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The 20 Healthiest Fruits You Can Eat, According to a Nutritionist

Yet another reason to buy more watermelon.

Watermelon
Watermelon is 92% water, making it a great choice for hydration. Your food provides about 20% of your fluid intake, and eating water-packed snacks like watermelon can help you avoid subtle, headache-spurring dehydration. Because fruit is high in water, potassium, and magnesium, it helps to offset excess sodium in your diet, too.

Apples
An apple a day may in fact keep your cardiologist away. Evidence has shown that frequent apple consumption may reduce total cholesterol, which can help reduce your risk of heart disease. That’s thanks to the phenolic compounds — antioxidant compounds that help to promote healthy cellular function and proper blood flow — found in apple skins. The combo of vitamin C, fiber (about 5 grams per medium apple), and phytochemicals makes them a smart household staple for your whole family.

Mangos
Munch on mango for a summery, delicious tropical treat filled with vitamin C, potassium-, and beta-carotene. We love making a big batch of mango-filled skewers and loading up the fridge or freezer, so they’re always on hand when you need a nosh. Plus, the prep gets your little ones involved in the kitchen, and that kabob adds an extra layer of fun!

Kiwis
In addition to the vitamin C, potassium, and antioxidants you’ll get from kiwi, the combination of folate, magnesium and B-vitamins also found in this fruit can help you chill out. Some (early) research has linked eating kiwi as a pre-bedtime snack with an easier time falling asleep!

Cherries
Feeling stressed? Grab a handful of cherries. In addition to their multitude of antioxidant benefits, these little stone fruits contain quercetin, a type of antioxidant linked to promoting feelings of calmness.

Bananas
Rich in soluble fiber, bananas are an easy grab-and-go snack that can help lower cholesterol. For an extra heart-healthy boost, slice bananas on top of morning oats with a tablespoon of chia seeds and walnuts. It’s a heartier, energy-packed breakfast loaded with fiber, vitamin B6, potassium, magnesium, vitamin C, and manganese.

Oranges
You already knew that oranges came packed with vitamin C, but get this: Citrus fruits have been shown to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidative and anti-cancer properties, according to research published in Chemistry Central Journal.

Grapes
Grapes contain polyphenolic* compounds with antioxidant properties, which may help reduce cellular damage. Adding grapes (about 1–2 cups per day) to your diet can help to protect your body’s tissues and decrease markers of inflammation.

*polyphenol 
Any of a large group of colorful phytochemicals found in plants, many of which are antioxidants.
Polyphenols include several thousand flavonoids, including flavanones, anthocyanidins, isoflavonoids, and catechins.

 

fruit

Guava
Give your immune system a boost with guava. They’re rich in vitamin C, potassium, and fiber.

Cantaloupe
Cantaloupe is high in potassium, vitamin C, and folate. The flavonoids found in melon have anti-inflammatory, blood sugar-stabilizing, and immune-boosting properties. Plus, water-filled cantaloupe offers a hydration boost.

Strawberries
Strawberries are a great source of antioxidants — especially vitamin C. Just one cup of halved strawberries packs about 150% of your daily value. The same serving also contains about 80 calories and up to 9 grams of fiber, a combo that helps you enjoy maximum flavor and fullness for minimal calorie cost.

Grapefruit
Like other citrus, grapefruit packs tons of vitamin C. Research has shown that consuming grapefruit improves blood pressure and may help to lower cholesterol levels.

Blackberries
Berries provide nature’s perfect snack: They’re deliciously sweet, satisfying, and nutrient-packed. One cup of berries can provide about half of the vitamin C you need each day. Plus, the antioxidants found in berries have been linked to reducing your risk of a whole host of chronic diseases, thanks to their cell-protecting properties. Our favorite way to eat any type of berries? Swap them for jam in PB&J to add extra fiber, more antioxidants, and less sugar than concentrated, sugary jelly.

Avocados
Avocado is a unique fruit (yep, it’s a fruit!) because of its low sugar content. It also provides heart-healthy fatty acids and magnesium, a key mineral linked to neurological and muscular function.

