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Whatever may have the inspiration for joining the gym, one must ensure that they do it with minimum injury, do not suffer muscle loss, and have a proper recovery without compromising on their immunity. The regime of going to the gym, doing cross-training and running for miles will not bear fruits if the body does not get proper nutrition. Diet can make or break your gym goals.
- Check for deficiencies: It is recommended that anyone beginning a rigorous exercise regime either through the gym or any other form should on priority get a check-up done for any nutritional deficiencies. A lot of us fail to recognize the importance of studying our body first before plunging head-on into exercising. If someone is vitamin D or calcium deficient, the workout could lead to injury and a weak immune system. If one is deficient in magnesium it could cause muscle cramps and a delayed recovery.
- Pre-workout food: Optimal nutrient intake prior the workout will not only help optimize performance but also minimize muscle damage. It is very important because the body is not used to physical strain and a sudden stress without proper refueling may lead to low blood sugar levels (hypoglycemia) or dizziness. The pre-workout food needs to be a good combination of carbs with protein. Suggested options could be fruit with a handful of nuts, a bowl of fruits with nuts (Smoothie is an excellent option), boiled sweet potato with nuts.
- Post-workout diet: After exercise, the muscles use up their glycogen stores for fuel leading to its depletion. Some proteins in the muscles would also get broken down or damaged. After the workout, the body rebuilds on these stores and works on the repair of the muscles. Eating right nutrients after exercise helps accelerate this process. It would decrease muscle protein breakdown and instead help in the synthesis. A combination of good carbs and proteins will help in the recovery process. Those who exercise more than once a day need a greater amount of carbs than those who would take a break of a day two in between.
- Hydrate well: Well, this could be a cliché and we think we all understand this mantra well, but one would be surprised by how little importance we actually pay for it. Now, drinking water during the exercise is something that we would be forced to do, due to obvious reasons. BUT, to avoid any adverse effects, hydration should begin 2-3 hours before any workout or sporting activity.
- Avoid Dietary Supplements: It is not advised for beginners. Only if someone is suffering from severe deficiency or a medical condition should they have supplements but that too should be consumed under supervision.
In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
I'm hitting gym 5 times in a week. And Im not taking whey protein can I take bcaa and glutamine for recovery. Will it sufficent?
The boom in the convenience food culture over the last two decades is largely responsible for the weight issues that the present generation is staring at. Lifestyle diseases associated with the same are forcing us to adopt a healthier approach with a focus on our body needs.
But, due to our fast paced life, we want a quick fix solution to losing weight too. What we forget is that there can be no shortcuts to achieve that goal in a healthy and reasonable way. Crash diets or sudden bursts of exercise can never be the best ways to lose weight. The body likes slow changes in terms of food and exercise.
When we suddenly start to starve ourselves, we run the risk of becoming deficient in necessary nutrients and vitamins that our body needs. Similarly, sudden changes in exercise regime might cause injury to one’s body and set our fitness levels in a back gear. At times, it may even leave us demotivated.
So, if one needs to lose weight, what should one do?
Understand the relationship between energy needs and body weight
Our body uses food for energy. It stores any excess energy as fat. Therefore, if we eat more food than what our body needs for daily activities and cell maintenance, we are bound to gain weight. To lose weight, we need to get your body to use up these stores of fat.
Follow the three-prong strategy
Adjust the daily diet scientifically to help reduce the extra calories one is used to eating.
Increase the levels of activity one is used to. This helps to increase our metabolism and thus the body burns more calories throughout the day.
Let us try and further explore these strategies in detail.
Strategy 1: Gradual restructuring of the present food pattern
Sustained weight loss should involve permanent change in one’s eating habits. But, this must be achieved by taking baby steps. Even small changes can make a huge difference.
These changes could mean changing the kinds of food, time of food, meal portions or method of cooking. Also, if the change in eating habits is done keeping one’s preferences in mind, with little deviation from their routine, it takes less effort to follow a plan.
Over a long term this strategy helps to change our perception about food and bring about a lifestyle change.
What it does not mean
Crash dieting which usually ends up with you either getting weaker or giving up in desperation. It can also lead to a yo-yoing effect of drastic weight loss followed by weight gain, resulting in a vicious cycle.
