HELP YOUR CHILDREN GROW AND LEARN

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:

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SODIUM AND YOUR HEALTH

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.

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HEALTHY EATING TIPS

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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“SAD lights,” which help shine light on the retina and stimulate the brain and body. Moderate your food intake. Keep a set schedule for sleep and activity. Antidepressants can be of use to those who feel these other tactics aren’t fully doing the trick.


There is a difference SAD and vitamin D deficiency, which also occurs in winter months when there is less light. Many people think going to tanning salons is an effective method of replacing vitamin D, but according to Dr. Thomas Kuhn of Holland Hospital Behavioral Health Services, this is a fallacy because there are different types of ultraviolet light.


“The light that one experiences in tanning beds is UVA, which doesn’t penetrate the skin in the same way as UVB, which gives us vitamin D absorption from sunlight,” Kuhn said. “You may get a little in the tanning beds, but not as much as you may think or is claimed.”


In addition, keeping up with exercise, monitoring protein intake, drinking plenty of water and having quiet time for meditation and relaxation remains extremely important when battling moods swings in general, whatever the season.

The old Kentucky adage, “If you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes,” is as true today as ever. The weather changes constantly in this region, no matter the season. To say our bodies are affected by the weather is an understatement for some people. Many people are more prone than others to environmental shifts.


So many things affect moods, but one certain variable is the change of seasons. It is easier for most people to have “up” moods on days when there is more sunshine, no snow and a general feeling of warmth and coziness. When the temperature lowers to 40°F and below, snow falls, leaves change color and drop and there is less daylight, the body goes through some radical changes.


Most people are familiar with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a phrase that was first coined by Normal E. Rosenthal at the National Institute of Mental Health in 1984. Symptoms of SAD can include feelings of depression, low energy, problems sleeping, appetite shifts, problems concentrating, tiredness, irritability, weight gain, hypersensitivity to some issues and suicidal thoughts. These are different from the normal feelings most people have as the winter months approach. The body is preparing to hibernate, trying to pack on a few pounds as our ancestors did to survive the long, brutal winters without heat and indoor plumbing. SAD is a legitimate depression, and some people are more susceptible to it than

SEASONAL MOOD SWINGS

CHARLES SEBASTIAN

Charles Sebastian is a staff writer for Health & Wellness magazine.

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others.


Along with the shift in weather patterns come the holidays, which always seem to make people a bit more crazy. Happy jingle bells are everywhere; there is overindulgence in food and drink and increased traffic; every store wants you to buy more; and high expectations that you must play a part in all these rituals can be overwhelming. Add to this the feeling of another year closing and time passing. These abrupt seasonal changes tend to throw us off our game.


The further you live from the equator, the greater the likelihood of being affected adversely as the seasons change. Melatonin, the “sleep hormone,” tends to be released more when we are in the dark. When there is less light, more melatonin is secreted, which can increase drowsiness and create more feelings of listless depression.


Many things can help SAD and other similar conditions that occur as a result of seasonal changes. Spending more time outside in the fresh air and sunshine can go a long way. SAD can also be helped through artificial light therapy or