Plums
Plums have been shown to have anti-inflammatory benefits that may help to boost cognition. Choose dried prunes for even more calcium and magnesium, which have been linked to decreasing your risk of osteoporosis.

Blueberries
Since they’re loaded with polyphenolic compounds, eating more blueberries can protect your heart by benefiting blood vessels and deterring harmful plaque or damage. The fiber in berries also slows down the rate of digestion in your GI tract, steadying the release of sugar into your bloodstream and offering a longer-lasting energy boost.

Lemons
Lemons are high in vitamin C, folate, potassium, and flavonoids. Flavonoids have been linked to reducing your risk of cognitive decline by enhancing circulation and helping to protect brain cells from damage.

Raspberries
Raspberries are one of the highest-fiber fruits, with one cup containing 8 grams. As a nutrient-packed choice, raspberries provide antioxidants and blood-sugar stabilizing benefits, especially when combined with a source of protein. Add ’em to your breakfast to boost energy levels and stay satisfied until lunchtime.

Pears
Besides vitamin C and fiber (25% of your daily value!), a single juicy pear will also help keep you hydrated.

Pomegranate
One cup of these petite treats packs up to 7 grams of filling fiber and 10% of the potassium you should get per day. Use them in savory entrées or sprinkle into salads for a hint of sweetness.

BY JACLYN LONDON, MS, RD, CDN, 
GOOD HOUSEKEEPING INSTITUTE      Jul 29, 2019
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15 Healthy Choices To Help You Be Your Best Self

How Many Of These Healthy Habits Have You Incorporated Into Your Lifestyle?

Take the Stairs
instead of the elevator
 
Find Something Active You Enjoy
and stay active
 
Read Labels
and be on guard for less than healthy ingredients
 
and add more fiber to your diet
 
Minimize Sugar
where possible
 
Minimize Salt
when you can
 
best
 
 
Minimize GMOS
as often as possible
 
Minimize Pesticides
that can be prevalant in many of our foods
 
that can cause problems in your body

Eat Mostly Plants & Fish
to maximize better health
 
Drink Plenty of Water
to stay hydrated

Spice Things Up
for greater health benefits

and not your own worst enemy
 

Get Enough Quality Sleep
for energy, clarity and to help your body heal
 
Cultivate Resiliency
and arm yourself for future challenges
     Pete Szekely


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The Everyday Foods Linked To Good Mental Health

The foods can offset the impact of major life events, like divorce and unemployment.

Eating more fruits and vegetables is linked to a lower risk of depression new research concludes.

An extra four portions of fruit and vegetables per day can offset the impact of major life events, like divorce and unemployment.

The boost from more fruit and vegetables could counteract half the pain of getting divorced or one-quarter that of being unemployed.

The effect on mental well-being of eating 8 portions per day compared with none is even more dramatic.

These benefits come on top of the well-known protective effect against cancer and heart disease.

The conclusions come from an Australian survey of 7,108 people carried out every year since 2001.

All were asked about their diet and lifestyle.

The results showed that the more fruit and vegetables people ate, the less likely they were to be diagnosed with mental health problems later on.

fruits-veggies

Dr Redzo Mujcic, the study’s first author, said:

“If people eat around seven or eight portions of fruit and vegetables a day the boost in mental well-being is as strong as divorce pushing people the other way, to a depressed state.
We found being made unemployed had a very bad and significant effect on people’s mental health, greatly increasing the risk of depression and anxiety.
But eating seven or eight portions of fruit and vegetables a day can reduce that by half.
And the effect is a lot quicker than the physical improvements you see from a healthy diet.
The mental gains occur within 24 months, whereas physical gains don’t occur until you are in your 60s.”

One possible mechanism by which fruit and vegetables affect happiness is through antioxidants.

There is a suggested connection between antioxidants and optimism.

Dr Mujcic said:

“If people increase their daily intake of fruit and vegetables from zero to eight they are 3.2 percentage points less likely to suffer depression or anxiety in the next two years.
That might not sound much in absolute terms, but the effect is comparable to parts of major life events, like being made unemployed or divorced.
We tested for reverse-causality—ie whether it might be that depression or anxiety leads to people eating less fruit and vegetables—but we found no strong statistical evidence of this.”