Strategy 2: Set up a sustainable exercise regime
The second aspect of one’s health plan must be a recommended exercise routine. This follows a simple logic that if one increases the amount of exercise one does for the same diet and calorie intake, they will almost certainly lose weight. So, if it is coupled with diet changes, the results are always encouraging.
The exercise plan need not make a huge dent into your pocket. This too should be thought through and planned keeping one’s preference in mind. Physical activity is more important than the form. So, if one is not a gym person, brisk walking even for 45 minutes a day, would work wonders for you.
Key is to find something that one enjoys, is easy to do in terms of location and cost. It is then more likely to be build it into one’s routineand taken to a logical conclusion.
Strategy 3: Be patient and persevere
Staying motivated throughout the entire transformation process is probably the toughest challenge.It might take a while before one notice any changes, but they will steadily appear. There will be days when you would want to or probably will give into your temptations. There would also be times when the weighing scale would simply refuse to budge. Instead of losing weight you would be frustrated on having put a little back on.
Remember, that everyone goes through this phase - it is normal! Only thing is that one should not let it come in the way to a healthier self. All it might need is a tweak in the health plan. Set realistic goals and keep in mind that slow and steady would always win the race! If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a Dietitian/Nutritionist.
There is a palpable buzz around superfoods all over the world. One day quinoa is being hailed as the star among foods and the next day everyone is falling head over heels over the benefits of kuttu (buckwheat).
One wonders what makes certain foods qualify for the ‘superfood’ label. One, they need to be loaded with vital nutrients and vitamins. Second, they need to help in treating or lowering the risk of certain diseases? Let us explore a bit more.
What most of us do not realize is that a lot of superfoods have been around for centuries and our grandparents and ancestors have long been consuming them for their health benefits. It is only now that they have been re-discovered and are hitting the headlines. At the same time, a lot of exotic superfoods are being introduced, which are difficult to source and generally rather expensive.
The food industry wants to persuade us that eating some foods can slow down the ageing process, lift depression, boost our physical ability, and even our intelligence. Had that been the case, mother nature would have created only those foods and not so many kinds of foods, with different nutritive values.
The problem with some of the superfoods being aggressively marketed is that they are exotic in nature. So, unless you have the local or native super foods, not only would they be difficult to source but would also make a huge dent into the pocket. So, one would have something like kale only occasionally. Healthy, yes, but would one consume it every day? Probably not!
We over here prefer to talk about ‘Super Diets’ and like to avoid the use of the term ‘superfoods’. The emphasis is on a healthy, balanced diet, rich in fruits, vegetables and wholegrain foods, which are all easy to source.
So, what should be our strategy to a super diet?
- Eating foods and vegetables that are in season. Seasonal fruits and vegetables provide maximum health benefits and nutritional requirement for that time of the year. For example, bottle gourd (ghiya or doodhi) is a summer vegetable and is widely recommended for weight loss, managing high cholesterol and hypertension. But one must remember that since it is rich in water content (96 gm per 100 gm), it’s consumption during winters will not be as beneficial for our body. This is because it helps to reduce our body heat whereas in winters we want to trap the body heat to maintain our body temperature.
- Going local and consuming foods that are native to our region. Let’s make the best of what is available locally. Our humble jamun available during summers, is very high in Vitamin C content and works as an immunity booster. But, the trend is growing towards consumption of imported, dried cranberries which also give the same nutrition, but at a much higher cost. What we forget is that since jamun is a native fruit, our body is inherently adapted to digesting it better and getting the maximum benefit from it.
- Adopting unprocessed foods from all major food categories. As far as possible, we should banish processed and packaged foods from our shopping basket. For example, readymade breakfast cereals like wheat flakes have added preservatives, hidden sugars and are processed (extrusion method) such that when compared to the old, whole grain wheat dalia, they have far lower nutritional value.
- Focusing on getting our five portions of fruits and vegetables in a day. Eating a variety of foods ensures we get a wide variety of the nutrients our body needs. Fruits and vegetables have differed colours to indicate a different set of vitamins and minerals. So, include as many colours as you can in a day for a super-diet.
- Adjusting our diet based on our needs, ability to digest and medical conditions. For example, soya and its products are a blessing for adding proteins to a vegetarian diet, but if consumed by people with thyroid problem, it can interfere with proper absorption of medicine by the body.
