Foods with dha for baby

Why Toddlers Need DHA | Stonyfield

If you’re a card-carrying label reader–scouring the fine print on food packages and looking for basic, wholesome ingredients–you may have wondered why the ingredient list on your toddler’s yogurt includes…sardines?

DHA is an omega-3 fatty acid that may help your toddler’s growth and development.

Sardine and anchovy oil are natural sources of DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid that may help your toddler’s growth and development. DHA is found in abundance inside the brain. Synapses—the areas of the brain where messages are sent and received—are particularly rich in DHA. So it’s thought that DHA might be involved in communication between brain cells. That’s why dietitians like myself sometimes refer to DHA-rich fish as “brain food”.

First, a quick primer. There are three kinds of omega-3 fatty acids:

  • DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) found in fish and their oils
  • EPA (icosapentaenoic acid) found in fish and their oils, together with DHA
  • ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) found in plant foods such as flaxseed, chia seeds, walnuts, and canola and soybean oils.

Omega-3s can be trickier to get than other kinds of fats because the foods that are rich sources of omega-3s (like fish and nuts) aren’t mainstays of the average American diet. Yet these fatty acids have so many potential health benefits. Omega-3s are being studied for their possible link to improved heart health, memory, and mood. Some research has also found sharper vision in babies with higher blood levels of DHA—as well as higher IQs later in childhood among kids fed DHA-fortified formula compared to those given formula without it.

If you breastfed, your baby got DHA through breast milk. Infant formulas are now fortified with the fatty acid as well. But once your baby is exclusively eating table food, DHA can be harder to come by. According to government surveys, kids under the age of 6 are only getting a fraction of the DHA they need everyday.

Natural sources of DHA include fish such as salmon, herring, trout, sardines, and tuna (and their oils), shrimp, and much smaller amounts in chicken. Remember that most babies can start eating fish after six months. Though fish used to be discouraged in the first year of life because of potential allergic reaction, those recommendations have changed (if you or your baby have a history of food allergies, talk to your pediatrician about the best time to introduce fish). You can puree fish in the first months of starting solids and progress to soft pieces of poached or baked fish.

You may have heard that you can get DHA from plant foods like walnuts and flaxseed. These foods are actually rich in ALA. Though it’s true that the body converts some of the ALA in these foods into DHA, the amount converted is quite small–less than one percent! So these foods just can’t be relied on as good sources of DHA.

Foods that are fortified with the fatty acid can help boost your child’s intake of DHA. YoToddler yogurt and YoTots pouches contain fish oil, naturally rich in DHA. Other fortified foods may be supplemented with algae, a vegetarian source of DHA (such as certain brands of eggs, which come from chickens fed a diet enriched with algal oil).

But however you choose to get it—through fish, fortified foods, or a combination of both—know that brain-building DHA will help your toddler get off to a great start.


DHA for Babies and Kids

DHA is an omega- 3 fatty acid. It is used to improve health in children. Found naturally in many sources, the expectant mother is the primary giver of this acid when she is pregnant. The prenatal period is a window when the baby’s brain develops with the help of the right nutrition supplied through the placenta. DHA influences the development of the brain, eyes and other primary neurological functions. It has a profound influence during the first two years of life and early stages of childhood. From birth until five years of age, the brain increases by 3.5 times its total mass and it is of critical importance that DHA is consumed in adequate amounts to support the rapid growth in the brain.

A healthy diet that provides about 600mg of DHA daily has a significant impact on the cognitive functions of the child and enhance the development of the brain and eyes. Organ meat and fatty fish are rich sources of naturally found DHA and unfortunately, these are not commonly consumed by children as they are picky eaters and prone to allergies at times. However, the growing awareness of its importance has led to its inclusion in milk, formula and other fortified foods making it easier for people of all age groups including children to obtain the benefits of this important nutrient.

What is DHA?

Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), a part of the omega-3 fatty acid family is a long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid often called “the healthy fats.” It has a large influence on our body as it keeps us healthy and is crucial for the optimal growth of the brain and eyes through our life. In fact, the nutrient takes centre stage when neural tissues, including vision, are being formed in the womb. DHA supports our cognitive, visual and mental faculties as we age.

