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SMART FOODS FOR TEEN BRAINS

Even though the brain has completed most of its growth by adolescence, it still continues to make vital connections. This is another window of opportunity for brain growth when a healthy diet is important. However, adolescence is generally a time when there is a lack of essential fatty acids in the diet. There are several reasons for this deficiency: adolescents tend to eat a lot of saturated fat foods and foods that contain hydrogenated fats. Also, due to pressure to please their peers and compete in athletics, teens often restrict their fat intake in order to keep fit and trim. When they cut out fat in general, they also cut out healthy fats. Teen brains need more fish and fewer fries.


Top views of the sequence of gray matter maturation over the surface of the brain

Researchers found that, overall, gray matter volume increased at earlier ages, followed by sustained loss and thinning starting around puberty, which correlates with advancing cognitive abilities. Scientists think this process reflects greater organization of the brain as it prunes redundant connections, and increases in myelin, which enhance transmission of brain messages.

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