Remember, there are no miracle foods and consuming a certain food is not going to undo the damage caused by unmindful eating. Any food when eaten at the right time and in the right combination shall keep us in good health. A balanced super diet far outweighs any super food in terms of the wholesome nutrition it provides our body. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a dietitian-nutritionist.
Navratras are celebrated to worship the divine mother through meditation, prayers and chanting. It is not just a religious practice, but a spiritual one too. It coincides, twice a year, with the changing seasons and is a process of rejuvenating our body and mind. This reflects in the foods that are supposed to be consumed during Navratri fasting. Why is that we fast and that certain foods are shunned during the festival while some are encouraged and embraced wholeheartedly? Here we try to deconstruct some aspects related to food and fasting during the festival.
Fasting is an integral part of Navratri, which helps to cleanse our body and rekindle the digestive fires. It gives our digestive system the much-needed rest from the constant overloaded eating habits. We can use this as an opportunity to detoxify our body and break away from the regular dietary pattern.
Traditionally, Navratri foods are wholesome and high on nutrition. Kuttu (buckwheat), which we have been having for ages is being hailed as the new superfood! Along with kuttu, sabudana (tapioca pearls), singhada (water chestnut) and amaranth (rajgiri) are widely used and help bridge the gap created by the absence of wheat and rice. Most of the navratri flours are packed with proteins, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants which makes them an ideal substitute for heavy gluten rich grains.
Focus during Navratri should be on foods that are nutrient rich, but still light on our stomach, in keeping with saatvic (pure, simple and fresh) principles. Thus, fruits, juices, dairy products and their preparations are stressed upon. However, when we consume food during this period, we tend to overindulge. We have distorted the cooking techniques such that we load ourselves with fried, high fat foods. This, instead of making our body feel light, tends to bloat it up.
We has put together these simple techniques that one may follow this Navratri, to make the best out of fasting foods:
- Cooking technique: The key to unlocking the nutritional value of food is to cook right- instead of making the usual fried paranthas and pooris, try and make rotis, Kuttu dosas, chilla or pancakes. One can have them with the nourishing Kuttu ki Kadhi. Let’s get innovative and try something new!
- Healthy Snacking: One can easily replace fried chips and namkeens with makhanas that can be roasted at home and seasoned with rock salt, black pepper, chili flakes, etc. to one’s liking. We can also help ourselves to baked potatoes, instead of fried ones. We have also put together a Navratra salad for healthy snacking. To satiate our need for a dessert during fasting try making the pumpkin kheer. These are the small changes that could go a long way to achieving the desired result of cleansing our bodies.
- Keep Hydrated: Kuttu and amaranth being rich in protein need good amount of water for proper digestion. Therefore, it is imperative that we increase our liquid intake for proper elimination of toxins during the process of cleansing. Fruits like water melons, melon, grapes, pomegranates or oranges have high water content. So, try to add 3 different colours of fruits, through the day, to keep you hydrated. Fresh coconut water will also help to keep the ions in balance make us feel light. We also suggest making the bottle gourd punch.
- Conscious Fasting: Navratri not being a rigid fast, people tend to follow it differently. The fast could be only on fruits, liquids, once a day grain or varied. We should take into account our health and lifestyle while deciding on the type/ form of fasting. Special care should be taken by people with health issues like diabetes, hypertension and conditions like pregnancy and lactation.
So, hopefully, armed with the science behind Navratri foods, you would be making better informed choices. This Navratri let us leave the unhealthy cooking habits behind and ensure that food that we eat is tasty and healthy too. Happy Fasting and Healthy Feasting!
There has been an intense debate, which is in the loop for years and has been raging back and forth regarding the deficiencies of a vegetarian diet versus the perils of a non-vegetarian one. This heated debate is both accurate as well as unfounded. Probably, that’s the entire reason it is still a debate. In fact, if you look into the diet of both groups, you will be able to identify the fact that, there is a space for healthy living in both.
In a vegetarian diet, the food intake of a person is confined to a large variety of foods derived from plants along with milk and dairy. And, any form of meat and products derived from animals are completely avoided.
- Vegetarians have been noted to consume lesser amount of proteins, but they do not suffer from problems related to a high protein diet, such as osteoporosis (characterized by brittle and weak bones) and kidney failure.
- The diet includes high level of antioxidants such as vitamin E & C as well as carotene, which is available in vegetables and fruits.
