Effect of nutrition on children

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  • Topic: Vitamin, Brain, Vitamin B12
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  • Published : January 29, 2014
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What Nutritional Elements Elevate Learning Abilities?
Mona Alkathiri
Middle Tennessee State University

Abstract
The purpose of this study is to find the influence of foods that improve the learning abilities for a student. While studying for a day long, our brain needs to go through continuous work. Certain nutrients are necessary for proper brain functioning. Studies found that, sialic acid, folate, choline, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamin B6 and B12 perform an important role to our sustained ability to learn. This paper will provides an overview of recent studies on the brain functions associated with certain nutrition.

What Nutritional Elements Elevate Learning Abilities?
Certain foods are responsible for the proper brain functioning where as proper brain functioning is a prerequisite for efficient cognitive and learning ability. So, which foods, or at least which components of certain foods, have a more positive impact to keep our memory and learning abilities as the decades pass? Researchers have shown their interest in the potential for food and specific nutrients to influence various aspects of the psychological state, including mental performance and psychological well-being (Dye, Lluch, & Blundell 2000). There are a number of dietary components that have been identified as influencing cognitive performance. Among them folate, vitamins B6 and B12, antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, amino acids, glucose, caffeine, thiamine, niacin, choline, sialic acid, zinc, and iron have a major impact on cognitive performance (Bryan, Calvaresi, & Hughes, 2002; Bryan & Calvaresi, 2003; Morris, Evans, & Bienias, 2004). Foods provided by schools also have influence on students’ performance and their learning behavior. It was found that by providing and promoting healthier school food at lunchtime and improving the school dining room environment resulted in improvements in pupils’ learning-related behavior in the classroom after lunch (Golley, Baines, Bassett, Wood, Pearce, & Nelson, 2010). Researchers are also concerned about the excessive amount of nutrients. Some studies found that elevated amount of nutrients may interfere with brain functioning. For instance, in Bangladeshi children, Wasserman et al. (2004, 2006) observed a negative effect of high manganese (Mn, a trace mineral which is needed for good nutrition) levels in tube well water on cognitive capacities. This paper will review existing information about nutrients that are responsible for enhancing cognitive performance. First, the type of nutrients, their source, and activity will be described. Then some recent studies related with healthy food and academic performance will be studied. Finally, impact of excess amounts of nutrients with brain functioning also will be explained. Required nutrients at early stages of life

For better brain functioning, proper nutrition should be provided from the birth of a child. Wang et al., (2001) found that sialic acid influences the brain growth and learning abilities of human. Concentration of siallic acid in neural cell membrane is 20 times higher than the other membrane in human body. The same study also found that the human brain contains 2 to 4 times higher sialic acid than other mammals. So sufficient amount of sialic acid should be provided from the early life of a child. Their (Wang et al., 2001) research shows that human milk is a great source of oligosaccharide-bound sialic acid. To find the relationship between nutritional status and intellectual capacity among the six-year-old children, a study was conducted by Arija et al., (2005) in Spain. 83 subjects (43 boys and 40 girls) participated in that study. The IQ of each subject was measured using the Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence (WPPSI) (Wechsler, 1996). They also were interviewed individually and verbal and non-verbal IQ were obtained on a scale 150. Their...
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