What Are the Benefits of DHA for Babies and Kids?

DHA has undoubtedly gained a lot of attention and is appearing in all places from eggs, baby food to milk. Why should one care so much about this nutrient? Well, the answer is it is a beneficial fat. The role of DHA is accentuated during infancy and early years of childhood.

For Babies

DHA plays a key role in the structural component in the brain, eyes and nervous system. Breastmilk is high in DHA content and breastfed babies have strong mental and visual acuity.

For Kids

During the early infant years until five years of age, the brain makes rapid development and increases to about 4 times its total mass. Adequate DHA intake during these crucial years in important for optimal development and enhancement of cognitive functions. It has been researched and proven that children who have a good intake of DHA until five years of age have better IQ scores, tremendous memory, good reading skills and strong vision.

DHA deficiency could be common in children suffering from Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD). In a nutshell, DHA is imperative for neurological and visual development.

While there are no guidelines for a daily DHA dosage for children, there are certain recommendations that exist for the intake of DHA plus eicosapentaenoic acid, or EPA.

For Babies

Babies who are breastfeeding will receive most of their DHA intake from the milk. Breastmilk is known to be high on DHA content. It is advisable for mother’s to increase their intake of DHA rich food while breastfeeding, A breastfeeding mother should aim at consuming at least 600-800 milligrams of DHA in a day via natural sources or supplements.

For Kids

From the age of 1.5 years to five years of age, the DHA requirement for children is recommended as 600 milligrams of combined DHA plus EPA per day for a child weighing 20 kilograms.

DHA Rich Food for Babies and Kids

There are certain foods that are rich in DHA that you can include in your child’s diet. Here are some DHA rich foods for children of different ages.

1. DHA for Breastfed Babies

The best source of DHA for breastfed babies is from breast milk. The amount of DHA varies according to the mother’s diet and the quantity of omega-3’s and DHA she is receiving. It is advisable for feeding mothers to include fish, eggs, yoghurts and dried nuts in their diet to help babies receive DHA for healthy development of the brain and retina of the eye. Formula-fed babies get their DHA intake only if the formula is fortified with it and so it is important to read the labels.

2. DHA Foods for Toddlers and Kids

There are a lot of natural varieties of DHA food for toddlers and kids. Some foods that could feature in your child’s regular diet are:

  • Salmon contains the highest content of DHA among the fish varieties and offers a healthy proportion of good omega-3 fats
  • Eggs contain small amounts of DHA naturally but you could also opt for DHA enriched eggs from chickens fed with a supplemented diet
  • DHA enriched yoghurts are a staple on the supermarket shelves and you could offer it to kids as a breakfast or light snack
  • Peanut butter could be substituted for the sugar-rich jam as a spread to morning toast for kids
  • Serve a handful of walnuts to your toddler as a delicious or healthy snack.
  • Formula milk now comes with fortified DHA as manufacturers have realised the importance of DHA. There are some products specially designed for children aged 1 year and above and you could buy them after checking the label thoroughly.

Are DHA Supplements for Infants and Children Safe?

Numerous studies have covered the effects of DHA supplements on childhood development. Some research has proven that supplements have an effect on the behaviour and cognitive abilities of a child. DHA supplements administered to children with learning disabilities helped them in developing their mental capabilities to a certain extent. However, due to lack of research, DHA supplements are not recommended as a treatment for any condition in children. It is possible to achieve the needed intake by eating fatty fish, nuts and eggs in your diet. Discuss with your paediatrician about giving your kids DHA supplements and take his advice about the best DHA supplement for toddlers.

Precautions to Take while giving DHA Supplements to your Child

Mercury levels prevalent in seafood, when consumed in excess, could have an adverse effect on the cognitive development of a child. It is then that parents resort to DHA omega 3 supplements for kids. Supplements containing fish oil are purified and devoid of contaminating metals or minerals. However, small amounts of toxins may still be present. For breastfeeding babies, parents can buy DHA drops for infants in India. But, an excess of fish oil could lead to bleeding in children. So, it is mandatory that you seek consultation from the paediatrician before giving DHA supplements to determine the safe and effective dosage.

