It would be rare to come across a parent who did not want the best for their child. Most people would go above and beyond to give their kids everything they need in order to enable them reach their full potential. However, doing so has become increasingly difficult in our modern society where junk food is abundant and a sedentary lifestyle has become the accepted way of life. Even what was once considered “nutritious” food has been depleted, sprayed with chemicals and contaminated with toxins.
Holistic nutritionist, Nelson Narcisco discusses in his article “Our Kids Need Our Help!” that due to these factors, we are now seeing an ever increasing amount of new diseases and conditions that were not apparent a few decades ago.
“Diseases like type II diabetes, obesity, ADD/ADHD, childhood cancers especially of the blood and brain, asthma and severe food allergies. The possibility that children won’t live as long as their parents is very real and very disconcerting.”
Nelson explains some of the precautions we can take to minimize our children’s chances of developing these types of diseases and prepare them for a bright future. His formula for success is as follows:
“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…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.”
In his article, Nelson explores each of these factors in detail. Firstly, he discusses the topic of adequate nutrition:
“Eat more vegetables and whole fruits, not fruit juices. Have high fibre whole grains, avoiding or limiting those that may often be allergenic like wheat and corn. 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.”
Recognizing the increasing difficulty parents are having, not only in acquiring nutritious food, but also in getting kids to consume them, he encourages basic supplementation as an insurance policy. He states:
“I firmly believe supplementation can play an important role in disease prevention and health maintenance. Give your kids a high quality multivitamin mineral formula. Studies show that kids that use a multi have higher IQ’s, better academic performance, better behaviour.”
Nelson also highly suggests giving your child a high quality fish oil to provide Omega-3 fatty acids, especially one that has a high DHA to EPA ratio. Human brain growth is usually complete by the age of 6, with 60% of its weight being made up of fat; 15% of this fat being in the form of DHA. These fats have been associated with improved focus, concentration, and sharper mental acuity. Nelson writes:
“One of the types of fat found in fish, called docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), has been linked to improved brain function and development. A low blood level of DHA was associated with poor reading abilities. Other studies have shown children with higher omega-3 levels have decreased levels of inattention, hyperactivity and emotional difficulties.”
Fish oils have also been shown to support a healthy immune system, cardiovascular function and have a positive impact on asthma, allergies and eczema.
While omega-3 fatty acids are of crucial importance to children, expecting mothers should also consider taking a fish oil supplement that has higher DHA content. Studies have shown that this may result in long-term improvement of offspring IQ, behavior, eye-hand coordination and psychomotor development.
Lastly, Nelson touches on the subject of exercise and its positive effects on physical and mental development in children. He encourages parents and families to make physical activity a more routine part of everyday life, as it was a few centuries ago.
Children have the potential to grow up to do amazing things. It is up to parents to be role models for the next generation by demonstrating a healthy lifestyle and giving them the resources they need to succeed!
This column is sponsored by Good 'n' Natural in Steinbach.