About the author
Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. 
He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology.
The study was published in the journal Social Science & Medicine (Mujcic & Oswald, 2019).

 


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Pretty Much Everything We Eat Is Full Of Sugar, And That’s A Major Problem

Additives sure aren’t adding to your health.

A frighteningly large portion of the calories and sugar North Americans eat comes from ultra-processed foods, which are tinkered with even more than regularly processed foods and may contribute to serious health issues like Type 2 diabetes, according to a new study.

Researchers from Tufts University and the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil found that ultra-processed foods are responsible for almost 60 percent of all the calories North Americans consume and about 90 percent of all added sugars they eat.

“The content of added sugars in ultra-processed foods was eightfold higher than in processed foods and fivefold higher than in unprocessed or minimally processed foods and processed culinary ingredients grouped together,” they write in the study published Wednesday in BMJ Open.

Added sugars should make up only about 10 percent of a person’s total caloric intake, the researchers note – however, they found that more than 80 percent of North Americans typically exceed this recommended limit.

Processed foods generally have added oils and salt. Ultra-processed foods are different because they’re enhanced with other additives, including colors, artificial flavoring and sweeteners, the study says.

Researchers say the top ultra-processed foods that North Americans consume are:

  • Breads
  • Cakes, cookies and pie
  • Salty snacks
  • Frozen meals
  • Soft drinks and fruit drinks
  • Pizza
  • Ice cream
  • French fries

For the study, researchers conducted at-home interviews and health examinations with 9,317 people of all ages, who also provided them with information about what they ate for a 24-hour period. The researchers say their study is the first to examine the relationship between ultra-processed foods and sugar intake in the U.S.

Eating excess amounts of added sugars is “most likely” contributing to health issues such as obesity, high blood pressure and coronary heart disease, the study warns.

The best thing to do is to entirely cut out these foods from your diet, the researchers say. That may sound easier said than done – and maybe even impossible, especially when life gets really busy. One way to do this is to avoid replacing water, pasteurized fresh milk and freshly squeezed fruit juices by soft drinks or flavored fruit drinks, said Professor Carlos A. Monteiro, one of the study’s authors.

Preparing at least some fresh foods at home rather than buying a lot of packaged meals will help decrease sugar intake, Monteiro added. And when you do buy packaged foods, be sure to look at the ingredient labels – even items like deli meats often contain sugar.

 
By Willa Frej         HuffPost US        03/10/2016
 

It’s Not Your Fault That You Eat So Much Sugar

Consumers don’t even want all this cloying sweetness. Manufacturers made the decision for them.

Consumers’ most common complaint about taste? “Too sweet.”

Americans tend to associate our health problems with sin. It’s hard to find a health story in the press that doesn’t blame greed and lack of willpower for our ongoing epidemics of obesity and diabetes as well as a recent upturn in the rate of heart disease. But the problems stem more from a greedy food industry than from any weakness in consumers. Our supermarket shelves are filled with items made with cheap ingredients, especially sugar and corn syrup, whether people want it or not.

A fascinating new study out of the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia showed that among 400,000 food reviews on Amazon.com, the primary complaint was that food was too sweet. People used terms like “syrupy, overwhelmingly or cloyingly sweet,” said behavioral geneticist Danielle Reed, who led the research. She and her colleagues used a machine- learning program to sort through the thousands of reviews covering 67,553 products.

The finding was a surprise; she had designed the study to add to her body of work on the way people vary in the perception of bitterness. Genetic differences make some people much more sensitive to bitter tastes than others, and this can affect whether we love or hate vegetables such as broccoli and kale. She was surprised, she said, that on Amazon reviews, consumers rarely complained about bitterness, or saltiness for that matter. They complained about sweetness. Manufacturers may think they are sweetening things to suit a common taste, in which case they are getting it wrong – but the market is full of oversweetened foods, so the manufacturers mostly don’t lose customers to better-tasting competitors.

