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Nutritional support for young brains when going back to school

by Activated Nutrients |

A balanced, healthy breakfast that includes high fibre carbohydrates, protein and a variety of colourful fruits will provide growing children with the essential vitamins, minerals and compounds they need to help power up their brains before heading off to school. 

Colourful fruits including berries contain an abundance of plant compounds that have been proven to benefit the brain. Berries are a delicious snack for kids and are among the healthiest and most nutrient packed foods on earth. There are many varieties of berries and below we highlight some unique berries that stand out for providing several impressive brain health benefits. 

 

Acai berry

These dark purple super berries hail from the rainforests of the Amazon. They have recently gained popularity globally and are known for being particularly beneficial to health and well-being. Acai berries contain many plant chemicals including particularly high levels of anthocyanin and other antioxidants that help to protect the brain. These unique antioxidants can counteract the harmful effects that inflammation can have, which can negatively impact learning and memory (1).

The human brain stays healthy by naturally cleaning up its cells that are unhealthy or no longer working well. This process, called autophagy is important as it helps to improve communication between the cells in the brain. Some laboratory tests have shown that acai accelerates the “cleaning up” response (2).  

 

Amla

Also known as Indian Gooseberry, the amla fruit is said to nourish the brain and help improve mental functioning including learning and memory recall. This super berry is known for its impressive levels of vitamin C with studies showing it has one of the highest amounts of naturally occurring vitamin C of all fruits in the world. Amla berries also include several plant chemicals called flavonols, which have been linked to brain benefits such as improving memory (2). 

Alma berries also boast a high level of antioxidants that offer powerful free radical quenching potential. This may further help protect brain cells and improve memory. Furthermore, this little wonder berry is made exceptionally nutritious by containing many vitamins, omega 3 fatty acids as well as minerals including iron, a crucial nutrient for learning and memory (3). 

 

Blueberry

This little berry is commonly called the king of antioxidants and is known to help support brain function and improve memory. According to some studies, the antioxidants that are found in in blueberries may influence areas of the brain that are considered crucial for intelligence, as well as support communication between healthy brain cells. In one of these studies, nine people with mild cognitive loss were given a blueberry juice beverage daily for 12 weeks. When the study finished, the research showed that the adults all experienced improvements in several areas of brain function (6). 

Another study in 2012 found that, acute blueberry supplementation led to improvements in cognition, possibly due to the high levels of plant compounds in blueberries called flavonoids. It is believed that these unique compounds have a beneficial effect on cell signalling pathways in the brain (4). 

 

Product Highlight: Grow Up: To Be Strong and Healthy

Grow Up is a certified organic superfood blend that contains a variety of berries and is specifically formulated for little ones. It contains nutrients to support healthy immune system and nerve function, energy production, reduce fatigue and help to protect the body’s cells from oxidative damage. 

The nutrient-rich wholefoods deliver plant-derived vitamins, phytonutrients and antioxidants alongside enzymes, prebiotic fibres and probiotics in one big, delicious dose to support the nutritional needs of growing brains and bodies. 

We recommend mixing a daily serving of ½-1 teaspoons into a child’s favourite milk, juice or water when sitting down for breakfast or add it to a smoothie for a nutrient boost.

 

References:
1. Poulose SM, Fisher DR, Bielinski DF, Gomes SM, Rimando AM, Schauss AG, Shukitt-Hale B, (2014). Restoration of stressor-induced calcium dysregulation and autophagy inhibition by polyphenol-rich açaí (Euterpe spp.) fruit pulp extracts in rodent brain cells in vitro. Nutrition;30(7-8):853-62.

2. K.P. Sampath Kumar, (2012). Recent Trends in Potential Traditional Indian Herbs Emblica officinalis and Its Medicinal Importance, Journ of Pharma and Phyto; 1;1.
3. Johnsy Rani, (2007). Consume Amla, the Wonder Berry – See Big Improvement in Health, Int Journ of Immun Nurs; 3:1.
4. Dodd G, (2012). The acute effects of flavonoid-rich blueberries on cognitive function in healthy younger and older adults, University of Reading.
5. Willis LM, Shukitt-Hale B, Joseph JA, (2009). Recent advances in berry supplementation and age-related cognitive decline. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care;12(1):91-4.
6. Krikorian R, Shidler MD, Nash TA, et al. Blueberry supplementation improves memory in older adults. J Agric Food Chem. 2010;58(7):3996-4000. 
7. Clifford, Tom et al, (2015). The potential benefits of red beetroot supplementation in health and disease. Nutrients; 7,4 2801-22.