2010 Healthy Kids – Part 4

A good laugh and a long sleep are the best cures in the doctor”s book

The Health Benefits of Fruits in Children

“An apple…err…a fruit a day keeps the doctor away.” Wondering when this oft repeated saying got altered? Well, studies show that it’s not just apples, but almost all fruits are rich in natural vitamins, minerals, enzymes and phytochemicals that are essential for growth and development of our bodies. And that makes it essential for your children diet plans to compulsorily contain fruits. Fruits are easily digestible, are low in sodium content and have numerous fruit health benefits for the children.

Let’s discuss some of the common fruit health benefits for your children that will also provide you some ideas of healthy eating guidelines.

Apples: Apples are rich in flavonoids and polyphenols that are powerful antioxidants and have the abilities to fight several germs including growth of cancerous cells. Apples strengthen the blood cells in your children, prevent liver disturbances and indigestion due to its high content of malic and tartaric acids.

Pears: Pears are rich in Vitamin C and have high fiber contents in them that prevent constipation and also ensure regularity of bowel movements. If your children are having high fever or other inflammatory conditions, consumption of pears juice is believed to be highly effective.

Berries: Almost all forms of berries have certain fruit health benefits that are essential for your children. Raspberries and loganberries have high concentration of phytochemicals that help fighting growth of cancerous cells. Dark berries like blueberries, blackberries and raspberries contain powerful antioxidants. Cranberries help to fight urinary infections in your children. Strawberries are rich in Vitamin C and help fighting viruses that attack your children’s bodies, prevent gouts and rheumatism.

Peaches and Nectarines: Peaches and nectarines contain carotenes, potassium, flavonoids, and natural sugars. They are also rich in phytochemicals like lycopene and lutein that prevents heart diseases and fights growth of cancer in your children.

Cherries: Cherries are high in Vitamin A and have multiple fruit health benefits. Consumptions of cherries reduce pain and inflammation in your children, boost the heart system, help stimulate the secretion of digestive juices and act as cleansers for livers and kidneys. Cherries are also effective in common children health issues like colds, obesity, cramps, intestinal worms etc.

Grapes: Grapes are rich in flavonoids and are good source of instant energy for your children. Some fruit health benefits of grapes include prevention of constipation, gouts, skin and liver disorders, reduction of blood clots, fight against polio virus and herpes simplex virus etc.

Bananas: Bananas are rich source of Vitamin B6 and folic acids. They provide slow releasing energy and instant boosts to your children. High iron content in bananas help in hemoglobin function and prevent your children from getting anemic. Bananas are extremely high in potassium and have the abilities to reduce the risk of blood pressure and stroke. Some other fruit health benefits of bananas are development of healthy bones and protection of eyesight.

Pineapples: Pineapples are loaded with calcium, potassium; fiber and Vitamin C. Eating pineapples help in strengthening of bones, are good for coughs and colds and help in clotting of bloods for your children.

Mangoes: Mangoes contain phenols that are powerful antioxidants and fight against cancers. High iron content and Vitamin A in mangoes protect the children from heart diseases and are effective in indigestion or acidity.

Citrus Fruits: Citrus fruits like oranges and lemons are high in Vitamin C, acidic content, fibers and are very good in fighting off heart diseases and reducing risk of cancer in your children. They help in protecting the children from various common infections and diseases, are good for skins and gums as well.

Now you have a handful of information on some of the common fruit health benefits for your children. Armed with these you can now chalk out healthy diet plans for your children that will be rich in fruits content. So, go ahead and ensure that you derive the most of the fruit health benefits that will make your children healthy, happy and hearty.

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Last couple of decades has been a revelation to many of us in terms of health and fitness with so much focus by the media on this area. From your next door neighbor to your office colleague, everybody is thinking how to maintain healthy eating diets that will make them fighting fit. Also, by so much newsprint and web space being dedicated to the secrets of celebrities’ fitness, everyone wants to have a healthy and attractive body. And to have that, it is essential to maintain healthy eating diets. But most of us know what to eat to have a healthy body and mind. What we seldom come across is what should not be done to disturb your healthy eating diets.

Let’s see what are the things you should not eat in order to maintain healthy eating diets. And we will suggest some effective alternatives as well!

Stop Eating Fried Food: Frying of foods not only loses some of the vital nutrients, but you also consume a lot of oil that is harmful for your body. Try to eat boiled, baked or steamed food. These are healthy alternatives for fried foods. So get rid of the fried chicken legs, French fries, pizzas and potato chips. Instead snack on dry fruits, biscuits, corn flakes etc.

