Importance Of Nutrition For Children & Parents
By Leah Salmon
They are beautiful, energetic, entertaining and they continually teach us as they grow and learn. Who are they? Your children, and second to the gift of life, the next greatest gift you can give them is good health through nutrition. As they grow you will realise that, try as you might, you won't be able to protect them from every bad influence in this world. You may have heard of first time parents who frantically sterilise everyone and everything that comes within a 10 mile radius of their baby, only to find their bundle of joy trying to eat dirt in the garden. What is within the parents control is the nutrition of their children at home and the education on food which they will take with them to the outside world.
A parent's role in their child's nutrition begins much earlier than most think. First and foremost know that we are what we eat, so be mindful of who you choose to have children with on all levels. Most of us understand the effects of hereditary illness, but foods and pollutants that a parent carry can cause damage to their children.
Three months of preconception care should be observed by both parents, it has been said that the soul of a child is here three months prior to conception. To help fertility and general well being, alcohol, tobacco, pollutants and stress should be avoided and vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids and exercise increased. If these practises, as well as prayer, mediation, reading or relaxation time (if you enjoy these things) can be established before the child is born, they will become a part of your life and something you can always do as a family. There are also herbs that can be taken by the mother before during and after pregnancy to help stabilise her hormones and therefore avoid pre natal depression or severe mood swings. For example, Raspberry leaf tea helps fertility in both parents and is helpful to the mother throughout the pregnancy from easing morning sickness to the waters breaking. (ALWAYS check that herbs and essential oils are safe for use during pregnancy.)
In the first 3 months of pregnancy, all of the Childs organs are formed, so the mother should very carefully modify their diet to help this crucial stage and continue thereafter. Remember, 9 months of poor eating could lead to years of suffering for your child. If you do decide to give up damaging foods, do so gradually to avoid illness or bad reactions. Meats are now packed with chemicals and steroids, cigarettes contain thousands of chemical, salt and sugar cause any health problems and the resulting self inflicted problems will reduce the nutrients passed to your child. These are definitely foods you should consider cutting out or reducing. Vegetarian or vegan diets are normally advisable, but as everyone is different, if this diet produces too many bad effects, change it accordingly.
Breastfeeding is recommended as it's linked to intelligence due to high levels of essential fatty acids in the milk, which also contains antibodies, vitamins, minerals and pure water. But it is effected by the mother's nutrition so feed both of you well. There is a strong link to childhood diabetes resulting from allergies to the protein in cow's milk and also beef, which affects the pancreas. Breastfeeding mothers are advised by paediatricians to avoid drink cow's milk and eating beef for this reason. Be cautious with soy milk also as it has been linked to cancer.
Don't think child minders, nursery and school teachers are qualified to make health decisions for your children. You are responsible for your child's health and never think you're being a difficult parent if you specify what you want your child to eat or more importantly not eat. Find out what school dinners consist of and if you don't agree with them, make packed lunches or request alternative meals be put on the menus (there's no harm in asking).
Our parents had the excuse of little knowledge of good health while we were younger, this information age should be seen as a legacy in this respect and a chance to link back to our ancestors ways of health and living, 12yr old in ancient Tamare learnt degree level information with ease, our food on it.
Is lack of time stopping you? By teaching your child good nutritional habits and the benefits of good food, they can be involved in their health and older or matured children can make their own pack lunches. If you can't deciding what to make them, teach them enough and they can tell you what they want. Let them make up weird and wonderful recipes (details aren't important) and help them make them. This will make their food interesting to them and your life easier. If you can initially feed them good foods that taste good, they will remember enjoying good foods and ask for them again. Most of our childhood memories of good foods were as punishments and bad foods were treats, children can be fluent in their own anatomy and the effects of reverse that mindset in our children, let them turn their noses up to fast foods and look forward to fresh fruit salad. Don't allow the media to tell your children what to like, make them be proud of the ways you teach them to eat and live. Four out of seven days healthy eating initially will give great results initially.
Financial constraints are there because cheap foods are normally bad foods and high prices are put on health. However, once your children know what they like, find health food wholesalers, bulk prices are surprisingly reasonable saving you weekly shopping time and money.
Become your child health care practitioner. Pay attention to their urine colour, dark strong odoured urine signals more water, to flush the system and improve concentration and may indicate other more serious problems. If skin rashes appear and you suspect a certain food, remove it from their diet and see if it goes. If you notice your children get clingy or sluggish after large meals, they may have an over worked bowel, struggling to digest a back log of food. Let them snack on fresh fruit and vegetables; this will give them fibre to help unblock their system, vitamins, minerals and fresh water (especially if it's organic). Sugar should always be avoided as it has no real use except to cause damage. Refined carbohydrates (white bread, flour, sugar, pasta etc) only give a quick burst of energy but aren't filling so our children are eating too much. They have hardly any nutritional value and no fibre which all lead to obesity. Whole foods (wholegrain rice, raw fruit and vegetable, lentils, beans, nuts, seeds, seaweeds etc) provide longer lasting energy, fibres, protein and essential oils which all build beautiful children with healthy organs and alert brains.
Consult nutrition consultants, homeopaths, herbalist and allergy testing centres before making and appointment with your GP, see the money as an investment for you to learn about your child's health, pay attention and get them to explain everything. The more you learn, the more you can teach your children. They will become your doctors, as every good student surpasses their teacher, and we can create a healthier generation, who will enjoy nutritional freedom from common industrialized illnesses and diseases
About The Author
Leah Salmon of Davidel has practiced and studied nutritional therapy and herbal medicines for over 8 years, she writes articles for magazines, ezines and also teaches on natural healthcare for the family.
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