“The first 1,000 days of a baby's life - including the nine months he spent in the womb - is a great opportunity, you can always change the course of your diet, but if you are on the right track from the start your life will be easier in terms of general health, and early feeding will be of great benefit. at low cost."


So says Berthold Kolitzko, a doctor in the Department of Metabolism and Nutrition at Dr. von Hauener Children's Hospital in Munich, about our relationship with food, which is established at a very early age, as specialists tell us, that we learn eating habits from the beginning of complementary feeding - after breastfeeding - and it affects many years later, revealing to us Studies in recent years have shown that the diet of our children determines their cognitive abilities and the level of their intelligence, so how can the problems faced by the child be reduced by relying on good food? (2)

New imaging techniques such as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) have allowed us to learn how the brain works based on early feeding, and recent discoveries are increasing that linking a child's diet, cognitive abilities and behavioral problems in childhood and later also in the teenage years, a European study conducted in 2008 indicated That the mother's nutrition during pregnancy and the type of diet of the child in the early years of his life can determine the cognitive and behavioral development of the child, and the study tracked the effect of taking vitamins such as folic acid, fatty acids (omega-3), proteins and micronutrients such as iron and iodine on the cognitive, emotional and behavioral development of children. The project, led by Cristina Campoy, a researcher at the University of Granada, aimed to establish a solid scientific base for developing nutritional recommendations for pregnant women and mothers to improve the cognitive development of young children and prevent the emergence of behavior disorders, and it tracked more than 17,000 mothers and 18,000 children from different regions.in Europe. (3) - (4)

The study focused on the mother's nutrition during pregnancy and the child's nutrition until the age of nine, and reported that the mother's intake of folic acid during the first three months of pregnancy can reduce the risk of behavioral problems during early childhood, and that eating fatty fish rich in omega-3 is beneficial in building brain cells, as well. That it contains iodine, which is a micronutrient, has a positive effect on children's ability to read by the age of nine, while the study confirmed that the lack of some nutrients at an early stage of a child's life has far-reaching consequences at an advanced age. (5)

The nutritionist, Dr. Rand Al-Disi, agrees with Berthold Kolitzko's opinion, tells us that the most important stages in a child's nutrition are the first thousand days in which the basic structure of the child's body is formed, and in which we can - to some extent - control the child's food and focus on the integrated and diverse nutrients, but then The child is often selective in his food, focusing in a certain period on certain foods and then moving to others, and she confirms to “


” the possibility of compensating nutritional deficiencies in the later stage, unlike the first thousand days in a child’s life in which we cannot compensate for nutritional deficiencies.

Al-Disi advises focusing on the mother’s nutrition during the pre-pregnancy period, as multiple recent studies prove its impact mainly on children’s genes for non-communicable diseases or chronic diseases that occur at an advanced age, and are also linked to the mother’s nutrition during pregnancy, and indicate that the increase should be The mother’s weight is normal, as the excessive weight gain raises the mother’s risks of diabetes during pregnancy and high blood pressure, which may warn of premature birth, and increases the chances of high blood pressure in the child at an advanced age, and shows that the less than normal increase in the mother’s weight means Also, the child's risk of developing type 2 diabetes and obesity at an advanced age increases, so the mother is advised to reach the normal weight if the pregnancy is planned.

She explains that the most important elements that must be obtained during pregnancy are protein, which provides the amino acids necessary for growth, vitamins and minerals, and the required rations vary according to the weight, height and age of the pregnant woman, but they are approximately four times what the mother's body needed before pregnancy, especially in the three months. The last of pregnancy in terms of protein, as protein plays a major role in building the tissues and muscles of the fetus, enzymes and hormones.

Finally, she points to the importance of obtaining starches from sources with low sugar levels and called foods with a low glycemic index, such as oats and whole grains, so that the sugar percentage increases gradually, and confirms that obtaining folic acid, especially in the first three months of pregnancy and three months before pregnancy, by 400 to 600 micrograms daily protects the fetus from multiple diseases called neural tube defects, which can occur in some fetuses and children, and cause problems in the spinal cord that may lead to paralysis.