- Additionally, they consume less amount of saturated fats.
- Deficiency of vitamin B12 is common amongst vegetarians, as it is mainly available in meat, eggs and fish. Deficiency of vitamin B12 can yield rare symptoms such as increased fatigue, shortness of breath and a temporary loss of body balance.
- Lack of protein, as stated above, along with iron and zinc deficiency is also common.
Symptoms of protein deficiency can be troublesome and include signs like
- Sluggish metabolism
- Loss of body muscles (as the body tries to derive the regular protein intake from your muscles, thus making them weak),
- Trouble gaining or losing weight
- Persistent fatigue
- Longer healing time in case of wounds and injuries
- Pain in joints
- Drastic changes in blood sugar level that might result in diabetes
- A weak immune system makes you vulnerable to all kinds of diseases.
A non-vegetarian diet includes all forms of plant foods as well as foods and by-products that are derived from animals, such as poultry, fish, meat, etc.
- Vitamin B12 is present in adequate level since they are derived from sources such as meat, eggs and fish. Adequate intake of proteins is never an issue for non-vegetarians
- Meat products are loaded with saturated fats, which increase the risk of heart diseases. Studies have shown that people consuming non-vegetarian diets:
- Have shorter lifespan and are more vulnerable to chronic diseases.
- Tend to develop diabetes, heart diseases and hypertension.
- Usually non vegetarians eat less amount of vegetables and fruits than what is recommended.
If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a Dietitian/Nutritionist.
Simple sugar is also known as monosaccharide, is the basic unit of carbohydrates. The simplest forms of sugar are usually colourless and crystalline and exist in forms of glucose, fructose and galactose. Simple sugar is deemed to be a major concern according to all health nutritionists.
Here are five reasons why you should avoid them:
- Sugar is the biggest cause of obesity: Sugar present in all kinds of junk food is considered to be the biggest cause of obesity as fructose easily converts into fat inside your body. Consuming too much sugar can put too much pressure on your liver as it is responsible for converting fructose into fat. Large amounts of sugar are directly converted into fat, thus, putting you at a very high risk of becoming obese.
- Increases risks of contracting heart diseases: Consuming too much sugar throughout the day causes a hike in your insulin levels which can further affect your nervous system. An excess of sugar in your blood stream also causes your blood pressure to rise which makes you more likely to get a heart stroke. Thus, to avoid cardiac problems at a young age, you must cut down your sugar intake.
- Weakens immune system: Sugar is a major reason for inflammation which affects the central immune system adversely. With an excess intake of sugar, the body becomes less effective in dealing with infection and common cold because phagocytes (white blood cells) cannot do their job properly of engulfing dangerous bacteria. Thus, you should aim at boosting your immune system by cutting down on sugar completely.
- Sugar can make you age faster: The sugar content in your body creates molecules known as AGEs (Advanced glycation end products) which attack the fibres in elastin and collagen (the building blocks of the cells on your skin). A study also proved that consuming too much sugar can result in acne as the collagen in your skin weakens. Thus, to maintain youthful looking skin for longer, you should remove sugar from your diet completely.
- Sugar can be addictive: Most people who consume too much sugar get addicted to it. According to a study, the addiction to sugar is very similar to addiction to tobacco and drugs. You might start craving sugar and depending on it to change your mood more often than required. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a doctor and ask a free question.
An apple a day keeps the doctor away, but Minions seem to disagree. An apple being the fruit of choice for millions of households across the world, recent studies show that apples may not be as good for you as you’ve been led to believe. For starters they have high sugar content, for the calorie conscious, which might be a bad revelation. The really high fiber content of apples is known to induce stomach aches. Studies show that most apples in the regular market are laden with pesticides, which are harmful for human consumption. Apples are known to cause allergies too and not to forget, apple seeds contain trace amounts of cyanide.
So if not apples, what is supposed to keep the doctor at bay? The world is going ga ga over bananas. Bananas and papayas are two easy to resource, lower priced alternative as the household fruit of choice. Here’s why.
- Papayas and Bananas contain fewer carbohydrates and more protein than Apples and hence instantly making them a better choice for calorie conscious.
- High levels of Tryptophan, make bananas and papayas a natural antidepressant and stress buster.
- Both are rich in Anti oxidants which helps in preventing and fighting cancer.
