Make Sure Your Kids Get Enough Omega-3 DHA

August 6, 2018 | Wellness Resources

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Make Sure Your Kids Get Enough Omega-3 DHA
It’s almost back to school time! Will you be sending your kids off with the most important tool they need to be successful – a healthy brain? The statement ‘you are what you eat’ has never been truer when it comes to the brain. Feeding your brain the right nutrients is one of the most important things you can do to improve attention, focus, and memory. The essential omega-3 fatty acid known as DHA has garnered itself a reputation as one of the most important nutrients for a healthy brain.

The brain is one of the fattiest organs in the body. Fat makes up around 60 percent of the brain, so it is especially important to make sure your children are eating the right types of fats to make their brains happy. Unfortunately, many kids are eating the wrong kinds of fats. Bag lunches made up of potato chips, lunch meat sandwiches, and processed cheese provide the wrong kinds of fat for the brain. When was the last time your kids ate DHA-rich foods like tuna, salmon, herring, sardines, flax seeds or chia seeds? The chances are your child is lacking in this important brain fat right now.

Omega-3 oils are essential for attention, focus, and healthy brain cell membranes. Far too many omega-6 oils are present in the American diet (canola, corn, soybean, peanut, and vegetable oils) which increase inflammation throughout the body, including the brain. Kids should be eating less omega-6 oils and more omega-3 oils for brain health.

Interestingly, DHA is also associated with better sleep. A sleep study published in the Journal of Sleep Research found that children supplementing with DHA had improved quality of sleep and were able to sleep for longer periods of time. A lack of sleep can set a child up for declining school performance, so DHA becomes critical for focus in more than one way.

If you have a picky eater on your hands, not to worry. Supplementing with high quality fish oil capsules can be an easy way to boost your child’s DHA intake. There are a few quality differences to keep in mind when looking for a fish oil supplement.

1. Mercury-free fish oil. Unfortunately, fish are contaminated with heavy metals, mercury, and solvents that are highly toxic to the brain. Only give your children fish oil supplements that are molecularly-distilled to be free of these contaminants.

2. High in DHA. DHA is the most desirable component of fish oil for brain cell health and eyesight development. DHA competes with EPA (another omega-3 in fish oil) for absorption, so look for supplements that are higher in DHA than EPA.

3. Smaller Fish. Fish oil from smaller fish such as anchovies and sardines naturally has a higher amount of DHA and a lower amount of mercury than larger fish such as tuna and salmon.

DHA is critical for brain health during the developmental years as the brain is growing and learning at a tremendous pace. If you want your kids to be the best students they can be, be sure they are get enough DHA this year!

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