Minimize Eating Sugary Foods: Foods containing lots of sugar are high on calories. These foods contain very low quantity of vital nutrients that can be used by your body. Cakes, pastries, ice creams, chocolates, flavored drinks etc. are example of such sugary foods. Get rid of these and instead have natural fruit juices, sugar-free cakes, flavored yoghurts etc.

Eating Less Salty Foods: This should be a part of healthy eating diets. Salt contains sodium which is responsible for inducing blood pressure in your body. Also, almost all fast foods and ready-to-eat foods contain salt. So, if you want to consume less salt, you need to avoid these foods. Don’t assume that putting less salt in the food you prepare will solve your problems, unless you dump that fast food.

Try Avoiding Foods that are High in Fat: Primarily there are two types of fats – saturated and non-saturated. Consumption of saturated fat can create heart problems and also increase your blood pressure. Prefer eating chicken or fish than other types of meat. Fish, fish oil, almonds etc. that contain non-saturated fats can be a part of your healthy eating diets plan.

It is Better for your Health to have Local and Organic Foods: The closer the source of food is, the better it retains its vital nutrients, vitamins, minerals and freshness. So if possible you can buy food from the farmer’s markets that usually sells fresh fruits and vegetables. Also, try not to keep these refrigerated for long. If possible, it is always better to buy in lesser quantity and replenish, rather than buying in bulks and storing it. Similarly, the lesser you eat canned foods, the better it is for your health.

Try to reduce Consumption of Alcohol, Tea, Coffee etc.: High consumption of any of these, particularly alcohols, are not good for your health as it may induce heart and liver related diseases. Alternatively you can try green tea or herbal tea that are high in anti-oxidants and help in fighting growth of cancerous cells in human bodies.

So, now you have all the information on maintaining healthy eating diets at your finger tips. You just need to follow these. Couple these with proper exercises and getting that fabulous celebrity body won’t seem to be a distant dream anymore!

What to eat and when to eat? This is a question that baffles most of us. We have a natural desire to be healthy and look better. But for this we need to follow certain healthy eating guidelines. Most of the health experts are unanimous on one fact that our diet should be balanced consist of variety of nutrients and should be in moderation.

So, here are five healthy eating guidelines for you. Follow these while enjoying your foods and you will be pleased to see the difference in you.

Start the Day with a Healthy Breakfast: Starting the day with a healthy breakfast is absolutely essential. Often we skip breakfast because we need to rush to our work or school. And there are some people who think skipping a breakfast is a good measure to control weight. But on the contrary a good breakfast gives you the energy to start the day on a positive note. It also prevents you from starving till lunch. Most importantly, it keeps you away from snacking because the more you starve, the more you eat. And that ultimately leads to weight gain. Ideally your breakfast should contain at least three food groups. For instance, a bowl of whole grain cereal with milk and some blueberries or eggs can be eaten.

Spoil Yourself with Variety of Foods:You should focus on healthy eating diets that consist of all the five food groups in variation. Whole grain foods like bread and cereals are compulsory. Your diet should have a combination of fruits, vegetable and dairy products like milk, cheese, yogurt etc. If you are a non-vegetarian choose between meat, fish or poultry products for proteins. For vegetarians – soya beans, grams, nuts or seeds are good source of proteins.

Eating on Regular Intervals does Help: Gone are the days when eating three square meals was the norm. Most of the studies have proved that your healthy eating guidelines make it essential for you to have five to six meals per day. Each of these meals should be evenly spaced out throughout the day so that your body is not starved at any point of time. This regulates the metabolism in the body and also provides you with constant source of energy.

Snack it out in a Balanced Way: Some of us think that having snacks in between meals doesn’t fall under healthy eating guidelines. That is a wrong notion. You can always eat snacks, but in moderation. So one day if you eat snacks that are high in fat, salt or sugar, the next day try to eat foods that have less of these. Don’t feel guilty while eating pies, chocolates, chips or ice-creams. Eating these sometimes is not harmful, but over-indulgence is.

Constant Hydration is Necessary: Keep your body hydrated throughout the day by having plenty of water. Water flushes out the toxins from the body, is good for nutrition and skin. Water is a source of oxygen to the body and helps in burning out the fat to provide us with constant energy. Drinking at least eight glasses of water daily is recommended.

So, follow these five healthy eating guidelines and you are going to benefit a lot. But make sure that you enjoy eating your food. After all, you can reap the benefits of these healthy eating diets only if you have fun eating them.

