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Filipino Foods that Boost IQ - Brain Food for Kids

Medically reviewed by Jezreel Esguerra, MD · General Practitioner

Written by Sahlee Barrer · Updated Apr 25, 2023

Filipino Foods that Boost IQ - Brain Food for Kids

Children need all the help they can get to ensure that their brains continue to grow and develop. Getting the right amount of sleep and engaging in stimulating play all play a role to improve locomotor skills and hone critical thinking abilities. Good nutrition is particularly important, and parents can help by providing their children with the best brain food or Filipino foods that boost IQ.

Why Brain-Boosting Nutrition Should Start As Early As Possible

Your child’s brain develops the most in their first year. At 6 months, the baby’s brain has most likely reached 60% of adult size. By the time they are 2 years old, it’s at 72%, then 80% by 3 years. 

Hence, it’s not surprising that first year brain development can determine your child’s IQ and even their future learning ability and success. For this reason, brain-boosting nutrition should start as early as possible – with breastfeeding or formula milk then with solids. 

Filipino foods that boost IQ

Nutrients That Support Optimal Brain Development

In the first-year of your baby’s life, it’s important for them to have docosahexaenoic acid or DHA, Lutein, Natural Vitamin E and Gangliosides. 

DHA, a type of omega-3 fatty acid, is essential for the growth and functional development of the brain. Lutein and natural vitamin E help protect DHA, so that more can be absorbed by the brain. Gangliosides are clinically proven to help strengthen connections between brain cells and support an 8-point higher IQ score .

All these nutrients are in breast milk, but if your baby’s main nutrition comes from formula milk, it’s important to choose one that has high levels of these nutrients. 

As your baby grows, these nutrients can come from their food. However, as milk is still an important part of their nutrition, finding a formula with high amounts of DHA, Lutein, Natural Vitamin E, and Gangliosides is crucial.

Looking for milk formula with high levels of nutrients essential for brain development? You can check this list. As for foods, experts have identified those that can help children stay sharp and smart, and improve their brain function. Some Filipino foods that boost brain power include the following.

Best Brain Food for Kids: Filipino Foods that Boost IQ

1. Eggs

Scrambled, sunny-side up, boiled, or cooked into an omelet, eggs are a staple in Filipino households. Children can enjoy eggs with rice for breakfast or any other meal, or as part of an egg spread sandwich as a snack for school. 

The protein-carbohydrate combination is sure to provide energy and plenty of nourishment for brain function and activity. Protein-rich eggs are good examples of Filipino foods that boost IQ that can also help children concentrate. 

2. Greens

Vitamins and nutrients found in greens are linked to lower chances of dementia later in life. Leafy vegetables are packed with antioxidants and other healthy elements to spur the growth of new brain cells. 

A popular super green food is malunggay, one of many Filipino foods that boost brainpower. Native to Northern India, Moringa oleifera, or malunggay, is widely grown in the Philippines. Aside from being a popular ingredient in common Filipino dishes, various parts of the plant, including the leaves, flowers, seeds, and roots, have been used for centuries in folk medicine.

Rich in vitamins and minerals, the leaves of the malunggay have seven times more vitamin C than oranges and 15 times more potassium than bananas. Malunggay also has calcium, protein, iron, and amino acids to help the body heal and build muscle. 

Malunggay is also full of antioxidants to help protect cells from damage, as well as boost one’s immune system. Antioxidants also contributes in lowering blood pressure. Interestingly, antioxidants may also heal inflammation in the brain, thus aiding memory and boosting brain function.

3. Fish

Next, a popular protein source and a great alternative to pork or chicken, fish is a good source of vitamin D and omega-3. These protect the brain and prevent the deterioration of mental skills and memory loss. Some fish that are rich in omega-3s are salmon, tuna, and sardines. These and other varieties of fish are widely available in the Philippines. Grilled, fried, or cooked with a savory sauce, fish dishes are great Filipino foods that boost brainpower. Fried fish fillets are also popular among Filipino children.

Filipino foods that boost IQ

4. Nuts and Seeds

Nuts and seeds contain protein, essential fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals that moderate mood and strengthen the nervous system. Peanuts, cashew nuts, and watermelon, sunflower, and pumpkin seeds are popular snacks for children and adults alike in the Philippines. 

Whether included in traditional Filipino dishes like kare-kare, or eaten as a snack, the healthy properties of nuts and seeds make them a worthy inclusion into this list of Filipino foods that boost brainpower.    

5. Citrus Fruit

Citrus fruit boosts brain power and enhances mental agility. Calamansi, pomelo, and local oranges are among a number of popular fruits that can enhance brain cell development. Not to mention, citrus contains high amounts of vitamin C which helps strengthen immunity.

6. Berries

Filipino foods that boost IQ

Strawberries are widely available from the northern part of the country. Load up on strawberries, and even local blueberries, to protect the brain and enhance mental capacity. Usually, children enjoy strawberry and blueberry jam on sandwiches, biscuits, and crackers.  

Various studies have shown a positive link between good nutrition and a healthy IQ in children. A good nutrient-rich diet supplies the requirements that are essential to the development of brain tissues in the first two years of life. 

Such studies should encourage families to think about how nutrition can impact children’s development. Additionally, they reinforce the importance of providing children with the right kinds of food in these formative years of their lives. This should make it easier for households to choose Filipino foods that boost brain power and protect the brain, over junk food and empty calories.

It’s easy to get off to the right start! Following research on the link between healthy early nutrition and physical and mental development, the WHO and UNICEF both recommend that nutritionally-adequate and safe complementary solid foods be introduced at six months old. 

Key Takeaways

In summary, it’s not always easy to deny children French fries or ice cream. However, parents don’t always have to say “No.” They should, instead, focus on providing fresh fruit, and vegetables, and other Filipino foods that boost brainpower. When children get used to more healthy and nutritious food, then it is easier to say “Yes” to some treats every now and then.

Learn more about Parenting here.


Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Medically reviewed by

Jezreel Esguerra, MD

General Practitioner

Written by Sahlee Barrer · Updated Apr 25, 2023

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