Adequate nutrition is necessary for normal brain development.
Nutrition is especially important during pregnancy and infancy, which are crucial periods for the formation of the brain, laying the foundation for the development of cognitive, motor, and socio-emotional skills throughout childhood and adulthood.
The physical benefits of proper nutrition are endless: it gives children the energy to live life to the full, protects against malnourishment, maintains the immune system, prevents obesity and reduces the risk of chronic disease.
For the brain to work properly and for neural pathways to form, it has to be nourished. Nourishing the brain with healthy foods and water will enable students to engage and excel more readily.
But what exactly does the brain need? In order for the neurons in the brain to function properly they need the following five things:
· Good Fats
· Complex Carbohydrates
* As the brain and the body work as an integrated whole, is it of utmost importance to investigate possible biochemical imbalances to explain some of the perplexing behaviour you might observe in your child.
The expression, “to have a gut feeling,” means to know something.
This knowledge is not far-fetched because the gut is composed of some neurotransmitters and other chemicals that are identical to those found in the brain. In fact, the gut is considered to be a second brain by those who understand this connection.
Gastrointestinal disturbances coincide with mental acuity and emotional stability. This has certainly been shown to be the case among children along the autistic spectrum. It is hard to say what comes first: gastrointestinal problems caused by immune dysfunction, which then results in mental and behavioural reactions or immune dysfunction which causes gastrointestinal problems, which results in mental and behavioural reactions.
The body functions by properly utilising what it needs and eliminating what it doesn’t need. Survival is dependent on the body’s recognition of what is of value for growth and development and what is not. All the biological systems, down to the cellular level, the nutrients found in the foods that we eat will be properly assimilated and the ingredients that are not nutritious will be excreted. It is also our assumption that toxins that invade our bodies from the air we breathe to the water we drink will be eliminated as well. For even relatively healthy adults, however, there are many ways in which assimilation and elimination can be compromised, including the ageing process.
We may experience stomach upset, diarrhoea or constipation, a general lack of energy, and other signs depending on the severity of intestinal disturbance and toxic buildup. Children experience the same discomforts, but because they are still growing, their brains can be affected by nutritional deficits, food allergies and sensitivities, and toxicity, resulting in cognitive and behavioural problems.
It is extremely important to assess the digestive function of children along the autistic spectrum. Improper digestion leads to immune suppression, making the body more susceptible to infections, and to immune dysfunction, which leads to adverse or allergic reactions to foods and the environment. *
*Extract from Dr Beulah van der Westhuizen Candida and Low-GI information sheet - 02 July 2018.
In knowing this, EduExcellence PRS has implemented and followed a nutrition policy since our inception in 2007. We aim to support our learners in all areas of their development and so, the school promotes a sugar-free environment, as well as a Low GI diet so that our learners’ blood-sugar levels can remain stable which allows them to learn to the best of their ability.
Low GI stands for Low Glycemic Index. Low GI foods take longer to break down in the body and they release energy more slowly into the bloodstream, helping to fill you up and stop you from feeling hungry soon after eating. Low GI foods are normally low in fat too and can help regulate weight. A Low GI eating plan focuses on a variety of foods with good nutrients.
As part of our policy, we serve both breakfast and lunch daily on our physical Campuses.
As parents and caregivers, you play an important role in healthy nutrition too. Healthy lunch boxes help to maintain concentration and energy levels, which, in turn promote learning and favourable behaviour and energy levels during and after school hours. This will help your child to remain focused at school and at home whilst doing homework.
Take a look at some of how tips for parents and caregivers below:
· You are your child’s role model: model a healthy lifestyle and it will be easier for the rest of the family to follow.
· It takes planning - you need to plan ahead so that you buy the correct foods for making snacks and lunch boxes.
· Resist the "easy" option to buy cold drinks, crisps and chocolate bars - in the long run this is going to ruin your children’s health.
· Resist your children's demands and manipulations for snacks, high in fats and oils, and fizzy cold drinks
· Remember that children are different from adults - they have a much smaller stomach capacity, so they need regular snacks and some children have a much higher energy requirement because they're more active than adults.
· Lunchboxes may have to replace three to four meals a day - that breakfast that wasn't eaten, the mid-morning snack; the get lunch at school and the mid-afternoon snack - a whole menu in one box!
· Packaging is important - buy a sturdy plastic container that's big enough to accommodate the food you want your child to take to school without it getting squashed.
· Eating a variety of foods gives children and adults the best chance of obtaining a balanced diet
· Select foods from all the food groups every day.
And finally, studies and experience show that children who are involved in the choosing and preparation of foods, are more likely to try new dishes, broadening their food repertoire.