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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reproductive problems, heart disease, diabetes and obesity. The highest risk, though, comes from tomatoes and tomato-based foods in BPA cans. The high acidity of tomatoes causes the BPA to leech into the food. Be sure to only consume tomatoes or tomato-based foods from jars or Tetra Paks if it’s not clear the can is BPA-free.


Brominated flour or potassium bromate is a key bulking ingredient often found in flatbreads and wraps. It speeds up the bread-making process and cuts costs for manufacturers. It may be linked to kidney and nervous system disorders and gastrointestinal discomfort.


Brominated vegetable oil (BVO) is an additive that acts as an emulsifier in beverages. It may cause a buildup in fatty tissues and create reproductive and behavioral problems.


Sodium aluminum sulphate and potassium aluminum sulphate are used in processed cheese products, baked goods, microwave popcorn and other processed foods. They are linked to adverse reproductive, neurological, behavioral and developmental effects.


Sodium benzoate and potassium benzoate are preservatives sometimes added to soda to prevent mold growth. Benzene is a known carcinogen that is also linked to serious thyroid damage. Dangerous levels of benzene can build up when plastic bottles of soda are exposed to heat or when the preservatives are combined with ascorbic acid (vitamin C).


Sodium nitrate and nitrate are used in deli foods such as processed meats, hot dogs and bacon. These preservatives are linked to many types of cancer and metabolic syndrome, which can lead to diabetes. Beware of “uncured” and “no added nitrites/nitrates” produces because they often use celery juice, which is high in nitrates.    

“Toxic” foods aren’t like instant poison; they have an accumulative affect with long-term consumption that can cause many health problems. Here are some guidelines to ensure you don’t consume too many toxic foods.


PRODUCE

Not all fresh produce react the same to pesticides. Certain ones “soak up” and store more pesticide. These include apples, blueberries, cherries, grapes, nectarines, peaches, strawberries, celery, collard greens, kale, lettuce, spinach and sweet bell peppers. You should go organic with these. Produce generally recognized to be safe include avocado, cantaloupe, grapefruit, kiwi, mango, pineapple, watermelon, asparagus, cabbage, eggplant, mushrooms, onions, sweet corn, sweat peas and sweet potatoes.


ON THE SHELVES

Artificial coloring agents have been linked to allergies, ADHD and cancer in animals, according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest. Yellow 5 and 6, often found in macaroni and cheese, is made from coal tar. Blue 1 and 2, frequently used in sports drinks, have been shown to affect cognitive function in hyperactive children. Green 2, Red 2, Yellow 6 and Blue 1 and 2 have been linked to thyroid, adrenal, bladder, kidney and brain cancers.  

“TOXIC” FOODS

ANGELA S. HOOVER

Angela is a staff writer for Health & Wellness magazine.

more articles by Angela s. hoover

Artificial sweeteners such as aspartame (NutraSweet, Equal), saccharin (Sweet ’N Low, SugarTwin) and sucralose (Splenda) may be even harder on our metabolic systems than white sugar. Studies suggest artificial sweeteners trick the brain into craving more and more sweetness.


Azodicarbonamide is used to whiten wheat one week quicker than it naturally does and is found in boxed pasta mixes. It has been linked to asthma and is banned in Singapore, Australia, the United Kingdom and most European countries.


BHA and BHT, preservatives in hundreds of packaged foods, have been found to increase the risk of cancer in animals. They also carry trans fats called monoglycerides and may also disrupt hormones and impact male fertility. Both have been declared carcinogens by the International Agency for Research on Cancer. Although the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services deems BHA as “reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen,” the FDA considers BHA safe.


Cans lined with bisphenol-A (BPA) resin have been well-doc- umented to be harmful to health. Acting as a synthetic estrogen, BPA has been linked to