By Dr. Deneb Bates, ND
Taking steps to promote and protect brain health is important at any age. Short-term and long-term brain health is greatly determined by how we live, the choices we make, and the foods we eat. Fetal brain formation during pregnancy; childhood brain growth, development, mood, and function; and cognitive longevity in our adult years can all be impacted, either positively or negatively, by how we live our lives.
Pregnancy is a critical time for brain development. It is important for a pregnant mother to have optimal nutrition so that her baby’s brain develops properly. Some of the most important nutrients for brain formation during pregnancy include adequate folic acid and Omega-3 essential fatty acids, particularly DHA. Folic acid is naturally found in green vegetables, like spinach and asparagus, and is also abundant in beans such as black-eyed peas and red kidney beans. Pregnant women should also supplement with a pre-natal vitamin to assure adequate folic acid intake during pregnancy.
DHA is an essential fatty acid that is especially important in brain and central nervous system development as well eye health. The standard American diet does not contain enough DHA for optimal health. Food sources rich in DHA include wild Alaskan salmon, sardines, and anchovies. A quality fish oil supplement is an option for people who don’t eat fish regularly.
To read more of Dr. Bates’ post head over to D-Mom’s Blog.