According to dietitian Clara Rojas, iron deficiency (or nutritional anemia) can cause a lack of attention in children, and she confirms that it is the reason why 25% of children in the world suffer from learning problems, so Clara recommends consuming foods such as red meat, liver, beans and legumes For children over two years of age, the ideal diet is breastfeeding for up to six months, followed gradually by a complementary diet under specialist supervision. (6)

Several studies have also revealed that a deficiency of some nutrients can directly affect the mental abilities of school-aged children.

Iron deficiency in the early stages, for example, may reduce dopamine transmission, which negatively affects cognition, and lack of other vitamins and minerals such as thiamine, vitamin E, vitamin B, iodine and zinc limits cognitive abilities and mental focus (7).

A study conducted at the University of Illinois in the United States also found that a diet that contains a high degree of saturated fat and a high level of cholesterol affects children's cognitive development, mental abilities, reactions and ability to solve problems and alternative thinking. The amount of saturated fat in a child's diet is translated into time Longer response time on tests that require greater cognitive flexibility, which reduces his ability to perform multiple tasks simultaneously. (8)

The researchers stress the importance of knowing these relationships that can affect the child’s daily life and his analytical ability, and may expose him to various problems such as the difficulty of adapting to any change, bearing in mind what the pediatrician German Garthon recommends to go to a specialist when attention problems arise, as the reason is Often a problem with the sense of hearing or sight, and not due to a lack of a nutrient.(9) On the other hand, supplementation of amino acids and carbohydrates improves perception, intuition and the ability to reason, and eating nutrients helps to increase the cognitive ability and levels of intelligence of school-aged children .


Dr. Rand explains to "



“Iron is one of the most important minerals that the mother must obtain in good proportions, especially as it forms the child’s stores of iron until the age of 6 months after birth if breast-feeding is breast-feeding - as the mother’s milk does not contain significant amounts of iron – and it is clear that iron deficiency It may affect the mental development of the child, and cause problems in mental development that lead to increased anxiety in the child, poor concentration, problems in educational abilities and low rates of brain development, as well as exposing him to the risk of depression. It plays a role in coating the nerves with an insulating material to communicate in the right way, and its deficiency leads to problems in the nerves of the brain in these children, and here the importance of awareness during pregnancy emerges, and it may be necessary for the child to take nutritional supplements under the supervision of the doctor if the food supplementing the mother’s milk does not contain good proportions Iron due to its importance in the mental development of the child.

It also points to the importance of the omega-3 fatty acid - especially in the last periods of pregnancy - in the mental development of children and the covering of their nerves and micro-membranes, in addition to vitamin D and the role it plays during pregnancy in the accumulation of calcium in the bones of the fetus, and its mental development, in addition to It aims to strengthen the immune system, and confirms that it is found in very few sources, including fatty fish, and adequate exposure to sunlight, and explains that vitamin D deficiency translates into problems in the child in increasing the risk of bone fracture, poor growth after birth, and a weak immune system in general. There is a general recommendation for babies the first three months to give them vitamin D in the form of 400 international units in the form of drops to ensure that the stock is good if they are breast-fed or formula-fed.

Studies indicate that thiamine or vitamin B1 deficiency leads to aggressive behavior in adolescents, that eating sugar has a negative impact on a child’s behavior, and that malnutrition leads to behavioral problems that can be overcome when children consume a balanced diet that includes protein, fats, complex carbohydrates and fiber. The researchers found that eliminating the sale of soft drinks in schools and replacing them with other drinks had a positive effect on behavioral outcomes such as tardiness and disciplinary referrals. (1112)

Al-Disi warns against eating sugars, which increase the risk of weak immunity and poor growth, reduce the child’s concentration and limit his ability to sit down to learn, and advise to prevent the presence of sugar at home and resort to sweets intended for children if the purchasing power is available and which have lower sugar levels, or give the child a little sweet only Outside the house with his schoolmates, and prevents eating them at home, and points out that juices are not of great benefit to children, as they are full of sugar and low in fiber, so it is recommended to reduce them or give the child juices with low sugar levels and prepare them mixed with milk.

