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Healthy food intake shown to produce far higher reading, writing and comprehension skills in children


Healthy eating

(NaturalNews) There is no doubt that healthy eating is good for a child's physical and mental health. A recent Finnish study found that children who eat healthy foods in their first three years of school can significantly improve their reading, writing, and comprehension skills.

The study, published in the European Journal of Nutrition, is part of two separate reports conducted by researchers from the University of Eastern Finland and the University of Jyvaskyla. They found that kids with diets high in fresh fruits, vegetables, fish, whole grains, berries, unsaturated fats, and low in red meat, saturated fats, and products filled with artificial sweeteners performed better in tests that measured reading skills.

A healthy diet for smarter kids

A total of 161 children aged between six and eight years old who participated in the study followed healthy dietary recommendations from the Mediterranean diet, the Baltic Sea diet, or the Finnish diet.

The children were observed from the first grade to the third grade. They were asked to keep a food diary to analyze their diet. Academic achievements were tested with the help of standardized tests that assessed reading fluency, reading comprehension, and arithmetic skills.

The researchers found that the Mediterranean diet improved reading comprehension of third graders, while the Baltic Sea diet boosted the reading fluency of children in grades two and three and better comprehension in all three grades.

Youngsters who followed the Finnish diet recommendations had better reading fluency and enhanced reading comprehension in all three grades. The researcher didn't find any correlation between diet scores and arithmetic skills.

All three diet types consist of high amounts of fish, vegetables, fruits, berries, and unsaturated fats, while they shun red meat, sugar, and saturated fats coming from dairy products and baked or fried foods.

The researchers found that children who stuck closer to the basics of any of the three diets - which are regarded as healthier than standard Western diets - fared better in reading comprehension and skills development, compared to their peers with low-quality diets.

Researcher Eero Haapala, Ph.D., from the University of Eastern Finland and the University of Jyvaskyla said that healthy eating seems to be a major factor in learning and academic performance in children. He further noted that the association between diet quality and reading skills was independent of many confounding factors, such as socio-economic status, body adiposity, physical activity and fitness.

Parents, schools, governments and companies play a key

Healthy food choices are crucial to support learning and academic performance of our kids. The authors of the study said that parents, schools, food companies, and governments play a fundamental role in making fresh, healthy foods available to children.

As reported by the Daily Mail Online, despite the efforts being put in intense public health campaigns against sugar, saturated fats, and processed meats, the U.S. is still grappling under the weight of a burgeoning obesity crisis. The current U.S. dietary guidelines do not recommend reductions in dairy and red meat intake - something which has drawn ire from the medical community.

It is time for parents, schools, food companies and governments to take up their responsibility and start educating the younger generation about the importance of clean, healthy foods. And why not teach them how to grow their own organic foods at home? It is a fun learning experience, and you get to eat the results!

By helping them make healthy food choices every meal, it is possible to promote a healthy lifestyle to improve their overall health and school performance.

Sources:

DailyMail.co.uk

ParentHerald.com

Springer.com

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