Written By: Nelson Narciso DNM® www.keepwell.ca
Today's children are facing unprecedented challenges . A growing number of junk foods to choose from and their subsequent overconsumption; environmental pollutants; exposure to an ever growing invisible grid of electromagnetic fields (EMF's) from cell phones, Wi-Fi devices, and thousands of other electronic devices; children becoming increasingly more sedentary; a food supply overrun with genetically modified foods (GMO's); foods that are lower in nutrients due to over processing techniques like microwaving, food irradiation, canning, pasteurisation and soil nutrient depletion that's resulted in fruits, vegetables, grains and meats being often significantly lower in nutrients than those same foods 70 years ago.
What are some of the effects we're observing in children around the world as a result of these challenges? In short, alarming increases in disease that in many instances were not seen in children just a few decades ago. Diseases like type II diabetes, obesity, ADHD, childhood cancers especially of the blood and brain, asthma and severe food allergies . Children need our help and need it now! What can we do when faced with what seems like such a monumental undertaking? The answer is surprisingly simple, go back to the basic foundations of health, eat well, exercise and avoid those things that you know will negatively impact your health. Hippocrates over 2000 years ago said ''let food be your medicine and medicine your food''. This statement is as true today as it was 2000 years ago. Food is the ultimate medicine! In spite of this knowledge of food we often allow children (and ourselves) to eat foods that are more poison than medicine.
EAT WELL: Eat more vegetables and whole fruits, not fruit juices, unless you juice your own and even then do so in moderation. Have high fibre whole grains, avoiding or limiting those that may often be allergenic like wheat and corn. Use some alternative grains, kamut, spelt, barley, millet, and a personal favourite quinoa (technically not a grain but looks and cooks like one). Make healthy fats like fish oil, flax, hemp, chia, etc. a daily staple. Choose healthy proteins that are lean and clean. If you're a meat eater this would include non-farmed small fish, organic eggs and meat. Farmed and larger sized fish (like some tuna and swordfish) are higher in mercury, PCB's and dioxins whereas sardines, anchovies, mackerel, herring are lower in these contaminants . Avoid inferior additive rich proteins like cold cuts that far too many parents send their kids off to school with in their sandwiches.
EXERCISE: Less TV, video gaming, and web surfing and more physical activity. If you look at human activity throughout the ages we were creatures frequently in motion. Most of our ancestors didn't sit for hours; they often had physically demanding work to do. If I go back just one generation and look at my parents who were farmers they were perfect examples of this. They laboured from sun up to sun down. The sedentary lifestyle that so many kids have today, although not the only cause for weight problems, most certainly plays a role. Active kids not only excel physically but studies show mentally as well.
AVOID TOXINS: Drink purified water. Reverse osmosis (RO) with carbon filtration or distilled are my top two choices. Don't be concerned by the belief that you're losing out on minerals that would otherwise be in the water before filtration. These minerals are in the PPM's (parts per million) and contribute a very small supply of your minerals. Your mineral needs come from your food. Still not convinced squeeze some lime juice into the RO water and you've just re-mineralized it. Play your part and don't add to the already overburdened planet by using toxic household chemicals and instead buy natural alternatives.
SUPPLEMENT: In the day and age we live in I firmly believe supplementation can play an important role in disease prevention and health maintenance. Give your kids a high quality multivitamin mineral formula. ''Progressive's Multivitamins for Kids'' provides the essential vitamins and minerals needed for optimal health. Studies show that kids that use a multi have higher IQ's, better academic performance, better behaviour . Kids can benefit from a chewable calcium supplement as well. A Canadian survey showed that 70% of boys and 90% of girls aren't getting enough calcium and their risk for osteoporosis later in life is increased dramatically as a result. Eat more calcium rich foods like arugula, almonds, dandelion greens, french beans and whey protein and don't fall for the marketing hype that milk is the ultimate source of calcium; it's not! In fact studies both by Harvard University and Australian researchers showed that long term milk drinkers have higher bone fracture rates than those that don't drink milk or drink little. ' When calcium needs are falling short use a quality chewable calcium supplement like ''Progressive's Complete Calcium for Kids''. Kids not eating enough fruits and veggies? If so be creative and do what you can to increase their intake of these. It makes sense to use freeze dried/powdered fruit and vegetable blends that provide children with a quick and tasty source of phytonutrients, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants; ''Progressive's PhytoBerry for Kids'' is a great choice. Children also need to consume healthy fats especially the one's most lacking from their diet, Omega-3. Fish oil capsules are one of the best sources of these EFA's and especially the all important DHA and EPA fats. There are numerous high quality flavoured liquid fish oils for children that are also available in chewable capsule form. Look for oils that are molecularly distilled and therefore free of contaminants like ''Progressive's Ultimate Fish Oil For Kids''.
We need to aggressively tackle the many challenges children face today if we are to save them from the ever growing number of afflictions that are impacting them. We don't have time to be patient and owe it to them to become better informed and then put what we learn into action!