IQ scores in children and adolescents with very poor nutritional status can be improved through micronutrient supplementation. In general, good regular eating habits are the best way to ensure optimum mental and behavioral performance, as it helps students attend school with fewer interruptions throughout the school year, so they get more time in class and are ready to learn, as well as it improves student behavior and reduces Disruptions in the classroom, which creates a better learning environment for every student in the class. Every student has the ability to do well in school, and not providing good nutrition puts them at risk of losing this ability. (13) -(14)

Studies show that a diet rich in protein and vitamins helps control symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children, while avoiding sugar and artificial flavors. Minerals such as zinc improve the brain's response to dopamine, and low levels of it are linked to inattention problems in these children. Iron is also needed to make dopamine, and one study showed that most children with ADHD have low levels of iron that are associated with cognitive deficits and increased symptoms of ADHD, and that magnesium, zinc, and iron have a positive effect on the ability to pay attention and focus, and have a calming effect on the brain.

Ned Hallowell, founder of the Halliwell Center for Cognitive and Emotional Health in the US, advises his ADHD patients to think about the contents of their plates well, and recommends filling half of the plate with fruits or vegetables, one quarter with protein, and the last quarter with carbohydrates, and recommends eating whole grains rich in fiber every day. a day to prevent blood sugar levels from rising and then falling. (15)

A growing body of evidence is revealing a long-term problem that a child's diet may cause as well, which is the odds of gaining weight or developing diabetes later in life, as it can be severely affected by what we eat during the first months of our lives, and there is evidence that diet For our mothers during pregnancy it has already set us on a path, in terms of our health and well-being, with genetic traits and environmental factors also involved. Prof. Berthold Koelitzko from the Department of Metabolism and Nutrition at Dr. von Hauner Children's Hospital Munich says that the types of foods a mother eats during pregnancy may affect the child's future risk of obesity, and he advises expectant mothers to eat a lot of lean meat, fish and vegetables rich in folic such as spinach during pregnancy. Pregnancy to improve the baby's long-term health. (16)

Christina Campoy has explained that long-term studies are necessary to determine the true impact of the diet in the early years of a child's life, as the brain takes a long time to develop, along with other factors that can affect the cognitive development of children, such as the age of the parents, the educational, social and economic level, And genetic factors. (17) In this regard, parents are advised to teach their children good eating habits that establish a good or bad relationship for the child with food, and specialists suggest replacing a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and grains with processed and sugary foods, as they are a good source of vitamins, and provide natural sugar and fatty acids. , such as omega-3, which is necessary for the body. (18)

Dr. Rand Al-Disi told "


" that according to the World Health Organization, the recommended breastfeeding period is between 4-6 months, without any other food or drinks, as the digestive system, immune system, or kidneys are not able to absorb food, and the child is in This period does not need water or other liquids that could be harmful because it is replaced by an amount of milk. Then it is recommended to sequence the introduction of food to the child, for example, we offer vegetables before fruits so that the child accepts the salty taste and then the sweet taste, and then fish, chicken and meat, even ground nuts, and confirms that there are recent studies stating that the earlier the child begins to eat (after 4 The first 6 months) His risk of developing food allergies decreased, his ability to accept different tastes developed, his self-reliance in food increased, and his food choices improved.

On the contrary, the delay in introducing solid food means greater possibilities for the emergence of food allergy, and the child's lack of acceptance of the different textures of different foods and his tendency to mashed food, his rejection of protein and his tendency to starch as a food source.

It is advised that the mother offers one type of food every three days, to make sure that it does not cause an allergy to the child, and then we start offering another food. She emphasizes that we do not introduce a mixture of food for the first time so that we can identify the cause of the allergy if it appears in the child.

Presented by Dr.

Rand several tips for establishing a good relationship for the child with food at an early age, stressing that there is room for changing habits, including:

  • To allow the child to touch food at an early age, to discover its texture, taste and love.

  • Make schedules for meal times to make it easier for the child's brain to absorb food.

  • The eating period should not be prolonged so that the child does not get bored and receives less food.

  • Studies prove that the child in the first 5 or 10 minutes is happy and ready to eat, then the child gets bored and the mother becomes anxious, so the best time to eat is not to exceed 20 minutes.

  • Eat in a family atmosphere and not in front of the TV or while the mother is running after the child.

  • Do not put a large amount of food that is not suitable for the child.

  • The percentage of carbohydrates in food should be close to the percentage of protein.

  • Reward the child if he finishes his food, not threaten him with punishment.

  • Stay away from constant pressure on the child to eat his food and understand that the child may be sick with diarrhea, stomach pain, or others.



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