Or the problem may be that manufacturers are trying to use the cheapest possible ingredients in a way that consumers will still tolerate. Sugar is cheap, and corn syrup even cheaper. In his book “The Omnivore’s Dilemma,” author Michael Pollan recounts the way the introduction of corn syrup in the late 20th century tempted manufacturers add as much as possible to many processed foods and to lure consumers with giant sodas and other supersized products that felt like bargains but came with hidden costs. Later, the medical dogma that fat was deadly lead to an explosion of extremely sweet low-fat products as well.

However we got here, it’s clear that the empty calories are contributing to epidemics of obesity in the U.S. and elsewhere. The food police should rethink chastising consumers and turn their attention on the true culprits who are dishing it out.

By Faye Flam           July 10, 2019
 
   Faye Flam is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. 
She has written for the Economist, the New York Times, the Washington Post, 
Psychology Today, Science and other publications. 
She has a degree in geophysics from the California Institute of Technology.
 


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Weedkillers in Cereals: What to Know

In a new round of testing, the nonprofit watchdog Environmental Working Group found the weedkiller glyphosate in all 21 cereal and snack products it sampled.

“All but four contained levels higher than what EWG considers protective for children’s health,” says Alexis Temkin, PhD, an EWG toxicologist and co-author of the new report, issued Wednesday.

Glyphosate is the main ingredient in Bayer-Monsanto’s weedkiller Roundup.

Monsanto took exception to the report and said its products contain safe levels of chemicals, well below federal limits. The FDA says its standard safe level of glyphosate ranges from 0.1 parts per million to 310 ppm.

The products meet the regulatory standards set by the federal Environmental Protection Agency, Temkin says, but the EWG believes that the feds’ “tolerance limits are too high to adequately protect children’s health.”

The EWG first tested oat-based products in August 2018 and then again in October. It did the latest round to see if there has been any shift in the market or if oat-based foods still contain levels that were present before.

In general, the watchdog group found no differences.

In a statement, General Mills spokesperson Mike Siemienas says: “General Mills’ top priority is food safety and has been for over 150 years. Most crops grown in fields use some form of pesticides and trace amounts are found in the majority of food we all eat.”

baby_child_cheerios_cereal

 

What the New Tests Found

In the previous testing, including 94 samples of oat-based foods, glyphosate was detected in all but two samples, with 74 samples at levels above the EWG’s benchmark of 160 parts per billion (ppb). In the latest testing, ”we did 21 samples; four we had previously tested and 17 were new,” Temkin says.

Honey Nut Cheerios Medley Crunch, made by General Mills, had the highest levels, with 833 ppb, and regular Cheerios had 729 ppb.

Temkin says the EWG benchmark for children’s health of 160 ppb is calculated on how much of a substance would result in one additional case of cancer in every million people over a lifetime.

Nature Valley Fruit & Nut Chewy Trail Mix Granola Bar, Dark Chocolate & Nut, had the lowest results, with 76 ppb. Among other products sampled, Nature Valley Maple Brown Sugar granola bars had 566 ppb, Nature Valley Almond Butter Granola Cups had 529, and Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheerios had 400 ppb.

Complete results are here.

The EWG bought the products via online retail sites, shipping about 300 grams of each to an independent lab to analyze glyphosate levels.

Cancer-Causing or Not?

Are the levels worrisome or not? Experts disagree. The International Agency for Research on Cancer said in 2015 that glyphosate is ”probably carcinogenic to humans.”

The EPA says the chemical is not likely to cause cancer in people. In April, the EPA, while reviewing glyphosate, said it ”continues to find that there are no risks to public health when glyphosate is used in accordance with its current label and that glyphosate is not a carcinogen.”

Most crops grown in fields use some form of pesticides and trace amounts are found in the majority of food we all eat.
~ General Mills spokesperson Mike Siemienas

Glyphosate is a weedkiller and also helps ready crops for harvest. It promotes even drying so more of the crops can be harvested at the same time.

In recent years, some communities have banned the use of glyphosate. To date, three juries have awarded damages in cases involving the weedkiller and cancer. In May, a California jury ordered Monsanto to pay a couple more than $2 billion in damages.