DHA is an important nutrient that fuels your baby’s optimal development. A well-balanced level of DHA has been linked to good retinal health and cognitive ability. The best way to include DHA in your child’s diet is to make every bite count by avoiding empty calories and choosing super-foods that will give your baby the necessary nutrition.

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Omega 3 for children: what is the use of DHA

It is important for every mother that her child is healthy, active, learns something new well and develops intellectually. Children are characterized by curiosity, a desire to explore the world, they quickly pick up the behavior and vocabulary of their parents.

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But this is not always the case. In early school and adolescence, many children begin to have problems concentrating, and academic performance declines. The reason for this may be a banal lack of docosahexaenoic acid (Omega-3), which directly affects brain function.

What are the benefits of DHA for children and how to replenish the reserves of this acid in the child's body - further in the material.

What is it? . Polyunsaturated fatty acids are very important during the growth and development of the child's body. Omega-3 and Omega-6 are simply necessary for the health of the organs of vision. Numerous scientific studies have established that DHA is a nutritional component for the retina. In addition, this acid is important for the functioning of neurons that are responsible for the learning ability and psychological health of children.

Read also: Does a child need cholesterol?

However, deficiency of polyunsaturated fatty acids in young children and adolescents is quite common. Our body is not able to produce these substances in the right amount, so the main source of unsaturated acids is the foods that we eat. If there are no difficulties with Omega-6 - they are in sufficient quantities in butter and vegetable oils, then with Omega-3 everything is somewhat more complicated. Docosahexaenoic acid is found in fatty fish and algae. But in order to provide the body with the right concentration of this substance, these foods must be eaten regularly. Every mother knows how difficult it is to make a child eat fish, and even more so seaweed.

See also: Seafood and baby: compatible?

How to fill the deficiency of DHA

An excellent alternative to fish, shellfish and algae unloved by children can be regular fish oil. Of course, we are not talking about its traditional format, which the older generation was fed in kindergartens from a spoon. Now there is a huge variety of concentrated fish oil in gelatin capsules without taste and smell. Adding drugs based on this component to the daily diet of a child is not difficult.

NAN® 3 OPTIPRO® contains an optimized protein complex and probiotics that help normalize the intestinal microflora and increase the body's ability to fight infections.


One capsule contains enough DHA to meet your daily requirement. It is worth noting that the course of the drug will help:

  • Establish proper brain development
  • Improve cognitive functions
  • Strengthen immunity
  • Improve skin condition, which is especially important for children of transitional age
  • Fight insomnia and restless sleep
  • Calm the nervous system

In addition to the already mentioned fish and algae, Omega-3 polyunsaturated acids are also found in other products. For example, they are found in meat, eggs and dairy products. It is also worth noting that not all varieties of fish contain these substances. Give preference to herring, mackerel, salmon, caviar and cod liver.

DHA intake and side effects

The body's need for DHA increases before the age of 2 years, when the child's body is actively growing and developing. This element is extremely important for the formation of brain structures in the first days of life. DHA can be introduced into the infant's diet through breast milk. For children under two years of age, the daily intake is determined based on body weight. The optimal dose is considered to be 4.5-5.5 milligrams per kilogram of body weight.

While omega-3 fatty acids have many health benefits, they also have serious side effects. So the consumption of polyunsaturated fatty acids in excess of the norm can lead to problems with the blood. They are known to have the ability to thin the blood. And this in itself is dangerous, especially in childhood. The slightest scratches, abrasions or more serious wounds will be accompanied by profuse bleeding and bruising.

Omega-3 preparations are considered a dietary supplement and are available without a prescription, but, like any drug, you should not prescribe it to a child on your own. This is just the case when excessive caution will not be superfluous. Talk to your doctor, do some simple medical tests, check your blood clotting rates, and if all is well, feel free to include DHA foods and supplements in your child's diet.

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Omega-3 for children: benefits, daily allowance and main sources

During the period of active growth and development, the child should receive all the necessary nutrients and vitamins. Among them is Omega-3. But the diet of children is sometimes far from ideal - they do not receive enough useful components to grow up healthy and quickly adapt to increasing school loads. Let us analyze in detail how much Omega-3 a child needs and what to do if this norm is not respected?