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A great deal has been written about how to build a healthy kid by giving him the right kind of diet and supplements. However, there are other aspects to consider as well when talking about a kid’s health problem. And that starts with the basics of parenting and then goes forward. Let us see how.

Consumption of alcohol during pregnancy may cause the fetus to develop a syndrome called Fetus alcohol syndrome, in which there may be physical, mental and behavioral problems.

Always place the child on his back when sleeping. This is a precautionary step to avoid suffocation of the child.

Breast feeding a baby, if viable, ensures that it is receiving all the required nutrients. It protects the child from acquiring any form of bacterial infections.

Growing children need lots of encouragement from you. Give the kid compliments on doing an activity that is difficult for him/her. This will give him/her a moral boost and help to achieve new goals.

Physical exercise is a must for growing kids. Encourage them to play outside for sometime daily. Doing this will build character, and will not leave him an introvert. It also allows him to show off his skills as a sportsman.

To avoid concussion, or any such major damages, make sure that your child wears a helmet and his protection gear at all times while riding or skate boarding.

Impart the importance of brushing and maintaining healthy gums at all times. Bring him into a routine of brushing at least twice daily. A regular visit to a dentist is important, to ensure your child’s dental health.

Washing Hands Rises Cleanliness in Kids

Unclean hands often lead to illness. Therefore, make it a daily habit to check on the cleanliness of your child’s hands. Washing his hands after coming back from outside, or before and after food is important. Your child needs to be explained about its importance.

The next point is about food habits. It is important that you follow a healthy eating pattern at home. In doing so you train your child to eat healthy and stay fit. Help him choose the right kind of nutritious food and prepare a special meal for him few times a week. That way, your child will not be bored of eating the mundane food items daily.

Be aware of the allergies or illnesses that your child is prone to. Overlooking such matters may be hazardous. Discuss with your pediatrician for solutions to these problems.

Pets Can Make Kids More Responsible

And last but not the least, if your child is eager for a pet, and you have the convenience, then let him have one. A pet can not only be a companion for your child, but also teach him responsibilities. This is also an important part of character building.

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Are Vitamin Supplements for Kids Safe

A vitamin is a group of organic substances that should be taken in small quantity, and is essential for certain body functions.

In the modern world, it is common for any individual to suffer from vitamin deficiency. It is primarily due to the deteriorating condition of food quality available today. This type of deficiency is more common amongst kids, as they are very choosy about their food. It is impossible to feed a child with all types vitamin rich vegetables and fruits. To overcome this condition, many parents are giving vitamin supplements to their kids. However, it must be understood, that every child may have a different requirement in terms of vitamins. So, it is unwise to follow example of a friend or neighbor and start giving your kid a vitamin that he/she does not need.

Now are vitamin supplements for kids safe? This question arises in the minds of the parents. How to decide if a kid is deficient or not? What are the different vitamins available, and what purpose do they serve? All these questions are valid and need to be answered. So let’s have a look.

There are in total 6 basic categories in vitamin. All of them have different functions when taken individually or in combination, and available from different sources. The names, basic functions and source for each are:

Vitamin A: Improves eyesight and maintains healthy skin tone.

Source: Eggs, milk, fruits and vegetables

Vitamin B1, B2, B6, B12: Energy generation and assists in red blood cells formation.

Source: Whole grains, fish, leafy vegetables and dairy products

Vitamin C: Strengthens muscles and gums. Heals wounds, and also shields against infections

Source: Citrus fruits, tomatoes, broccoli cabbage etc.

Vitamin D: Helps in calcium absorption by the bones, strengthens teeth and bones

Source: Fish, egg yolk and dairy products

Vitamin E: Formation of red blood cells, and protection of the lungs

Source: Whole grains, leafy vegetables, egg yolk, nuts etc

Vitamin K: Helps in blood clotting in case of injuries

Source: Leafy vegetables and dairy product

Looking at the list makes one thing clear that, not all children are eager to drink their share of milk and eat their vegetables. That is where vitamin supplements help. They fill up the gap that is left in the daily vitamin need of the body, and are safe. However, excess intake of vitamins may cause vitamin toxicity, which is harmful for kids. Therefore, when giving your child any supplements, you should read the recommended dosage on the label of the pack. In case your kid is allergic to any form of supplements, then it becomes mandatory for you to consult your physician.

It is important to be aware of the quality of the supplements while buying them. Research a little into the types available in the market before purchasing. To make it fun for your children, you make choose to buy vitamins that are chewable, rather than buying capsules and liquid. Some are also available in the flavors of lollipops or gummy bears.

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