Your baby’s first year is crucial in terms of his growth and development. It is essential to provide him with the required nutrients in the right quantity to ensure all-round development. Your baby is also striving to achieve a fair number of developmental milestones in this period, making his nutritional intake all the more important. Among the nutrients, research has shown DHA and ARA as being important. Let’s read on to know why.
More about DHA
DHA, or docosahexaenoic acid, is an Omega-3 fat that is present in breast milk. In case, you are unable to breastfeed your baby, ensure that your infant formula contains this nutrient in the required proportion. DHA is an essential fatty acid that is required to help your baby’s development. It plays a role in the development of the baby’s immune system. Studies have shown a link between brain development and DHA. Your baby’s brain grows at a rapid pace during the last trimester of your pregnancy and keeps growing right into infancy. DHA is important for the growth of neural connections and pathways in the brain, as well as the retina. This directly translates into better neural development as well as vision. What’s more, the role that DHA plays begins in the uterus itself and continues once your baby is born.
What you should know about ARA?
ARA or arachidonic acid is a type of Omega-6 fat that is again found naturally in breast milk. It is essential in the development of your baby’s cognitive functions. DHA – ARA together may also help improve baby’s IQ scores, which improves the problem-solving ability in your baby as he grows older.
How can you and your baby get adequate DHA and ARA?
A balanced, healthy diet is a good way to get some much-required DHA and ARA into your system. For those who eat seafood, a serving of fish twice a week can help with the intake. Meat and eggs are a good source of Omega-6 fats, which can give you the required ARA.
When you are breastfeeding your baby, make sure you eat foods rich in DHA-ARA to help your baby receive this vital nutrient. When your baby starts off on solids, it is advisable to introduce DHA-ARA rich foods.
If you are vegetarian, don’t you worry about getting your share of DHA – ARA. These two nutrients are found in sources such as nuts, canola oil, and flaxseeds. Do incorporate these into your diet when breastfeeding, or introduce them to your child when you offer him solid food.
In conclusion, do ensure that whatever nutritional choices you make for your little one, he gets the crucial DHA – ARA to help him grow, develop and meet his milestones. This has an impact on your baby both in the short and long term.