"Children are great imitators, so give them something great to imitate." It's not clear who first said this, but it's a lesson that adults can take to heart.
For children's developing bones and the stimulation of their minds, healthy snacks are the perfect way to promote long-term positive health. Fish, for example, is known as "brain food" — but it's certainly not the only option on the menu.
When aiming to feed little ones healthy, nutrient-dense snacks, it can be challenging to balance convenience and nutrition. After all, snacks should not only feed the developing mind and body but also be something kids are happy to eat.
Checking all the boxes, nuts are the perfect solution. Requiring no preparation, they're versatile, delicious, convenient, and most importantly, they support a balanced diet.
3 Ways Nuts Benefit the Body and Mind
When focusing on optimal health, it's important to view the body as a whole. In many cases, foods that are great for the heart also benefit the brain. Nuts are one of those all-around foods, providing the types of nutrients that adults and children alike require on a daily basis.
Need a reason to chomp on some nutty delights? Well, here is how a variety of nuts can benefit both the body and mind — so snack away!
1. They provide healthy fats
Fat have gotten a bad rep over the years, even though they're essential for optimal physical and neural health. The reason why fish is considered so healthy is because of its fat and protein content, especially omega-3 fatty acids. From heart health to positive brain development, these essential fats help build new cells, targeting a wide range of bodily functions.
In fact, while studying the effects of essential fatty acids on children, it was found that increasing their intake resulted in improved reading skills. This makes sense, as the human brain is largely made up of fat, helping to transmit signals. When consuming delicious nutty snacks that also contain ingredients such as coconut oil, the neural benefits are even greater.
2. They're high in fiber
Fiber supports everything from blood sugar to heart health, but believe it or not, up to 97 percent of Americans are currently fiber-deficient. It's important to start children off on the right foot, encouraging healthy long-term eating habits.
Studies have shown that when children consume more fiber, they tend to consume less unhealthy fat and sugar. This not only supports a healthy weight but also ensures stable blood sugar and insulin levels. Nuts are an easy way to include more fiber in a child's diet, and with the addition of cinnamon, blood sugar benefits are even greater.
3. They improve mood and reduce behavioral issues
A balanced, whole-food diet will provide growing minds with the building blocks needed to support positive mood while reducing behavioral issues. The truth is, many common snacks are packed full of sugar, which is one of the leading factors contributing to reduced impulse control and poor mood.
Studies have found that just one ounce of nuts can significantly increase serotonin levels among individuals suffering from metabolic syndrome. Known as a "happy" brain chemical, serotonin can maintain mood balance while reducing feelings of anxiety and fatigue.
Incorporating vitamin E, zinc, iron and protein, nuts have vast nutritional benefits. With health-boosting properties in each tiny bite, nuts are the perfect snack for busy parents and hungry, growing kids.
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