What is Omega-3?

Omega-3 belongs to the group of polyunsaturated fatty acids. There are many representatives of this family of substances, but the most important of them are alpha-linoleic, docosahexaenoic and eicosapentaenoic acids. They are involved in many processes occurring in the body - they are present in cell membranes and blood vessels, activate metabolic processes and ensure the functioning of internal organs.
Not all omega-3s are produced by the body. Many of them the child can only get with food, so the diet of the child is of great importance.
Daily norm of Omega-3 for children:
● up to a year — 0.5 g/day;
● 1-3 years 0.7 g/day;
● 4-8 years, 1 g/day;
● 9-14 years - 1.2 g/day;
● 15-18 years old - 1.6 g/day.

What happens if the baby gets enough Omega-3?

1. General immunity is strengthened. The child's body copes better with infections and viruses. This is important during the flu and cold season, as well as during the period when the baby goes to kindergarten and school.
2. Polyunsaturated acids are present in the composition of the gray matter of the brain and are involved in the transmission of nerve impulses. With regular intake of Omega-3, the child becomes more attentive, his mental abilities increase.
3. It is believed that a sufficient amount of Omega-3 in a child's body is an effective prevention of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Fatty acids also help the child cope with anxiety and stress associated with increased mental stress.
4. Omega-3 fatty acids increase the production of tear fluid, which prevents the development of dry eye syndrome in those children who spend a lot of time at the computer. And at an early age, useful substances are involved in the formation of the visual analyzer. This is the prevention of poor vision in a child.
5. Omega-3 plays an important role in the proper formation of bones and teeth - acids regulate the level of phosphorus and calcium in the blood, and also increase the absorption of minerals in the intestines. It is important to ensure the intake of nutrients during the period of active growth of the child.
6. Polyunsaturated acids protect the child's cardiovascular system, helping to reduce the level of "bad" cholesterol in the blood. And this is important with an unbalanced diet.
7. Fatty acids are involved in the body's absorption of fat-soluble vitamins - E, A, D, K. They are important for the normal condition of hair, skin and nails.
Experts note that children with omega-3 deficiency have learning problems caused by distracted attention and hyperactivity, they have sleep disturbances, anxiety and irritability. Problems familiar, unfortunately, to many parents. And before you constantly scold the child for inattention and restlessness, you should think about how balanced his diet is. In some cases, children with omega-3 deficiency are also underweight.

Food sources Omega-3

The body does not produce many of the omega-3 acids. But they can be obtained from food. Main sources:
● seafood and oily fish;
● mustard, chia and flax seeds and oils based on them;
● meat of wild animals;
● algae;
● spinach.
Pediatricians insist that every child should eat fish at least 3 times a week. It is the main source of fatty acids. In this case, it is better to choose a fresh product, and not frozen. The higher the fat content of the fish, the more fatty acids it contains. Suitable salmon, mackerel, herring, anchovies, perch. You can also opt for canned fish - vegetable oil in the composition prevents the destruction of unsaturated fatty acids even during long-term storage of the product.
To maintain the “correct” level of Omega-3, it is also important that the child consumes enough vegetables and fruits, vegetable oils, and leafy greens.
All of these are quite affordable products. That's just not every child has a love for the "right" food. Fish is one thing. But with algae and spinach, there will clearly be problems. Sometimes feeding your baby foods rich in omega-3s is a difficult task for parents.

What to do if the diet does not replenish the norm of Omega-3?

If it is not possible to normalize the child's menu for sufficient intake of unsaturated acids in his body, biologically active supplements can be included in the diet. The most popular is fish oil. Probably everyone has tried it at least once. Fish oil contains all the necessary polyunsaturated fatty acids and many other useful substances.
But remember how specific the taste and aroma of fish oil. It is unlikely that they will be able to feed the child. So we are looking for another way - an additive without such an unpleasant smell and taste so that the child does not understand that he is taking fish oil.

Mirrolla offers parents an easy solution to the problem - chewable capsules with tutti frutti flavor "Cook la Cook".
An excellent option for those who do not know how to feed a child with healthy, but so unpleasant fish oil.

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