Researchers have implied that the statement ‘you are what you eat’ is significant for the development of optimum mental performance in kids.
Researchers looked at the effect of, B-vitamins, folic acid, breast milk versus formula milk, iron, iodine and omega-3 fatty acids, on the cognitive, emotional and behavioural development of children from before birth to age nine.
Professor Cristina Campoy, who led the project, said that short term studies seem unable to detect the real influence of nutrition in early life, asserting that ‘NUTRIMENTHE was designed to be a long-term study, as the brain takes a long time to mature, and early deficiencies may have far-reaching effects. So, early nutrition is most important.
Many other factors can affect mental performance in children including; the parent’s educational level, socio-economic status of the parents, age of the parents and, as discovered by NUTRIMENTHE, the genetic background of the mother and child. This can influence how certain nutrients are processed and transferred during pregnancy and breastfeeding and in turn, affect mental performance.
Cristina Campoy said that it is important to try to have good nutrition during pregnancy and in the early life of the child and to include breastfeeding if possible, as such ‘good nutrition’ can have a positive effect on mental performance later in childhood.