Healthy Ideas to Promote Children’s Health #WellbeingWednesday
In one week’s time on May 26th from 4-9pm I will be co-hosting “The Bump to Baby Show”, at the Wychwood Barns, Community Gallery. Our hope with this free show is to inspire families to go natural. We will be introducing growing urban families, pregnant or with young children to an array of local and community based businesses that promote natural products or services. So, I thought it would be quite fitting today to discuss healthy ideas to promote children’s health.
Healthy Diet: For me looking at the basics, is starting with the diet. Make sure your child is consuming several servings of fruits and vegetables per day. I would aim for 4-5; half cup servings per day. Think of eating the “rainbow” daily. This group of coloured foods are loaded with immune boosting phytonutrients, such as vitamin C and beta carotene. They can be eaten raw, steamed, baked, pureed or put into soup, any way is fine, as long as your little one eats them!
Another tip is to limit the sugar content in foods. Sugar is found in obvious places such as cookies and candies, but can also be hidden in cereals, granola bars, crackers and tomato sauce. Sugar will suppress the immune system, so a helpful tip is to read labels of packaged foods to be aware of the sugar content.
A good quality multi-vitamin, will make sure your child is getting all basic vitamins and minerals. This will contain a good dose of vitamin C and D as well as zinc, to help support a strong immune system. They also contain B vitamins that enhance energy levels, support healthy blood cell development and the nervous system. Minerals such as calcium, magnesium and phosphorus are also included for healthy bone and teeth development. A multi-vitamin is not a replacement for healthy dietary choices, it provides you with low doses of basic nutrients so if one day you are missing something from your diet, you are covered, but the key is to eat well everyday!
Maintain your child’s microflora. If you don’t already, think about supplementing your child with a good probiotic. These are the friendly bacteria that reside in our guts, support the microbiome, and are key players in keeping an immune system strong. You can add a small amount to your child’s food (usually ¼ tsp of powder) daily.
Vitamin D: People are becoming aware of the multiple benefits of vitamin D for mood, bone and immune health. By living in northern climates and having less exposure to direct sunlight we tend to be deficient in vitamin D. It is important to give our little ones (and big ones) a supplement. I recommend a liquid drop as it’s easy to digest and simple to administer.
Breast feed your baby: Breast milk contains immune enhancing antibodies and white blood cells, which are key players in supporting a healthy immune system. Our babies are born with sterile guts, and breastfeeding is a sure fire way to support a healthy digestive tract for many years to come. The benefits of breastfeeding will continue long after the child has been weaned.
I hope you find these tips helpful in supporting your healthy family choices. We hope to see you next Tuesday at the show, be sure to bring all your questions, we will be happy to answer them.
Rachel Schwartzman is a licensed Naturopathic Doctor, Doula and Acupuncturist. She practices in Toronto and can be reached at 416-371-3422. To learn more about Dr. Rachel take a peek at rachelschwartzman.com