Nutrition for Brain Development
While you might not typically put chopped or blended unsalted boiled canned oysters on the list of infant and toddler foods, maybe you should. The American Academy of Pediatrics just published a new policy statement on advocacy to improve child nutrition in the first 1000 days (from conception to age 2). The statement emphasizes the importance of nutrition to optimal brain development. It also encourages pediatricians to get beyond recommending a "good diet" to something more specific which is high in key nutrients important for brain development such as protein; zinc; iron; choline; folate; iodine; vitamins A, D, B6, B12; and polyunsaturated fatty acids. That's where the boiled oysters , a decent source of the listed nutrients and especially loaded with zinc, iron, vitamin B12, come in. While not everyone is going to rush out to buy their baby such an unexpected (and for many, unfamiliar) food, the statement reminds pediatricians to recommend foods that are good sources of the nutrients that babies and toddlers need most. Other foods that fit the bill include oatmeal, meat and poultry, fish like salmon and tuna, eggs, tofu and soybeans, and other legumes and beans like chickpeas and lentils. What brain-boosting foods do your infants and toddlers love? Please share in the comments.
P.S. Cooked oysters are a great source of nutrition, but do not feed a baby raw oysters due to increased risk of foodborne illness.
P.P.S. For more, the full AAP statement is available here.