There are two reasons why it is important to focus on diet in relation to children with congenital brain injury. Firstly, there is reason to assume that the brain injury may in some children also influence the control of metabolism and the control of food intake. As a consequence the organism – and the brain – may not always obtain the nutrients required for normal development and growth. Secondly, a number of dietary nutrients appear to be essential for learning and development of the brain and thus especially for the repair processes following brain injury.
The good diet
A diet put together the right way can provide the body with all the necessary nutrients. Studies have shown that children with congenital brain injury often have reduced ability to absorb vitamins and minerals. Lack of these nutrients can lead to impaired cognitive function and cause learning disabilities. Therefore, it is important for children with congenital brain damage to follow a diet with all the vitamins and minerals needed for the brain. Research also shows that children with congenital brain damage need increased nutrition. The body needs more food than average to achieve sufficient growth – especially during the first year of life. Insufficient growth and poor nutrition affects not only the brain, but the overall functioning of the child. Both psychological, motor and social factors will be affected if the diet is not proper. In addition, the diet also has a great effect when it comes to learning, concentration and attention.
No more picky children
One problem that many families often face is fastidious. It is particularly pronounced in families with a disabled child making it seem overwhelming to start on a new diet such as Food for Brains. A good starting point is to get the entire family involved. Anyone can join in the kitchen, and everyone benefits from a ‘brain-smart’ nutrition . We have compiled a number of tips on how to overcome fastidiousness :
- Every body should be involved before, during and after the meal. Those who have participated in the preparation will have a good feeling about the food – including for children.
- Let the dishes appear simple – present them in the parts of which they consist. This way the child can help itself to as much of each item he or she wants and thus gain a sense of control.
- Take advantage of the ingredient colors. Show their individual beauty – ie. the different ingredients are not mixed, but arranged side by side.
- Present the food into bite-size pieces, and small pieces rather than large.
- Turn eating into something nice with a added positive effect. To eat is to create the basis for growth and development.