- Bananas protect an individual against type 2 diabetes and aid in weight loss in this new age of morbid obesity that makes it quite a selling point.
- Both fruits being rich in vitamin C are known to boost immunity.
- Papayas are rich in flavonoids, vitamin A and beta carotene, which protect the mucus membrane of the eye and are known to prevent age related retardation of eye sight.
- Bananas and Papayas help prevent swelling of joints and work well to prevent arthritis.
- Both fruits are known to help ease menstrual cramps.
- Papaya is rich in vitamin E, vitamin C and antioxidants like beta-carotene which helps prevent your skin from free radical damage keeping wrinkles, marks and signs of ageing at bay.
- Papaya is known to encourage hair growth and fight against hair fall.
- The duo is known to improve overall digestion as well. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a doctor and ask a free question.
Early childhood is a time when the brain develops rapidly and nutrition is an important part of healthy brain development. It is important for children to eat a variety of foods that can provide them with the proper intake of carbohydrate, protein, good fats, minerals, vitamins and antioxidants. There is a very strong mind-gut connection; therefore focusing on the food you choose to complete the nutritional needs of your child can make a great difference in their brain function.
Certain foods are better for our brains than others, these brain foods may help boost a child's brain growth and even improve the memory and cognitive development.
During infancy, the amino acids and fatty acids in breast milk are ideal for optimal brain development. The brain continues to grow throughout early childhood and children who do no consume a balanced diet are at risk of developing mental retardation and behavioral problem.
10 brain foods to feed the mind and body properly:
1. Whole grains: Brain needs a consistent supply of glucose, thus foods those are high in refined sugars and carbohydrates leads to rapid fluctuation in blood glucose levels and the brain doesn't get the steady fuel supply and energy for proper functioning, therefore to nourish the most active part of body include whole-grain breads, oatmeal, roasted grains in the diet of children for regular release of glucose in body. Oats are also rich in vitamin-B, Vitamin-E, potassium and zinc.
2. Eggs: The protein and nutrients in eggs help kids concentrate because the egg yolks are packed with choline which boosts memory. Eggs are also rich in protein, which provides energy to help the brain stay alert longer.
3. Fish: Fish is a good source of vitamin D and omega-3s, which protect the brain from declining mental skills and memory loss. Salmon, tuna, and sardines are all rich in Omega-3s. The more Omega-3s we can get to the brain, the better it will function and the better kids will be able to focus.
4. Seeds: Packed with protein, essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals. Seeds may boost mood and keep your nervous system in check. For example sunflower seed butter as they are rich in folate, vitamin E and selenium and are safe for nut-free zones.try to include seeds directly to the meals.
5. Iron is important for brain development: Preschoolers and toddlers typically eat less iron-rich foods than they did in infancy. In addition, the iron that children get is usually non-Heme iron (from plant sources,) which has lower availability than heme iron (from animal source).sources beef, nuts and dark leafy vegetable (spinach) and tofu.
6. Milk and Yoghurt: Milk and yoghurt contains healthy fats and proteins those are important for brain health. The majority of the brain is made up of fat, so it is no wonder healthy fat is important to feed the developing brain. Protein is important as it can help brain cells send and receive information effectively. Yoghurt also contains good bacteria that will help boost your child's immune system as well as aid digestion, children need higher dose of vitamin D, which is present in dairy and its products.
7. Organic Foods and leafy vegetables: These organic foods are free from pesticides and insecticides and preservatives and do not cause neurodevelopment problems in children, which will impair proper brain functioning. Green leafy vegetables are loaded with vitamin A and K; these keep inflammation at bay .e.g. Spinach, kale, lettuce.
8. Walnuts: The high level of antioxidants, vitamin and minerals in walnuts improves the cognitive health of kids and improve their mental alertness also.
9. Colorful veggies: Vegetables with a rich, deep color such as tomatoes, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, carrots, and spinach are the best sources of antioxidants that support brain health and keep brain cells strong. These foods can be given from weaning age.
10. Berries: The color of the food tells the nutritional value of it. All the berries like strawberry, cherries, blueberries and blackberries have intense color are especially rich in vitamin C and high levels of antioxidants. Blueberries have high levels of Gallic acid, which boost memory by preventing degeneration of brain cells.
So, go ahead and try to include different food group to your Child's plate for a better performance.