Parents who are concerned can turn to organic products, Temkin says. “We do know that organic oats are going to have much lower levels, because the use of glyphosate is prohibited,” she says. Still, it’s no guarantee, since organic oats might be grown near fields where the weedkiller is used.

Monsanto Replies

In a statement, Monsanto says: “The glyphosate levels in this report are far below the strict limits established by the Environmental Protection Agency to protect human health. Even at the highest level reported by the EWG (833 ppb), an adult would have to eat 158 pounds of the oat-based food every day for the rest of their life to reach the strict limits set by the EPA.”

General Mills’ Siemienas agrees.

“Experts at the FDA and EPA determine the safe levels for food products,” he says. “These are very strict rules that we follow as do farmers who grow crops. We continue to work closely with farmers, our suppliers and conservation organizations to minimize the use of pesticides on the ingredients we use in our foods.”

The allegations, he says, are the same as those made in previous EWG reports.

Sources
Article: Weedkillers in Cereals: What to Know
Environmental Working Group: “In New Round of Tests, Monsanto’s Weedkiller Still Contaminates Foods Marketed to Children,” June 12, 2019.
News release, EPA: “EPA Takes Next Step in Review Process for Herbicide Glyphosate, Reaffirms No Risk to Public Health,” April 30, 2019.
Alexis Temkin, PhD, toxicologist, Environmental Working Group.
The New York Times: “$2 Billion Verdict Against Monsanto Is Third to Find Roundup Caused Cancer.”
Statement, Monsanto, June 13, 2019.
Mike Siemienas, spokesperson, General Mills. 
FDA.gov: “Questions and Answers on Glyphosate.”
Libby Mills, RDN, spokesperson, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
Carl Winter, PhD, extension food toxicologist; vice chair, food science and technology, University of California, Davis.
United States Department of Agriculture: “Changes in Retail Organic Price Premiums from 2004 to 2010.”
United States Department of Agriculture: “Organic Production and Handling Standards.”
Trewavas, A. Crop Protection, September 2004.
Environmental Protection Agency: “Pesticides and Food.”
United States Department of Agriculture: “Organic Labeling Standards,” “Organic Agriculture,” “Organic Market Overview,” “Labeling Organic Product.”
Environmental Working Group: “EWG’s Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce,” “FDA Bans Three Toxic Chemicals.”
Winter, C. Journal of Toxicology, May 2011.
North Carolina State University: “Strawberry Disease and Their Control.”
The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station: “Removal of Trace Residues from Produce.”
Krol, W. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, October 2000.
National Potato Commission: “US Per Capita Utilization of Potatoes.”
Srednicka-Tober, D. British Journal of Nutrition, March 2016.
American Cancer Society: “Teflon and PFOA.”
Crop Protection: “A critical assessment of organic farming-and-food assertions with particular respect to the UK and the potential benefits of no-till agriculture.”
Journal of Agromedicine: “Pesticide/Environmental Exposures and Parkinson’s Disease in East Texas.”
PLOS: “Choosing Organic Pesticides over Synthetic Pesticides May Not Effectively Mitigate Environmental Risk in Soybeans”
Colorado State University: “Pesticides: Natural Isn’t Always Best.”
British Journal of Nutrition: “Composition differences between organic and conventional meet; A systematic literature review and meta-analysis.”
PBS: “USA to propose standard for organic seafood raised in U.S.”
Food Standards Agency: “Pesticides.”

By Kathleen Doheny        June 14, 2019 
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Neha Pathak, MD on June 14, 2019


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What Is Folic Acid, Why Do You Need It And What Foods Have It?

What Is Folic Acid?

Folic acid is the synthetic version of the folate, a B vitamin that’s vital for the formation of red blood cells. It also plays a part in helping the body’s nerves function properly. The vitamin is essential in helping DNA form within cells, “allowing each cell to replicate perfectly”, according to the BDA, the association of British dieticians.

