Posted on by Paula Gallagher
Access to fast foods has never been easier and more convenient, especially with our on-the-go lives. Unfortunately, if not balanced with good nutrition and exercise, this can have detrimental effects on children. Here are some key ways you can help make your kids healthier.
Essential Fatty Acids
Did you know that 60% of the brain is made up of healthy fats? Two fats that are essential for optimal brain activity are the omega-3 fatty acids: eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Unfortunately, the majority of American kids are deficient in these healthy fats. Essential fatty acids must be ingested because the body cannot produce them. The standard American diet is low in these important fats, which are contained in foods such as walnuts, salmon, avocados and flaxseed. Supplementing with fish oil helps to promote healthy brain development and function (reading, spelling and behavior) and supports vision.
There are about 3 pounds of bacteria (both good and bad) in the human body. You need many species of good bacteria – called probiotics – to keep your immune system and digestive system strong. An easy source of probiotics is yogurt. Stick to varieties with low added sugar.
Beneficial bacteria can help your body by:
- Keeping bad bacteria in check (protects the body from infection)
- Boosting immune health (helps with allergy support)
Diet and Exercise
The rate of teen obesity has recently tripled. A study has found that a child who is obese between the ages of 10 and 13 has an 80% chance of becoming an obese adult.
Eating a healthy diet and exercising are extremely important to children's health. Benefits of exercise include:
- Promoting healthy muscles, bones, and overall body composition
- Reducing the risk of developing type II diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol
- Supporting mental health (enhancing concentration and memory, and elevating mood)
Four of the ten leading causes of death in the United States are related to diet (diabetes, heart disease, cancer and stroke). Five foods to limit or avoid:
- Soda – very high in sugar and caffeine
- Potato chips and French fries – contain unhealthy fats
- Doughnuts and other processed baked goods – contain refined sugar/flour
- Lunch meats and hot dogs – contain sodium nitrate (linked to cancer)
- Canned soup – high in sodium, MSG and unhealthy fats
As many as 37% of American kids routinely skip breakfast. Eating a healthy diet, which includes breakfast, supports brain function, memory, and enhances concentration.
Five brain-boosting foods:
- Nuts and seeds – great sources of healthy fats, minerals, vitamins
- Protein smoothie – provides protein boost for healthy growth
- Hard-boiled eggs – high in protein and choline to support brain health
- Colorful fruit – rich in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals
- Hummus and veggies – provide fiber, healthy fats and protein
Children require a comprehensive range of vitamins and minerals to help build strong, healthy bodies. Chewables, such as Kids' Chewable Multi, make taking a supplement a little easier and can give parents some peace of mind to watch their kids happily taking the nutrients their bodies need.
Essential fatty acids (EFAs)
EFAs are vital to proper growth and development. Studies show that taking EFAs, particularly docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), during the early developmental years, can significantly enhance learning capacity and academic performance.
Taking probiotics is very beneficial to your child's health. Friendly bacteria help to enhance immunity, reduce allergic reactions, and promote healthy digestion, regular bowel activity, as well as aid in the absorption of minerals and the manufacturing of important B vitamins. Anytime children take antibiotics, rebalancing with probiotics is necessary.
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