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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Women who have never had diabetes but who have high blood glucose levels during pregnancy are diagnosed with gestational diabetes. Hormones from the placenta help the baby develop, but these hormones also block the action of the mother’s insulin. This is called insulin resistance. It makes it hard for the mother’s body to use insulin. She may need nearly three times as much insulin than before. Gestational diabetes starts when the body is not able to make and use all the insulin it needs for pregnancy. Without enough insulin, glucose cannot leave the blood and be changed into energy.


According to a 2014 analysis by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the prevalence of gestational diabetes is as high as 9.2 percent. Blood sugar usually returns to normal soon after delivery, but if you have had gestational diabetes, you’re at risk for developing Type 2 diabetes later.


Gestational diabetes may increase your chances of having high blood pressure and too much protein in the urine, a condition called preeclampsia. You may require a Caesarean (C-section) to deliver your baby because it may be large. Gestational diabetes usually develops during the last half of pregnancy, sometimes as early as the 20th week. It does not cause the kinds of birth defects sometimes seen in babies whose mothers had diabetes before pregnancy. However, untreated

WHAT IS GESTATIONAL DIABETES?

gestational diabetes can harm your baby. The baby may grow larger than usual, leading to difficulty during delivery, or there is the possibility of giving birth prematurely. You could have polyhydramnios or too much amniotic fluid (the fluid that surrounds the baby) in the womb, which can cause premature labor or problems at delivery.


Any woman can develop gestational diabetes, but you are at increased risk if you had gestational diabetes in a previous pregnancy, your body mass index (BMI) is about 30, you previously had a baby who weighed 9 pounds or more at birth and one of your parents or siblings has diabetes.


Pregnant women can help control gestational diabetes by eating a balanced, healthy diet based on whole grains, lean proteins, vegetables and other foods that release sugar slowly; exercising; and, if necessary, taking medication. About 15 percent of women with gestational diabetes need to take anti-hyperglycemic medication to balance their blood sugar. Controlling blood sugar can prevent a difficult birth and keep you and your baby healthy.

HARLEENA SINGH

Harleena Singh is a professional freelance writer with a background in teaching and education. She has a keen interest in food and health related issues and can be approached through her website freelancewriter.co. Checkout her blog and network with her on Google+, Twitter, and Facebook.

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