Science has proven through countless research that more than fifty percent of the brain development in humans occurs until two years of age, and a fetus of twenty weeks already can respond to sound stimuli. Specialists are unanimous in affirming that good nutrition from the womb is fundamental for a good neurological development in the individuals.
Healthy eating is essential for all children to have adequate growth and development, but in the case of children with autism and other developmental and behavioral disorders, eating becomes even more important as it may have an important therapeutic effect. The brain is an organ, and as such, has specific nutritional needs so that it can perform its functions correctly. Without the proper level of key nutrients, brain function is compromised.
Good Nutrition and Neurological Development
According to the professionals specialized in the area, nutrition plays an extremely important role in the neurological development of the person before birth, because if the pregnant woman has good nutrition, it will contribute to the formation of the brain and its functions, as well as to develop its Neurotransmitters. The nutrients that are consumed by the pregnant woman through ingested foods reach the fetus out of the mother’s blood and through the placenta membrane.
As a result, the pregnant woman’s diet should be based on a healthy diet and healthy diet. Nutrition professionals recommend balanced nutrition with the intake of iron, protein, and folic acid among others. Other nutrients such as glucose present in the pasta, rice, and bread, for example, are needed because of the amount of energy expended by the brain. Omega 3-based elements also play an important role in proper brain function because they are essential components of the outer membrane of human brain cells.
Foods That Contribute to Brain Formation
Experts advise that nutrients such as glucose, omega 3, folic acid, proteins and iron among others can be obtained by eating the following foods: In vegetables, milk and derivatives, and cereals, among others are found proteins; Salmon herring, cod, sardines, trout, horse mackerel and fish oils are rich in omega 3; Beans, lentils and peas, meat from animals and leafy vegetables are rich in iron. Also, some foods like whole grains, meats and milk and their derivatives are rich in Vitamin B which helps regulate transmission between nerve cells.
One of the most important nutrients are the proper fats since the brain is the second largest accumulation of fat in the body (after fat). These fats, carefully selected, have important functions in proper brain functioning. They are considered essential, having to have a food source, because we do not have the necessary enzymes to produce them – that is, if we do not ingest them, the quality of fats present in the brain is compromised, and with that, we compromise the proper functioning of this organ.
Different studies have shown that some children with special needs appear to have unique metabolic characteristics, which imply unique nutritional needs. That means that some of these children need higher doses of certain nutrients, so if they take the doses considered “normal,” they will show symptoms of deficiency and malfunction of certain metabolic pathways. These extra needs for certain nutrients can be for a long time, or only for a short time, while other parts of the metabolism are working less well.
In children with PEA, there still seems to be a high prevalence of gastrointestinal pathology, namely diarrhea, constipation, gastroesophageal reflux, and gastritis. Because of the different pathological changes, especially at the level of communication, these gastrointestinal disorders are not always identified, and treated, and may lead to some behavioral changes. It is therefore important that different therapists work together with doctors and nutritionists, to differentiate a behavioral crisis from pain. In recent years the important contribution of our intestinal microbiome has been revealed in different aspects of our health, from obesity, immune system functioning, but also at the cognitive level.
Different studies have revealed different microbiome changes in many children with PEA, which may contribute to some of their behavioral changes. Given the importance of feeding in the development of an appropriate microbiome, here again, it is possible to act to improve the well-being of these children. Also, in a great majority of these children, there are different foods (many of them considered healthy), which can be quite problematic as they can induce immune, physiological and behavioral changes. The best-known example is gluten-containing foods, with casein (a dairy protein), and implementing a diet without these elements has shown beneficial effects in a fairly large number of children within the spectrum.
Feeding can thus influence the brain functioning of children with PEA in different ways, and therefore its inclusion in the multidisciplinary treatment of this pathology is fundamental. Food and Nutrition optimize the ground so that different therapists can work on the different changes present in the EAP.
Some precautions that pregnant women should have regarding the consumption of substances harmful to the body such as alcoholic beverages, for example, that even if ingested in small doses influences the formation of neurotransmitters and the neurons of the individual. When the pregnant woman drinks alcohol, there is a risk that the baby will be born with the fetus-alcohol syndrome that affects the child’s cognitive development. When the woman is already in the phase of breastfeeding the same recommendations should be followed as the baby consumes the nutrients from the mother’s milk.
It is never too much to point out that until six months of age, experts recommend that the child is breastfed, and it is only at that time that she can begin to consume solid foods. But even so, it is advisable for the mother to continue breastfeeding up to the age of two years to fortify her immune system. At the preschool stage, usually, when the child is between two and six years of age she can already try various foods to develop her taste buds.
Still, in this stage, the brain is developing, and so its nutrition must be made from foods rich in minerals and proteins, such as those found in vegetables and fruits or rich in carbohydrates and proteins that help in the formation of brain dynamics human.
Other Actions for the Child’s Brain Health
In addition to a nutrient-rich and balanced diet, other activities can be done by the mother and also by the parent of the baby being generated to potentiate the child’s brain health. One of the basic principles for a good gestation is to have parents aware that the whole stressful situation experienced by them can negatively interfere with the development of the baby’s neurological system, as conflicting situations experienced by those responsible can affect certain brain areas such as memory, for example, Where there is the production of new neurons.
Experts recommend that to ensure good neurodevelopment of children, and it is best to combine a balanced diet with healthy foods and a good quality of life, avoiding emotional conflicts at any stage of life, but especially during the gestational period.