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3 Nutrients Your Baby Needs To Build A Healthy Brain 

healthy brain development

Think beef 3 728x90 1 - 3 nutrients your baby needs to build a healthy brain 

It’s a no-brainer—your baby’s brain is the key to who your little one will become. But what does it take for the human brain to develop properly? Keep reading to learn more. 

As parents we want to do everything we possibly can to help our kids get a head start in life. There’s a lot of information out there, and that means a lot of pressure! There’s music for babies, reading for babies and even yoga for babies…but what really makes a difference?  

If that all seems like a bit much, there’s good news. There’s one thing you can do that truly will help your baby’s brain development: Feed it properly.   

To operate well, the brain needs more than 40 nutrients every day, with certain nutrients being critical to building and growing the brain. Without these nutrients, irreversible brain deficits may occur. This is why diet matters.  

Thankfully, your newborn was designed to thrive on human milk. Amazingly, this milk provides every single nutrient your baby’s brain needs, in the right amounts (aside from vitamin D, which can easily be supplemented). Commercial formulas are also carefully designed to match what’s found in human milk.   

But when your baby is six months old, that liquid diet no longer provides 100 percent of the nutrition they require. Your baby needs certain kinds of solid foods to fill in the nutritional gaps. Iron, omega 3 and choline all fall into this category. Here’s why your child needs these nutrients and how you can easily include them in their diet. 

Omega-3 Fatty Acids  

Fat is absolutely critical for baby brain development. Sixty percent of the brain is comprised of fat! Omega-3 fatty acids like DHA and EPA are found in fat and these help to develop vision and the parts of the brain that regulate attention, inhibition and impulsivity.  

Omega-3 Foods for Baby 

  • Fatty fish like salmon and sardines 
  • Shellfish 
  • Dried seaweed  
  • DHA-enhanced eggs 


This is arguably one of the most important nutrients for brain growth and development. When your baby turns seven months, their need for iron increases by 40 times. Believe it or not, a seven month old baby needs 1.4 x more iron than a grown 30-yearold male!  

Iron is needed for the following functions:  

  • Growing the anatomical structure of the brain 
  • Myelination, which allows for the rapid passing of information in the nervous system 
  • The development and coordination of brain messengers such as dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine  

Iron Foods for Baby  

  • Dark meats such as beef 
  • Bison 
  • Lamb or goat,  
  • Iron-fortified infant cereals 
  • Lentils 
  • Sardines 
  • Quinoa 


This essential nutrient is closely related to the B vitamins. Babies need choline because it plays innumerable roles in brain development, including memory. Equally fascinating, researchers are discovering that choline isn’t a solo operator: A synergistic effect is seen when the brain receives choline, DHA and lutein, a nutrient found in many fruits and vegetables.  

Choline Foods for Baby  

  • Egg yolks 
  • Beef 
  • Soybeans 
  • Potatoes 

By thoughtfully planning a balanced diet including starter foods rich in iron, omega 3, and choline your baby’s brain will get the nutrients it needs to grow and develop. Baby yoga, optional. 

Think beef 2 920x250 1 - 3 nutrients your baby needs to build a healthy brain 


Jessica Penner, BSc, Registered Dietitian  

Nita Sharda, BSc, Registered Dietitian   

Visit happyhealthyeaters.com for more information. 

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