If you don’t have enough folic acid in your body, it can cause a form of anaemia – where blood cells have reduced ability to carry oxygen around the body – which causes tiredness, weakness and fatigue. People with a deficiency might also suffer from diarrhoea, loss of appetite, weight loss, headaches, heart palpitations, a sore tongue and behavioural disorders.

Why Is It Important For Pregnant Women?

Folic acid fortification – the process of folic acid being added to grain products – has already been adopted in more than 60 countries worldwide, including Australia, Canada and the US.

The government’s 12-week consultation on whether folic acid should be added to flour follows years of campaigning by charities including Shine, which represents people with the birth defect spina bifida.

Pregnant women are advised to take a folic acid supplement before conceiving and for the first 12 weeks of pregnancy to cut the risk of birth defects. But some women forget to take the supplement, do not follow advice or do not discover they are pregnant until it is too late.

Neural tube defects (NTDs) – birth defects of the brain, spine or spinal cord – occur when an opening in the spinal cord or brain remains from early on in human development. “Folic acid can prevent NTDs, but only if taken very early in the pregnancy, and really before conception,” says Clare Murphy, director of external affairs at Bpas.

“Currently, women are advised to take folic acid supplements during the early stages of pregnancy, but around half of UK pregnancies are unplanned, which means that many women have already missed the window to take folic acid by the time they realise they are pregnant.”

Around 1,000 pregnancies are affected by NTDs each year in the UK and more than 40% of cases are fatal. Under plans to fortify flour, experts predict that around 200 birth defects a year could be prevented.

Public health minister Seema Kennedy said the move would also help women from the poorest areas who are less likely to take folic acid supplements. “It is right that we do all we can to protect the most vulnerable in society,” she added.

 

Do Men Need It Too?

Folic acid is important for everyone, regardless of their sex. According to the BDA, men, children and women who are not likely to become pregnant should be able get sufficient amounts of folate (the form of folic acid occurring naturally in food) by eating a healthy diet.

It’s been reported that folic acid can help protect the heart and cardiovascular system, boost sperm count, and decrease the risk for certain cancers. Some evidence suggests it might even reduce the risk of mood disorders.

What Foods Contain Folate (Folic Acid)?

  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Broccoli
  • Beans and legumes (ie. peas, blackeye beans)
  • Yeast and beef extracts
  • Oranges and orange juice
  • Wheat bran and other whole grain foods
  • Poultry
  • Pork
  • Shellfish
  • Liver
  • Fortified foods (ie. some brands of breakfast cereals – check the label).

How Much Should You Have?

Adults and children over 11 years old are recommended to have 200μg (micrograms) of folate daily, according to the BDA. You can get enough folic acid from food alone – many cereals have 100% of your recommended daily value of folic acid. Look on the outside of packets for the nutritional chart or the ‘contains folic acid’ symbol.

Women trying for a baby are advised to have 200μg plus a supplement. For pregnant women, the advice is to take 300μg plus a 400μg supplement during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy – but consult your doctor first, especially if you’ve had a pregnancy previously affected by neural tube defects or if you have diabetes.

Breastfeeding mothers are advised to make sure they’re having 260μg a day, to help their child’s development.

Should You Take Folic Acid Supplements?

While pregnant women are strongly advised to take folic acid supplements, the rest of the population should be able to get enough providing they eat a balanced, nutritious diet. BDA suggests those aged over 50, or those with a history of bowel cancer, should take no more than 200μg/day per day.

Potential side effects of taking additional supplements daily include nausea, loss of appetite, trapped wind or bloating – although the NHS notes these symptoms are usually mild and don’t last long.

If you have any of the following, you should speak to your doctor before having folic acid supplements:

  • An allergic reaction to folic acid or any other medicine
  • Low vitamin B12 levels or pernicious anaemia
  • Cancer
  • Kidney dialysis
  • A heart stent

 

By Natasha Hinde        13/06/2019


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Time out for time outs: Why pediatricians now promote ‘positive parenting’

Canadian Paediatric Society calls for shift away from shaming, blaming and other types of negative discipline

The latest parenting advice from Canada’s pediatricians is to shift away from shaming, blaming and any other types of negative discipline to what they call positive parenting.

