Greater abilities for executive control in childhood have long-term benefits for academic and vocational success. Therefore, lifestyle approaches with the potential to support executive control in childhood stand to have long-term implications not only for physical but also for cognitive health. Nutrition plays a fundamental role in brain structure and function. While a considerable amount of literature demonstrates the detrimental effects of deficiencies in essential nutrients, comparatively little is known is about the role of overall diet quality in promoting executive control among children without diagnosed nutrient deficiencies. Emerging evidence provides preliminary support for the importance of key nutrients (e.g., water, dietary fiber, carotenoids, and choline) that contribute to diet quality. This article represents a brief narrative review that aims to highlight the importance of habitual diet quality for executive control in childhood. Additional research is needed to continue developing the evidence base for diet patterns and nutrients that preferentially support executive control during childhood. This is an important goal given that nutritional recommendations for children's cognitive function are absent from the US dietary guidelines, making the endeavor to develop the evidence base for diet patterns and nutrients that preferentially support executive control during childhood all the more important.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Food Science
- Nutrition and Dietetics