In a 2011 study published in the journal Frontiers in Evolutionary Neuroscience, scientists looked at a group of 4,000 American children ages 6 to 16 to determine a possible link between omega-3 and omega-6 intake and mental performance. Modern diets have an excess of potentially harmful omega-6 fats and are lower in beneficial omega-3 fats than in times past.
What They Found
Mental performance in boys and girls increased with increasing omega-3 intake, while cognitive measures dropped in children with greater omega-6 intake.
Extra Important For Girls
Fatty acid intake was especially important for girls. The negative effects of omega-6 fat had a more pronounced effect on girls’ mental function, while the positive effects of omega-3’s were twice as strong in girls as in boys.
Give Your Child Omega-3 Fats And Limit Omega-6 Fats
Omega-6 fats are available in overwhelming and often harmful amounts from the standard American diet in the form of meat, fried food, commercial backed goods, and vegetable oils. Steer your child away from pre-packaged and junk foods at home and at school and cook with olive oil at home. Olive oil is low in omega-6.
Omega-3’s are the rarer fat, but absolutely vital to the physical structure and function of a developing brain.
You can find omega-3 fats from sardines, wild salmon, and other cold-water fish. Fish oil supplements can provide a steady and as well as purified source of omega-3’s, if you buy a reputable brand. Try a high potency fish oil chewable for kids that won’t swallow pills.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Research and nutritional information included is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure any disease and should not be used for medical diagnosis or treatment. Consult your physician before initiating any new dietary or supplement program. References available by request.