The Lead Consultant at Nutraceutical Health Solutions, Canada, Dr Deji Alabi, has said food can determine academic excellence or poor performance.
Alabi in an interview with our correspondent suggested that schoolchildren should be fed with raw foods, observe regular exercise, adequate sleep, adding that enough water should be taken as it helped to develop the brain.
He said, “Here is a list of the fantastic four things you can do to help your diet give your brain some great results. Never substitute water with any other beverage or drink. You are a smart student if you can carry along with you a water bottle. The brain is 80% water. Majority of the functions of the human body thrives on water. Water helps in reducing the amount of toxins in your system. It helps your brain develop.
“The rainbow has seven colors. Most food nutrients are represented and identified by their colors. Your plate should contain several colors. The best way to achieve this is by having veggies, greens, reds and other raw foods for most meals. This will ensure you are not escaping important nutrients necessary for your brain development. Exercise Regularly, Adequate Sleep.”
He also listed 12 foods which he called dirty zones which he advised that school children to avoid.
According to him, refined sugar has been found to reduce immune activity, increase hyperactivity and impede brain development in children.
“Distraction is the greatest threat to academic distinction. Natural sugars like cane sugar, date syrup, stevia, agave are better substitutes with great health advantages. All table salts contain cancer causing agent. Unrefined sea salt, Himalayan or pink salt are healthy alternatives.
“Mono-sodium glutamate is found in artificial seasonings, seasoning of noodles and some other taste enhancer. It over excites brain cells. Aside its ability to impair proper brain development, children and adults with seizures have been known to recover after removing foods and substances containing MSG from their diet. Natural seasonings like basil, turmeric, ginger, oregano, dill, garlic, etc should be used,” he added.
He explained that coloring drinks were known to be carcinogenic as classified by the WHO, saying, schoolchildren should resist drinks that looked like natural fruits and instead take those natural fruits.
Alabi said, “Saturated fats are not the best form of fats for brain health. Staying off or reducing the consumption of fried foods will help. Not over-heating or bleaching oils for cooking is of great advantage. Avocado oil, Cold Pressed Olive Oil, Coconut Oil, Hemp Oil are good examples of oil rich in omega 3 and 6.
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“White Flour Products (chin-chin, bread, donut, meat-pie, cookies, biscuits, etc have been known to impact happenings in the gut causing inflammation, irritableness, bloating, constipation, overgrowth of harmful bacteria, etc.
“ When a food is processed, it loses its natural properties. Processed foods should be minimised and should never form the bulk of our diet.
“Instant noodles has become the most popular and supplemental item on many diets. Unfortunately, consistent consumption of instant noodles could lead to vision impairment. According to the National Library of Science, it has also been linked to liver enlargement, neurotoxic effects, convulsions, seizures and paralysis in laboratory animals.
“Also fast food may be fast but not healthy. Parents should endeavor to give their children of school age home-made meals.
He revealed that toothpastes containing fluoride had the ability alongside heavy metals like aluminum, mecury to cross the placental barrier reaching the fetal brain and cross the blood-brain barrier causing neurotoxicity in the brain.
“Fluorides are not only in toothpastes, they are also found in fluoridated water. Dental fillings containing mercury should be avoided.
“Coffee may be good for the body but continued dependence on coffee and other stimulants to stay awake or for hyped performance may have negative effects on the body. For children of school age, caffeine containing substances should be minimised,” he said.
Similarly, Assistant Chief Dietitian, Ajeromi General Hospital, Ajegunle, Dr Olusola Malomo, also explained that brain development started from the type of food a mother consumed during pregnancy and after delivery.
He advised pregnant mothers to feed on natural meal, exclusive breastfeeding and ensure the baby kept being fed with natural foods.