As a child, Having a Maccas or takeaways was a special treat. In fact, the only place I could thoroughly enjoy at least 2 huge pieces of pizza without any worry in the world, was at my friend Janice’s house.
Janice’s mum also had a “solution” for every little ailment my friend suffered from. Syrup for this, a pill for that. Some of which, having grown up and got more informed, think was quite unnecessary. My mum on the other hand, was keen and quite uncompromising on what we ate. I hated it back then but looking back, I’m thankful that she stuck to her guns on this one.
Fast-forward to our adulthood, I have visited the GP once in the last two years, and that was for a sprained wrist. Janice, on the other hand, with whom I have maintained a close relationship, is quite the contrary. She has struggled with her weight for as long as I can remember, not to mention her ever-increasing food intolerance. I could be wrong but I am more than convinced that it all traces to those many years back and our diet when growing up.
According to a research by Dr. Raylene Reimer, a researcher at the University of Calgary, Faculty of Kinesiology, There is a substantial indication of a relationship between our adulthood health and that of our early diet. His research shows that our diet in early childhood may have a great impact on our health as adults.
This is to suggest that, for instance, a child brought up on a high fiber diet will pack much lesser body fat and weight, as opposed to one brought up on a high protein diet. It is therefore paramount for parents to establish healthy eating patterns in their children at an early age.
Here are a few pointers on some healthy dietary aspects, important to a child and well into their adulthood.
Foods that are in their rawest and purest form are arguably the healthiest. Owing to the endless studies that link saturated fats to cancer and cardiovascular disease, incorporating more raw foods at an early age could be a benefit in a child’s life. This could go on to reduce the risk of heart disease, type two diabetes and some types of cancer as adults.
According to a study by Nutrition Journal, fast foods, a growing problem in developed countries, are high in sugar, salt, and saturated fats. This is a major culprit in stimulating inflammation that in turn directly affects the immune system. On the other hand, a nutrient-packed, raw foods diet can set your immune system up for success in the future.
“Take your milk if you want to be as strong as Hercules” This was a common phrase in most households when we were growing up. Yes, a diet rich in calcium and vitamin D is known to support strong bones, especially so, for growing kids. In other words, Calcium is an element fundamental in bone mineralization, which plays a big part in the formation and maintenance of the skeleton.
Unfortunately, the amount of calcium-rich foods kids are getting these days leaves a lot to be desired. Lack of proper calcium-rich diets in kids may lead to rickets, which is the main cause of softened bones. Additionally, this may also affect the nerve fibers, leading to irritability and nervousness. Research has shown that kids who lack enough calcium in their childhood are more than likely to develop depression and moodiness in adulthood.
Foods such as milk, leafy greens, almonds, beans, oranges are among those rich in calcium, so be sure to incorporate them into your child’s diet. It should be noted, however, different stages in a child’s life require different amounts of calcium. Therefore, it is safer to enquire from a health expert or nutritionist on the amounts needed for your child.
Vitamins are important for a child’s healthy growth. It is, therefore, necessary for a child to get a healthy amount of vitamin K in their daily diet. Vitamin K, found in foods such as leafy vegetables, broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, cabbage, meat, fish, liver, and eggs, is important in promoting healthy clotting of the blood and preventing excessive bleeding. It also promotes healthy bones.
According to Susan B. Roberts, director of the energy metabolism laboratory at the Tufts University Friedman School of Nutrition, transient iron deficiency in a child’s early life could have a negative impact on cognition and brain health as an adult.
Children learn from imitating those around them and especially the adults. If parents model healthy eating habits, it is likely that the children will do the same. Therefore, encouraging good nutrition, for instance, healthy snacks, proper hydration and overall healthy foods at this stage is paramount as this is when lifelong habits are formed.
In the same breath, bad habits from childhood are more likely to be carried on into adulthood and of course, may lead to health problems.
Additionally, as several studies show, there is a correlation between the periods spent sitting in front of computers and TVs and being overweight. Encouraging your children to be active as part of their healthy lifestyle may help reduce the risk of being overweight, develop better social skills, boost confidence and improved emotional stability, which ultimately lead to a lifelong strong self-esteem and well-being.
Good nutrition and a healthful diet in the formative years are crucial in preventing some of the inadequate nutrition issues we face as adults. When we start our children with whole and healthy foods and teach them the importance of good nutrition, we lay the foundation for a more fulfilling and healthier life for both during childhood and into adulthood. If you struggle to get healthy balanced meals on the table for your family you can high a professional to do it for you. Having a healthy diet now could save you thousands of dollars in the future as well as helping your body fight off any bugs that are around at the moment.