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Transcript
How to Build a Healthy Brain?
FOR HAPPY AND HEALTHY KIDS FOLLOW THESE 5 GOLDEN RULES:
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
Balance Blood Sugar
Ensure Essential Fats
Provide a Vitamin and Mineral Supplement
Avoid anti-nutrients
Eliminate food allergies and manage food sensitivities
k,j
1 1. BALANCED BLOOD SUGAR: WHY IS BALANCE SO IMPORTANT?
Sugar is the brain's super fuel. But you have to make sure your child is getting the RIGHT TYPES
and RIGHT AMOUNT at the RIGHT TIME.
The rate, at which sugar from a particular food enters the brain and other cells of the body, is
called the “glycemic index” (GI). Foods with a high glycemic index stimulate the pancreas to
secrete high levels of insulin, which causes sugar to empty quickly from the blood into the cells.
Insulin regulates the ups and downs of blood sugar and the rollercoaster behavior that
sometimes goes with them.
Low-glycemic foods deliver a steady supply of sugar, helping to regulate moods and behaviours.
High glycemic foods cause a sudden increase in the level of blood sugar in your body, but this
doesn’t last long, and then there is a sudden drop.
A sudden rise and fall in blood sugar can make you feel like you are on an emotional roller
coaster and out of control. This yo-yo affect leaves the body stressed as you move from an over
active state to a more dull state in a very short period of time.
When there is a sudden drop of blood sugar in your body you find it hard to focus and
concentrate, you may get fidgety and hyper active as the body tries to balance the sudden dip
in blood sugar. Often when people are in this state of low blood sugar they may reach for
comfort foods to unknowingly try to bring up their blood sugar. Many people reach for foods
with a high glycemic index, carbohydrates such as potato chips, cookies, pastries or other food
with high sugar content such as cakes or desserts. All of these all contain many artificial
colours and preservatives! This will keep you on the ‘roller-coaster’ as your blood sugar rises
again and soon after dips even further down.
2 HOW CAN YOU BALANCE BLOOD SUGAR?
With this information in mind we can reframe the way we look at and think about food. Instead
of talking about “good foods verses bad foods” we can begin to think about slow foods and fast
foods that nourish body and mind.
Reach for foods with slow releasing sugars such as oats, brown rice, whole rye bread, whole
wheat bread or their pastas. Other whole grains and pastas include: buckwheat, quinoa and
kamut. Vegetables of all types are slow releasing carbohydrate sugars. Try them raw or gently
steamed with the exception of potatoes and parsnips as these two actually have higher
glycemic index. A small potato would be okay for a child or even sweet potato. When butter or
olive oil is added to the potato the fat content slows down the quick rise in blood sugar.
3 MEALS AND 2 SNACKS A DAY
This will help to maintain blood sugar levels, preventing extreme highs and lows.
Combine proteins with carbohydrates. Protein slows down the absorption of sugars found in
carbohydrates. Try these combinations:
•
•
•
•
Fresh fruit, like blueberries or blackberries mixed with yogurt
Yogurt with sunflower, pumpkin or chia sees seeds, eggs with toast or fish with rice.
Soft boiled or poached eggs with whole grain toast
Bake or grilled fish with brown rice. Add green beans with olive oil or coconut oil on top
of the vegetables for a complete brain nourishing dinner.
3 4 2. ENSURE ESSENTIAL FATS
Believe it or not 60% of a dried brain weight is fat. It is no wonder deficiencies in specific kinds
of fats can have huge repercussions on intelligence and behaviour. If a child is having 3 portions
of oily fish per week, such as wild salmon, mackerel or sardines plus a daily portion of seeds
such as sunflower, pumpkin or chia, that would provide an optimal level for brain
development.
How can I get my child to eat all the essential fats he/she needs?
Include into daily meals and snacks:
• Seeds and nuts by breaking them into small pieces or grinding them. Add to cereal,
salads, soups, sauces and smoothies.
• Fish, two or three times a week
• This great fish recipe from our partners at Real Kids Real Food:
http://www.rfrk.com/community/eat/recipes/tryme/?id=2
Great sources of essential fats include: anchovies, chia, sesame/pumpkin seeds, eggs, ground
flaxseeds, herring, wild salmon, sardines, albacore tuna steak and walnuts. It is important to
avoid deep fried, browned and processed foods.
5 3. VITAMINS AND MINERALS: WHY THEY ARE IMPORTANT
Vitamins and minerals are the smart nutrients that keep the brain in tune. They are key to
building and maintaining a healthy brain. They mainly come from vegetables, fruit and
wholefoods. But, children still need to be supplemented for optimum physical and mental
health.
How do I ensure my child is getting enough?
Try to ensure they eat a total of 5 portions of fruit and vegetables per day. A portion is
approximately a half-cup. More vegetables than fruit each day are generally recommended as
most fruits are higher in glycemic index than vegetables. Some fruits low on the glycemic index
include berries, cherries, apples and pears, grapefruit, apricots, peaches and figs. Other fruits
are healthy but are best provided in smaller amounts every other day.
•
•
•
Choose wholefoods, not refined or processed foods
Use a daily chewable multivitamin and mineral supplement. Click Here to find out why:
http://www.foodforthebrain.org/smart-kids/supplements-for-smart-kids.aspx
Click here to view The Vitamin Chart of Optimum Intake Recommendations for Adults,
Teens and Children: http://mindfulcharity.ca/pdf/VC_Childrens_Health_Table.pdf
4. AVOID ANTI-­‐NUTRIENTS What are Anti-nutrients? These are substances that displace our essential brain-friendly
nutrients. Avoid and minimize:
•
•
•
Refined Sugar: These are essentially carbohydrates robbed of essential nutrients that
can be found in items like candy, candy bars, baked goods and breakfast cereals.