Positive parenting is a set of principles to correct children’s misbehaviour with greater empathy and communication and less punishment — and sticking with it at the times when it’s most challenging. Experts say positive parenting fosters loving, predictable and secure relationships between a child and their parent or guardian.

The Canadian Paediatric Society (CPS) said in its latest position statement, released Thursday, that this is the first time it is asking all primary care practitioners to encourage positive parenting. Doing so, the society says, buffers against the effects of stressors and traumatic events.

Gold-standard randomized trials have demonstrated how positive parenting techniques are more effective at reducing negative behaviour in children, said Jenny Jenkins, the Atkinson Chair of Early Child Development and Education at the University of Toronto. Jenkins, a clinical and developmental psychologist, wasn’t involved in the position statement.

“Negative comments, negativity or harshness towards children has been shown to be much more problematic developmentally for kids,” Jenkins said.

‘Pick their battles’

Positive parenting techniques provide a better relationship between parents and children.

“Rather than parents getting mad at kids and being irritable with them and negative with them, the interaction becomes a more positive one,” she said.

If parents ignore the low-level problematic things that kids often do and intervene only when there’s a safety concern or really bad behaviour, then their interactions with a child can shift in a more positive direction.

“The parents are trying to pick their battles,” Jenkins said.

But today’s parents may be at a loss on how to practise positive parenting since many of their parents didn’t use it with them, said Dr. Andrea Feller, a member of the CPS’s early years task force that wrote the position statement.

Past parenting advice was well intentioned and based on what was known at the time, she said. But experts in child brain development no longer recommend discipline that includes punishments like shaming and blaming.

Experts say positive parenting fosters loving, predictable and secure relationships between a child and their parent or guardian. the Canadian Paediatric Society, in a new position statement, is for first time asking all primary care practitioners to encourage positive parenting.

Feller encourages parents who feel conflicted between the way they were raised and adopting positive parenting to trust themselves.

“Parents are a child’s first, best and most important teacher,” said Feller,a pediatrician in the Niagara Region and a mother of two children under 12.

In fact, the CPS said the reason behind the new statement is that while there are many factors that can put kids at risk for developmental problems, parenting is one that can be easily changed. The focus is on children aged zero to six years.

child
Time outs ‘have a place’ but should not be used to discipline children under the age of three, who only understand that a parent or caregiver has turned them away, says Dr. Andrea Feller of the Canadian Paediatric Society. 

 

Recommendations to doctors

One way parents can get guidance is at the doctor’s office. The CPS is encouraging pediatricians and family doctors to be comfortable asking parents about their relationship with a child and how well the family is coping.

At every visit, clinicians should ask questions about a child’s behaviours and family routines, such as “What is your child’s bedtime routine?”

Parents of young children commonly ask doctors for advice on crying, sleep and challenging behaviours, so that could serve as an opening for those types of conversations.

Clinicians are also encouraged to broach difficult and sometimes uncomfortable topics, such as trauma, and ask questions like “Has anything stressful happened to you or your family since I last saw you?”

To promote positive parenting behaviours, the society’s other recommendations to clinicians include:

  • Ask if there is a consistent caregiver, since that is a protective factor.
  • Model communication skills by being open, predictable, kind and curious.
  • Promote shared reading by families.
  • Incorporate family-friendly hours and proactive scheduling into their practice (e.g. “Let’s make an appointment for early next month” versus “Come back if you’re having difficulties.”)

Primary care providers can also direct parents to positive parenting books or free community supports such as local early years centres.

Shift to time ins

The document also included a section on time outs and time ins.

A time out creates a brief break in the child’s behaviours, even if it’s a positive one such as expressing curiosity or reaching for a hug. In a time in, on the other hand, the caregiver invites the child to sit and talk about feelings and behaviour in an age-appropriate way.

“Time outs have a place,” Feller said, but should be considered a “last resort,” since time outs can drift inappropriately into punishment.

What’s more, time outs have no place in disciplining children under the age of three, who only understand that a parent or caregiver has turned them away. Often, Feller added, it is the parent who needs a break.

