Click below to watch Dr. Erin Winter make her simple, yet nourishing, soup.
Heart Health Begins in Childhood
More American adults than ever before are struggling with obesity and diabetes. If this is any indication of the future for our children, our nation is in real trouble. One in 5 youths have some form of high cholesterol, with a higher prevalence in girls than boys. While our children are still under our roofs we have the unique opportunity to teach them healthy eating habits in two ways: providing only healthy snacks at home and eating only healthy foods ourselves.
Skip the Sugar, altogether whenever possible:
Sugar and simple carbs (anything made from a ground grain, including corn) raise blood glucose levels. Our bodies, always in preparation for starvation, store excess glucose as fat (triglycerides). Over time, high triglyceride levels elevate other forms of cholesterol, thus creating the beginnings of deposition of fatty streaks in arteries and insulin resistance, the precursor to diabetes.
How much sugar is ok? Naturally occurring sugar in fruit is not free sugar and is ok to eat. Otherwise, follow the guidelines below:
- Adults max 30g of free sugar a day, (roughly equivalent to 7 sugar cubes).
- Children aged 7 to 10 no more than 24g of free sugars a day (6 sugar cubes).
- Children aged 4 to 6 have no more than 19g of free sugars a day (5 sugar cubes).
- Toddlers and young children do not need anything more than fruit or honey as a sweetener in daily life. REALLY avoid those sweetened drinks and sodas. You will find they are better behaved and happier generally because they don’t feel out of control from sugar highs.
What sugars are best? Honey & maple syrup have minerals and vitamins other things don’t.
Healthy Fats will NOT make you fat, sugar will:
Healthy fats protect the brain and nervous system. They are also the backbone of all our sterol hormones and the lining of every cell in our bodies. Children’s brains are growing exponentially faster than adults, so their need for healthy fats is higher. Including healthy fat in every meal and snack will ensure stabilization of blood sugar, leaving our kids feeling satisfied after eating with great energy to play and learn. Here is a simple healthy fat guide:
Oils to Eat Daily
- Avocado & avocado oil
- Coconut products (Not to be confused with palm)
- Fish (smaller fish accumulate less toxicity because their lifespan is shorter)
- Check out Seafood Watch online or app to learn more https://www.seafoodwatch.org/seafood-recommendations
- Dairy products from healthy animals; avoid low fat & fat-free products.
- Meats – healthy animals = healthy fat ratios = healthy hearts.
- Grass fed/grass finished beef
- Nuts & Seeds are full of healthy Omega’s
- Eggs from healthy chickens who ate bugs and worms, got sunshine daily and exercise as they would naturally in nature.
Oils to avoid:
- Trans-fats and hydrogenated oils,
- Foods that are fried, especially deep-fried
- Fats from diabetic or unhealthy animals that were likely corn fed to fatten them up at the end of life.
Avoiding unhealthy fats and an abundance of added sugars can save your children from a lifetime of health issues including diabetes, obesity, arterial plaque and inflammation. Children who eat healthy balanced diets have stronger immune systems, greater emotional stability, learn more effectively, behave better, and have more energy for healthy outlets.
Naturopathic Kids Corner
Immune Health through the Winter Months
It is normal for children to get sick 2-3x a year, which helps develop their immune competence. It is abnormal for children to get sick more often or for them to be chronically ill with colds, ear infections, strep throat, post nasal drip/runny noses etc.
When a child is consistently sick, we need to look deeper to discover the underlying obstacles that are draining the child’s ability to mount a sufficient immune response to overcome the infection fully.
Here are a few wonderful tools you can try to help strengthen your child’s immune function beyond the basics of washing hands & avoidance:
- Vitamin D3 – In a cold climate like Flagstaff, vitamin D absorption is at an all-time low for kids and adults alike. Consider adding this powerful vitamin to your child’s daily regime to improve immune function and prevent future illness. As with any vitamin or mineral, check weight ranges to find the right dose for your child.
- Elderberry syrup – Rich in antioxidants, anthocyanidins and vitamin C, this delicious syrup proves itself repeatedly in stimulating antiviral immunity and supporting a healthy immune response. Dosing for prevention is typically 1/2 tsp daily in children over 2 years old. In sickness, 1 tsp 3x daily to aid the immune fight.
- Probiotics – Invite in the healthy flora to keep the “bad bugs” from finding a foothold. Healthy flora should abundantly line the respiratory, GI and urinary tracts. In children who have had multiple antibiotic rounds or a high stress environment, it is difficult for their systems to reestablish normal flora levels. Probiotics are a simple & inexpensive way to rebalance the most profound areas of immune function.
- Make sure you get a product that contains bacteria in the billions and has two or more varieties of microbes. To test whether the microbes are alive, open a capsule in a small amount of milk overnight in a warm place. If it is not curdled in the morning, the microbes are dead. Take it back to the store.
- Sugar avoidance – Did you know that 1 serving of sugar inhibits immune function for up to 4-6 hours after ingestion? Imagine that happening at a birthday party, church function or at school during lunch when your child’s immunity is most at risk for exposure. Avoid sugar and corn syrup in favor of fruit and even dried fruits, which are just as sweet and lack the immune inhibition side effects.
We have many other tools and informative laboratory tests that can assist in digging deeper if your child is not responding to basic immune support. Contact a naturopathic doctor in your area to identify potential immune draining obstacles in your child’s life.
*As with any medication or vitamin supplement, check with your doctor to make sure this treatment is appropriate for your child’s specific condition.