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Make sure you have a smart baby. Here's how
Dr Kamini Rao |
May 24, 2005
ou want your child to excel at his/her studies and later in his/her career.
Popular myth states that intelligence is purely hereditary. Actually, it is an outcome of interaction between heredity and environment.
Here are the ways that a child's potential for intelligence can be maximised:
1. Balanced nutrition
2. Providing a stimulating environment and fun activities
3. Providing formal and informal education
4. Love and affection from well-adjusted parents and other caretakers
Your child's health and well being are intimately related with your (the mother's) health and well being!
Did you know that 70 percent your baby's brain growth takes place in the womb?
That is why you, the mother, must take a balanced nutritious diet with brain-friendly supplements during your pregnancy.
Make sure, also, that you breastfeed your baby. It is the best way to stimulate your baby's brain growth. Improve the quality of breast milk with a balanced nutritious diet and brain-friendly nutritional supplements.
Fifteen percent of a child's brain growth happens during the first year of its life. The remaining 10 percent of the child's brain growth occurs during the pre-school years.
This is when you must pay special attention to complementary foods and an optimal intake of micronutrients and trace minerals.
It is important to be aware of the key nutrients essential for the optimal growth and functioning of your child's brain:
1. Molecules like Decosahexaenoic Acid contribute to a major part of the human brain. DHA accounts for 40 to 50 percent weight of the brain cells (neurons) and their membranes.
An essential Omega-3 fatty acid, DHA is a must for brain development.
2. Other essential nutrients for brain development include vitamins (vitamin B complex, vitamin C, vitamin E), trace minerals (iron, iodine, zinc), essential amino acids, glucose and antioxidants.
Let's talk about DHA!
It is the key nutrient for optimal brain growth and that of the retina.
Your baby gets its quota of DHA from you while in the womb and during infancy.
Be sure to take adequate quantities of Omega-3 fatty acids and supplements of DHA during pregnancy and lactation.
The traditional Indian diet, especially among vegetarians, is deficient in Omega-3 fatty acids and DHA. Good dietary sources of Omega-3 fatty acids and DHA include:
- Seafood and fish
- Vegetables oils, like flaxseed oil, soya oil, peanut oil and canola oil
- Dry fruits, like walnuts and almonds
- Kidney beans, Bengal gram, avacados, fenugreek seeds, etc.
DHA from vegetarian sources, like marine algae, is better than fish oil capsules, especially during pregnancy.
Dr Kamini Rao is a Consulting Obstetrician & Gynaecologist, Mallya Hospital, Bangalore, and Medical Director of the Assisted Conception Centre, Bangalore