A healthy, nutritious diet helps children grow and learn. It also helps prevent weight-related diseases, such as diabetes and obesity. Children need different amounts of specific nutrients at different ages. They need to eat three meals daily and have healthy snacks in between. The more active your child is, the more calories he or she needs. Here are some ways to encourage your child to follow a nutritious diet:



Sodium is an essential mineral for life. It is regulated in the body by the kidneys. It helps control the body’s fluid balance, affects muscle function and helps send nerve impulses. An Australian study showed the brain responds to sodium in the same way it responds to substances such as cocaine and heroin, which may explain why we tend to overindulge in high-sodium foods.



A balanced healthy diet should contain a variety of nutritious foods and sufficient vitamins and minerals. Such a diet can help you maintain a healthy body weight and reduce your risk of many diet-related problems, such type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and some cancers. It’s recommended men have around 2,500 calories a day and women 2,000 calories a day. Studies indicate eating a typical Western diet filled with packaged meals, takeout foods, processed meats and sugary snacks may lead to stress, high rates of depression....


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high cholesterol and diabetes. The key to shedding belly fat is to perform a variety of workouts that build the fat- burning engine, rev up the metabolism and spur the production of fat- burning hormones. Biking is a great addition to your workout routine or even as a stand alone activity. Interval training with only a bike is possible. Interval training is mixing up hard and lighter periods of exercise. Studies show high-intensity exercise significantly reduces total abdominal fat, including dangerous visceral fat, more effectively than lower-intensity exercise. Go hard once or twice a week – one day if you’re doing races or – go hard on the weekends. Warm up for 10 to 15 minutes and then pick up the effort so you’re breathing hard but not gasping for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Go easy for another minute. Repeat this cycle of increased effort and easing up five times. End by cooling down for at least two to three minutes.

Daily exercise has been found to increase energy and reduce fatigue. Even just 30 minutes a day can improve reaction time, memory and creative thinking. Exercise boosts brainpower and helps stave off Alzheimer’s disease in the elderly, according to a 2007 study led by Charles Hillman. People between the ages of 60 to 79 have seen a 22-percent net growth in cycling. Their participation in cycling quadrupled between 1995 and 2009. Another 2007 study showed children were positively affected by bike riding, and exercise in general can help manage issues such as ADD and ADHD, according to Dr. Phil Tomporowski of the University of Georgia.

Are you looking for an easy form of exercise that gets you outside and moving? Biking is low impact and causes less strain and injuries than most other forms of exercise. It’s also gentle on the joints and is a good muscle workout because when you pedal, you use all the major muscle groups.

Unlike most sports or types of exercise, biking is easy and does not require high levels of physical skill, making it an ideal exercise for any type of body at any fitness level. Biking is great for strength and stamina and overall aerobic fitness. Just two to four hours a week of biking can improve your health. The beauty of biking is that you can go as relaxed or intense as you want, which makes it highly customizable and great for interval training. It’s a fun way to get fit – it gets you out in nature, it can clear your mind and you can even check things off your to-do list if you bike to do your errands instead of driving. And fun means consistency, since we’re more likely to engage in a physical activity we enjoy.

Biking is mainly an aerobic activity, which means the heart, blood vessels and lungs all get a workout. Biking will get you breathing deeper and perspiring and you’ll experience increased body temperature, all of which improve your overall fitness level. Other benefits of biking include increased cardiovascular fitness, muscle strength and flexibility; improved joint mobility; decreased stress levels; improved posture



Angela is a staff writer for Health & Wellness magazine.

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and coordination; stronger bones; decreased body fat levels; and reduced anxiety and depression. Biking also helps with knee pain, osteoarthritis and injury recovery.

Bike riding strengthens the heart muscles, lowers the resting pulse and reduces blood fat levels. Biking for five to 10 minutes on a regular basis can keep the heart healthy. A Danish study following 30,000 people ages 20 to 93 for 14 years found regular cycling protected people from heart disease.

A five-year study of 1,500 men and women ages 37 to 55 by Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise found those who were active on a daily basis were 31 percent less likely to develop high blood pressure. These riders averaged 28 minutes of short-bout activity. An additional 9-percent risk reduction was added for every 10-minute increase in the short-bout activity. Even bike trips of less than 10 minutes can prevent high blood pressure.

Research shows a waistline over 40 inches for men and 35 inches for women – even if the person is not technically overweight and is otherwise in good health – puts you at risk for heart disease. Belly fat is also linked to high blood pressure,