5 Foods to Boost Baby’s Brain Development

We just pulled our high chair out of the storage in our garage. It’s still waiting in the laundry room, as our baby is only three months old and we aren’t quite ready for it yet, but the day will come sooner than we realize. 

Doctors recommend babies maintain the majority of their nutrition from breast milk/formula for the first year, but around 4-6 months you can begin introducing some variety. 

It will be another few months before our baby is sitting on his own and can utilize the high chair, but we’ve learned from experience how quickly time moves when you’re watching a new human being grow from a baby into a toddler. 

It can be intimidating to know where to start when introducing new foods, but when you want the best for your little one, brain-boosting options are always a good idea. 

So when your baby is ready to graduate from their liquid diet to something more solid, here are some smart choices. 

Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are a fan-favorite for many parents introducing their first foods to a new baby. Sweet potatoes provide vitamin B6, which supports brain development and function. B6 also helps with the body's production of serotonin, a hormone that regulates mood. Purple sweet potatoes contain anthocyanins, which can reduce inflammation and protect the brain. Carotenoids, which make regular sweet potatoes orange, can potentially slow cognitive decline later in life and can’t hurt a growing brain in the meantime! 

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Eggs

The incredible, edible egg! This superfood is made to sustain the life of a baby chicken, and it can give human babies some incredible nutrients as well! You do not have to worry about going fancy; scrambled is fine. You can experiment with different add-ins, such as cheese and spinach (another brain-healthy food). Just make sure anything added is cut into baby-safe-sized pieces, and consider your baby’s limited number of teeth (or lack thereof!) when adding crunchier additions, such as bell peppers. Whether plain or a vehicle for something more, eggs are a great option for your baby's diet toolkit. 

Fish

Omega-3 fatty acids make fish a growing brain’s best friend. While fish is an overall healthy option, be aware that some fish, like tuna and swordfish, can carry dangerous levels of mercury if consumed in large amounts. Salmon is a safer, and more delicious, choice. You can cook up filets and cut them into teeny, tender pieces or buy canned salmon like you would tuna fish. By helping your baby acquire a taste for fish you are setting them up for nutritional success!

Beans

Beans are a choice that boasts protein along with many other necessary nutrients. There is a reason cultures around the world rely heavily on beans as a staple ingredient in their cuisines. Beans supply the brain with much-needed glucose, which supports efficient thinking, memory, and learning. Beans also contain folate, a critical ingredient in prenatal vitamins, and continue to boost brain development even after birth. And like fish, beans also contain omega-3 fatty acids, making them a powerhouse food. In addition to healthful benefits, beans carry the bonus of being both vegetarian and vegan-friendly. They are a strong choice that provides parents and caregivers with a versatile base, in addition to cheese and vegetables. 

Greek Yogurt

A popular diet food for adults, Greek yogurt can provide a great source of healthy fats for your baby’s developing brain. Healthy fats are needed to assist the brain in sending and receiving messages essential for your baby, who is learning and growing at a remarkable rate. Greek yogurt contains probiotics, which are beneficial not only for the digestive tract but also for mental health, lowering depression and anxiety levels in adults. We can only imagine it benefits babies in much the same way! Yogurt is another great vehicle food, ideal for transporting fruit purees, including blueberries, which are known for their antioxidants! 

You can offer your baby many healthful options to benefit their growing mind and body. Looking for fresh, minimally processed foods will give them a great head start in the world, ensuring they grow to be sound in body and mind. Who knows, while you’re looking for brain-boosting options for your baby, you may even find some new favorite healthy foods for yourself along the way!

 

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