Give Them The Best!

With the new school year beginning, it is possible to give our children an edge:

Paying attention to their nutrition can make a huge difference!  Sending them to school with a good, nutritious breakfast will enable them to concentrate.  When children consume large amounts of sugar, it simply shuts down the higher powers of the brain—the necessary nutrients just are not there to make it work right!  Teachers will tell you how much difference it makes when children come to school either hungry or ‘sugared up’ rather than well nourished, calm and ready to study.

A recent 9 year study conducted in Sweden with school children focused on just one nutrient, folic acid, a B vitamin.  School children who consumed the most folic acid scored an average of 10% higher. 

Folic acid is found in green vegetables, seeds and grains.  The problem is, it tends to evaporate quickly, and most of us don’t eat large amounts of raw food products.  In some countries supplementation of this essential nutrient has been started in various food items.  This is an inexpensive and easily available nutrient that can be easily added to the diet by supplementation, or a multi-vitamin can be utilized to help get important micro-nutrients into the diet on a regular basis.

Another important B vitamin is thiamine, or vitamin B1.  This is vital for good nervous system function, and when we are low we become irritable and our ability to concentrate decreases.  Ever notice how grumpy people can become when then need to eat?  This is a sure sign of needing more vitamin B1.  One large problem is eating refined sugar tends to quickly deplete our system of this essential nutrient, thus short-circuiting our ability to concentrate at our highest level.  its' kind of like listening to a radio station with static.  This important vitamin is found in whole grains, nuts and seeds, green vegetables and legumes.

Giving our children a good breakfast clearly gives them an edge in life.  Using whole meal products, fresh fruit and vegetables along with nuts and seeds not only gives their bodies the complex carbohydrates they need to have a constant supply of blood sugar to feed the brain, but will help keep the immune system strong and help prevent diseases like cancer, type 2 diabetes and heart disease.  When they eat foods with large amounts of sugar, along with refined grain products and fats, their blood sugar levels will fluctuate wildly, making it very difficult to concentrate or sit still, besides they will not have the vitamins and minerals their brain needs to do its work!  Caffeinated beverages will only hinder their ability to concentrate as well.  Remember, a soft drink will have between 12 and 15 teaspoons of sugar in it, as well as the caffeine.

Some other things that have proven to make a difference:  Getting enough sleep, drinking enough water and eating dinner together as a family.  Eating together all by itself proved to make a positive difference in children’s ability to excel at their studies.  There are some important things that make a difference, and emotional stability along with stable blood chemistry are two of those things.  

For more information:

http://www.emeraldhef-ie.org

See also:

 http://www.hse.ie/eng/services/healthpromotion/