How Children’s DHA Affects Healthy Development
Learn about how children’s DHA may affect healthy development.
Proper nutrition and access to whole foods is an important part of a strong childhood, but sadly not a reality for all children. Every Kid Healthy Week is a national event which focuses on partnering with parents and kids to prioritize childhood wellness. Schools and organizations use this week to teach kids about healthy foods and beverages. Oftentimes a relay race or field day is also included to show kids the importance and fun of being active. For children who many not have access to food at home, many of these schools have a backpack program which supplies food for evenings and weekends.
Studies show that many children are lacking in the adequate nutrition needed to help them thrive and focus at school. One nutrient that is often deficient in the diet of American kids is DHA, an essential omega-3 fatty acid responsible for brain development. Keep reading to learn more about children’s DHA and how it can make a big difference in your child’s development.
DHA for Healthy Kids
One key nutrient that supports healthy growth and development is docosahexaenoic acid, or DHA. DHA is a form of long-chain, omega-3 fatty acid, which is essential for proper brain growth and function. Although children’s DHA levels are crucial from the ages of 0-2, this fatty acid continues to be important as the children grow. Frontal lobe functioning such as focus, planning, and problem solving develop throughout childhood, and DHA plays a large role in supporting these essential functions.
Natural Sources of DHA
For the first two years of life, breast milk and supplemented formulas provide newborns with the DHA they need to grow and explore the world. When it comes to solids, the foods that are the richest in DHA unfortunately are also the foods children are least likely to eat like salmon, mackerel, and herring. Interestingly, the DHA in these fish is actually found in the kelp and sea vegetation they eat lead some to skip the fish altogether in favor of seaweed supplements. Studies have also shown that free-range eggs and pastured meat may help boost your child’s DHA intake.
3 Children’s DHA Supplements
If you’re looking to ensure your child’s diet is rich in beneficial DHA, but can’t get them to have a serving of salmon or mackerel at dinner, you may want to consider DHA supplements.
Children’s DHA Extra by Nordic Naturals
Children’s DHA by Nordic Naturals is a naturally balanced source of the omega-3s EPA and DHA that growing kids need for healthy development. It’s available in great tasting liquid and softgels meaning your kids will love to take their vitamins.
MetaKids DHA by Metagenics
MetaKids DHA from Metagenics is made from a concentrated, purified source of omega-3 fatty acids to promote healthy brain function. This yummy, gluten-free formula is fruit flavored and sweetened with natural xylitol.
Ocean’s Kids DHA Chewables from Garden of Life
Ocean’s Kids DHA Chewables by Garden of Life contain vitamins A, D, and E as well as the omega-3 fatty acids DHA, EPA, and ALA. The supplements are most effective when taken at meals and perfect for kids over the age of 3.
How do you ensure your kids are getting the DHA they need to support their growing brains? Do you have a magic trick to get them to eat a plate of salmon and broccoli? Share your tips and secrets with us in the comments section below.
About Theresa Groskopp, CN
Certified Nutritionist in Appleton, Wisconsin, Founder of Natural Healthy Concepts. Natural health and nutrition advocate. Enjoys gardening, biking, fitness, boating, animals (especially cats), and cooking. Theresa Groskopp