat content, so there are a lot of calories that go along with avocado. Eat in moderation and consume about half of an avocado at a time.

3. Leafy Greens

Leafy greens such as kale and spinach provide teens with more nutritional value than iceberg lettuce. It also provides a punch of vitamin C, vitamin A, iron, and potassium.

4. Whole Wheat Bread and Pasta

Whole wheat foods are a good source of energy and aid in boosting brain power while keeping a teen feeling full for longer. Always check food labels before purchasing and be sure that corn syrup and fructose are not listed as one of the first few ingredients. There is also a lot of variety that can be found in whole wheat bread and pasta.

5. Fish

Fish contains omega-3 fatty acids that have been shown to improve brain function and moods. Eating fish at least twice a week is a healthy choice to give a teen that added push of energy and brain power that will help them throughout their week at school.

Nutrients are essential to a functioning and healthy body. Six essential nutrients are vital to a person’s health regardless of age. These nutrients are carbohydrates, protein, fat, vitamins, minerals, and water.

Brain foods are vital to the cellular structure, the wiring of the neural circuits, and the production of myelin. Just like we need to put gas in our cars to make them run, our bodies also need fuel to run properly. Glucose is fuel for the brain and is responsible for providing an individual with energy throughout the day.

Having lower glucose levels can also affect a person’s ability to concentrate and stay focused, and this is one of the reasons having a healthy and balanced breakfast in the morning is so important for a child before they go to school.

Children should avoid sugary and fatty foods that offer no nutritional value. Instead, a diet full of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and water are good choices. Avoid processed and prepackaged foods and pay attention the amounts of sugar that are in the juices that are bought. Instead, find 100% fruit juice.

Mix it up with the vegetables. Having a serving of more than one kind of vegetable will give a child a colorful plate while providing them with their daily allowance of vegetables that they need. Fresh vegetables are always best, but if you don’t have a lot of time, frozen vegetables are acceptable substitutes.

Always make sure that your child is having a well-balanced breakfast in the morning, and they have healthy foods to snack on throughout the day like grapes or carrot sticks. By providing them with this essential fuel, you are aiding them in staying focused throughout the day while keeping their energy levels up and improving their brain functions and improving their memory.

For Memory and Focus

For improved memory and focus, several foods are rich in omega-3 fatty acids as well as DHA. DHA stands for docosahexaenoic acid and is essential for normal neuron functioning.

Beets, broccoli, celery, coconut oil, dark chocolate, egg yolks, salmon, and walnuts are a few examples of foods that help to improve an individual’s memory function. These all make great snacks to take and munch on throughout the day between meals and are full of all the required nutrients.

To boost an individual’s focus, blueberries, green tea, avocados, leafy green vegetables, flax seeds, and nuts are excellent choices and will help with concentration. Healthy food choices are critical for growth and development, and good habits start while the child is still in the womb.