What your child eats in their first years can impact their brain development and the rest of their life, according to a new policy from the American Academy of Pediatrics. The AAP says a child’s diet in the first 1000 days of life could have a major impact on mental health and brain development.
“It can affect the child long term, in terms of cognitive development, in terms of attention, behavior,” says Dr. Preeti Parikh , AAP Spokesperson.
The Academy recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months and it calls on pediatricians to recommend more than just a good diet including brain-building nutrients for pregnant women and young children.
Dr. Preeti Parikh says the list includes, “Things like choline, and you can get that in eggs. Iron, iodine, you can get that in red meats, beans, lentils, protein, peanut butter, lean meats, zinc, vitamins A, D B6, B12.”
The policy also calls on pediatricians to talk with parents about which foods are healthy and nutrient-rich and not just alternatives to junk food.