Damaged fats: These come from fried foods and hydrogenated fats (read labels)
Chemical food additives: like artificial colours and preservatives
Food systems, production and preservation of foods have changed dramatically since we or
even our parents were children.
Does your child experience: Irritability, temper outbursts, oppositional defiance,
restlessness & difficulty falling asleep? These are the main behavioral effects of additives.
Food additives and preservatives can be associated with many other side-effects such as:
speech delay, anxiety, depression, difficulty concentrating, unexplained rashes, headaches,
bed wetting, stomach aches, constipation and/or asthma.
Understanding food additives and preservatives can feel like foreign terrain especially when
trying to read label ingredients that often defy pronunciation! Additives and preservatives
are hidden everywhere not just in junk foods. They are found in: breads, butter, yogurt,
juice, crackers and even granola bars. Everyone is trying to ensure children eat “healthy
food”. Unfortunately they, and you, may actually be consuming 20 additives or more per
day!
6 Take Action!
•
•
•
•
•
•
Become a label reader!
Print the below chart. Put it in your wallet. Take it with you grocery shopping
Chose colour-free yogurts, ice cream and popsicles.
Chose plain noodles, chips and crackers
Mix juices with regular or sparkling water
Add lemon to your water daily. It has antibacterial, antiviral and immune-boosting
properties; contains citric acid, calcium, magnesium, vitamin C and bioflavonoids.
Lemon and lime also both act as digestive aids and liver cleansers.
ADDITIVES TO LOOK OUT FOR
“If you can’t read it. Don’t eat it”
Artificial Colors
02 tartrazine,
104 quinoline yellow,
107 yellow 2G,
110 sunset yellow
122 azorubine
123 amaranth
124 ponceau red
127 erythrosine
128 red 2G
129 allura red
132 indigotine
133 brilliant blue
142 green S
151 brilliant black
155 chocolate brown Natural
colour
 160b annatto (in yogurts, ice
creams, popcorn etc, 160a is a
safe alternative)















Preservatives
 Preservatives200-203 sorbates
(in margarine, dips, cakes, fruit
products)
 210-213 benzoates (in juices,
soft drinks, cordials, syrups,
medications)
 220-228 sulphites (in dried
fruit, fruit drinks, sausages,
and many others)
 280-283 propionates (in bread,
crumpets, bakery products)
 249-252 nitrates, nitrites (in
processed meats like ham)
 Synthetic antioxidants - in
margarines, vegetable oils,
fried foods, snacks, crackers,
cookies etc
 310-312 Gallates 319-320 TBHQ,
BHA, BHT (306-309 are safe
alternatives)
 Flavour enhancers - in
flavoured crackers, snacks,
takeaways, instant noodles,
soups 621 MSG 627, 631, 635
disodium inosinate, disodium
guanylate, ribonucleotides
By Sue Dengate, author: Fed Up: Understanding how food affects your child & what you can do about it.
'
7 IS IT A FOOD ALLERGY OR FOOD INTOLERANCE?
What is the difference between food allergy and food intolerance?
A food allergy is caused by the immune system attacking what it perceives as an invader, the
trigger food; food intolerance is caused by the digestive system reacting to a trigger food.
Food allergies can be detected by a blood test or scratch test such as IGA and IGG.
An IGA test is for foods that give immediate reactions and IGG tests determine whether your
child has delayed reactions to a particular food that may occur several hours or days after
ingesting that food. Speak to a GP, naturopathic doctor and/or a registered dietician or
registered holistic nutritionist that you trust for advice on testing and how to use this
information.
If you think your child is showing physical or behavioural symptoms you can also try eliminating
a food group such as dairy or wheat, for a minimum of three weeks, It is important to track this
change by keeping a weekly food diary. This way you can objectively assess your child’s
physical and behavioural reactions to the elimination of individual foods.
8 “THE JOURNEY OF A THOUSAND MILES BEGINS WITH A SINGLE STEP”
Lao Tzu
The process of change is never linear. Loved ones are always ready for change before the
person struggling with the issues. It is also completely normal to have one foot in the “thinking
about it” phase and another foot in “taking action. Keep this in mind as you begin to make
changes.
9 References:
1. Food for the Brain - Championing optimum nutrition for the mind.
http://www.foodforthebrain.org/smart-kids.aspx.
2. ADDitude Online Magazine- Living Well with Attention Deficit.
http://www.additudemag.com/adhd/article/8174-2.html.
3. Real Food for Real Kids, http://www.rfrk.com/.
4. Healthy in Harmony, Rosalie Moscoe, RHN, RNCP - Stress Speaker, Nutrition
Speaker/Consultant. http://www.healthinharmony.com/.
5. Fed Up: Understanding How Food Affects Your Child and What You Can Do About It, by
Sue Dengate.
6. The Gluten Allergy Site, http://glutenallergysite.com/.
7. Social Work Podcast, http://socialworkpodcast.blogspot.ca/2009/10/prochaska-anddiclementes-stages-of.html.
8. Healing the New Childhood Epidemics – Autism, ADHD, Asthma and Allergies. Dr. Kenneth
Bock and Cameron Stauth.
9. Healing Children’s Attention & Behaviour Disorders. Dr. Abram Hoffer, MD, FRCP(C).
10. The Impossible Child. Doris J. Rapp, MD., FAAA, FAAP with Dorothy Bamber, R.N., Ed.D.
10