Studies show diet can affect school performance

Feeding children healthy meals can certainly be challenging for parents. Some children have issues with colours and textures, while others would prefer to exist on chicken nuggets. However, new studies have shown that the quality of a child's diet can have a real effect on their performance at school.

Nutritionists often start by reminding us that children need a balanced diet to provide them with energy. Children are constantly on the move at school and they are also growing rapidly. They need a range of nutrients and vitamins to support the growing process. A recent survey of pupils in Bolton indicated that boosting water intake can have a positive impact on a child's ability to learn.

A really beneficial start to the day is breakfast. Recent research shows that those children who ate a healthy breakfast had behaved better, were less hyperactive and had better standardized test results than those who skipped breakfast.

The kind of breakfasts given to the children also impacted on their learning. Cereals with a high sugar content did not keep the hunger pangs away, as sugar simply boosts energy for a short period.

Ideal breakfasts for children are boiled egg and soldiers, fruit and yogurt or low sugar cereal. Porridge is an excellent alternative to sugary foods as it maintains energy levels in children.

After school, children are often hungry and need an instant snack to satisfy them. By resisting the route of the high fat, high salt content packet of crisps or biscuits, parents are giving children a great start in life. Offering fresh fruit or vegetables such as carrot sticks will benefit their diet enormously.

Omega three is commonly known as "brain food." It has been shown that Omega 3, found in oily fish, can have a beneficial effect upon children who have dyslexia, ADHD and dyspraxia. It is also thought that Omega 3 can have a great effect upon reading skills too.

A recent study carried out by Dr Alex Richardson, a senior research fellow in physiology at Mansfield College, Oxford and Madeli ne Portwood, an educational psychologist for Durham Local Education Authority showed remarkable results. One of the children involved is now able to read at a level that was eighteen months ahead of his previous achievement.

"Omega 3s can improve brain function at the very simplest level, by improving blood flow" � Dr Alex Richardson.

Whether children are given the oil in capsule form or in their diets (Omega 3 can be found in mackerel, sardines and salmon), they might just show a real improvement in their studies.
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