The food your child eats affects the development and performance of their brain. Giving your children the right food containing specific nutrients can boost your childs IQ, allow them to think more quickly, be more coordinated, have better memory, improve concentration and be more emotionally stable.

Childrens brains are around 60% fat, so they need to be supplied with the right kind of fats to keep their brains well oiled and functioning properly. The brain needs omega-3 fatty acids (FAs), in particular docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), found in oily fish, to work properly.(1) The brain and the retina contain the highest content of DHA found in any tissue in the body. Dietary DHA is essential for optimum brain and visual function.

Omega-3 FAs cannot be made by the body, so they need to be supplied through the diet. DHA is not widely found in the diet, but it is present in cold water fish such as salmon, tuna, sardines, trout, herring, halibut and mackerel. DHA can also be made by the body from the omega-3 FA, alpha-linolenic acid, found in high levels in flaxseed oil and in other oils such as canola, soy and walnut. Green leafy vegetables, nuts and seeds, wholegrain cereals and legumes also contain omega-3 FAs.

Omega-3 FAs are essential for optimum brain performance. Childrens learning and behavioural problems at school can be due to a lack of omega-3 fats in their diets, according to a study published in the May 2005 edition of Pediatrics.(2) Children lacking in omega-3 fats are susceptible to conditions such as depression, poor memory, low IQ, learning disabilities, dyslexia, and ADD/ADHD. Studies have shown major improvements in attention, behaviour, IQ, reading and spelling abilities in children who had increased their omega-3 FA intakes.(3-7)

DHA enhances learning and memory by increasing proteins that enhance neural communication. It is believed that in ADHD, deficiencies of DHA may be responsible for abnormal signaling associated with learning disabilities, cognitive deficits and visual dysfunction. These abnormalities can be partially corrected with a diet enriched with DHA.(8)

1. Richardson AJ & Montgomery P. The Oxford-Durham study: a randomized, controlled trial of dietary supplementation with fatty acids in children
with developmental coordination disorder. Pediatrics 2005; 1115: 1360-1366.
2. ibid.
3. ibid.
4. AJ Richardson & BK Puri. A randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled study of the effects of supplementation with highly unsaturated fatty acids on
ADHD-related symptoms in children with specific learning difficulties. Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry 2002; 26(2): 233-9.
5. AJ Richardson. Long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids in childhood developmental and psychiatric disorders. Lipids 2004; 39(12): 1215-22.
6. L Stevens, et al. EFA supplementation in children with inattention, hyperactivity, and other disruptive behaviors. Lipids 2003; 38(10): 007-21.
7. AJ Richardson. Clinical trials of fatty acid treatment in ADHD, dyslexia, dyspraxia and the autistic spectrum. Prostaglandins, Leukotrienes and
Essential Fatty Acids 2004; 70(4): 383-90.
8. Horrocks LA & Yeo YK, Health Benefits of Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Pharmocological Research 1999; 40(3).



Oven baked crumbed salmon strips

These scrumptious oven baked salmon strips are packed with healthy omega-3 fats and protein. Giving your children fish a couple of times a week will help improve their brain development and function. This dish is delicious served with oven baked sweet potato chips and a salad or vegies.

3/4 cup (90 g/31/4 oz) wholemeal flour
3 tablespoons low-fat milk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 cup (60 g/2 oz) wholemeal bread crumbs
1/4 cup (40 g/11/2 oz) sesame seeds
1/4 cup (23 g/3/4 oz) parmesan, finely grated
500g (17 3/4 oz) salmon fillets, boneless

Preheat oven to 200oC (400oF/Gas 6). Line a baking tray with baking paper.
You will need 3 dishes. Place flour in the first dish.
Combine milk and egg in a second and combine breadcrumbs, sesame seeds and parmesan in a third.
Cut salmon into thick strips and pat strips dry with a paper towel.
Coat salmon with flour, dip into milk mixture, then dip into sesame and bread crumb mixture, making sure salmon is well coated.
Place crumbed salmon on a plate, cover with cling wrap and place in the fridge for 20 minutes.
Place on baking tray and cook for 25 minutes, until golden brown and cooked through. Turn after 15 minutes.


This article is and extract from Lisa Guys book MY GOODNESS.