Feller noted social workers and early childhood educators already encourage positive discipline.

Now medical professionals are making the shift toward helping parents recognize that a young child’s misbehaviour is often a way for them to communicate: “I can’t handle things right now. I need your help.”

Pediatrician Daniel Flanders, founder and director of Kindercare Pediatrics in Toronto, said the position statement is reasonable.

“It’s a positive step in right direction, but it’s a really small one,” Flanders said. What’s missing is practical ways to help parents implement it.

“It’s all fair and good to say this is how parents should parent, but it’s a whole other ball game when a single mom is trying to make it through the day, and she doesn’t really have any resources or any support to really help her parent in all the ways this position statement is encouraging.”

Amina Zafar · CBC News  April 14

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Amina Zafar has covered health, medical and science news at CBC since 2000. She has a degree in environmental science and a master’s in journalism.

source: www.cbc.ca

 

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Does sugar make kids hyper? That’s largely a myth

Does sugar make kids hyper? Maybe.

The idea of a link between sugar and hyperactivity in children dates to the 1970s, when the Feingold diet was prescribed by a pediatrician with the same name as an eating plan to alleviate symptoms of ADHD.

“His diet eliminated artificial flavorings, sweeteners and preservatives — and so sugar kind of got lumped in, as well,” King said.

This diet may have led parents to perceive that sugar is a culprit when it comes to kids’ excitable behavior — even if it is not the true cause of one’s hyperactivity.

In one study from the mid-’90s, researchers gave children a drink containing a sugar substitute. One group of moms was told that their kids were drinking a high-sugar drink; the other group was told the truth, that their kids were consuming a sugar substitute. Mothers who were told that their kids consumed sugar rated their kids as more hyperactive, even though they didn’t consume any sugar.

“Just thinking their children were consuming sugar caused moms to perceive their children as being more hyperactive,” King said.

“When children consume sugar, it’s usually around something fun: holidays, birthdays, celebrations; there’s already that excitement there,” she said. “I don’t think you can say the sugar made them run around and play with friends. … That would be very hard to separate out.”

Instead, a release of the hormone adrenaline might explain a child’s overly energetic behavior. “It’s a flight or flight hormone; when you are excited or fearful, it increases heart rate and directs blood flow to the muscles, which may make children more antsy and have the urge to keep moving, so you may be perceiving that as hyperactivity,” King said.

“If you look at the peer-reviewed evidence, we cannot say sugar absolutely makes kids hyper; however, you can’t discount that sugar may have a slight effect” on behavior, said Kristi L. King, senior pediatric dietitian at Texas Children’s Hospital and spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
In the mid-1990s, a meta-analysis reviewed 16 studies on sugar’s effects in children. The research, published in the medical journal JAMA, concluded that sugar does not affect behavior or cognitive performance in children. “However, a small effect of sugar or effects on subsets of children cannot be ruled out,” the article said.
Like adults, some children may be more sensitive to blood sugar spikes than others. This may mean they are more likely to become aroused when consuming sugar.
Notably, a small percentage of children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder may be extra sensitive to sugar, and their behavior changes when they eat it, according to Jill Castle, a registered dietitian and childhood nutrition expert who teaches a parenting course called the ADHD Diet for Kids. “They may become more aggressive or hyperactive or difficult to parent,” Castle explained. Minimizing sugar in the diet can be beneficial for these children.

According to Castle, lots of sugary foods can also equate to elevated amounts of food dyes, artificial flavors or other additives that could be problematic for a child with ADHD, often making it difficult to tease out whether sugar is the culprit.Complicating the issue is the fact that we don’t have a way to determine whether there is a link. “Is there a biomarker? A hormone level?” King asked. “It’s disheartening for parents. … They want answers. And unfortunately, nutrition is such an individual thing.”

 

Sugar and hyperactivity: Positive link or parent perception?

To try to determine whether your child is truly sugar-sensitive or just excited about a celebration, Castle recommends eliminating sugary foods from the diet for a few weeks and then testing the child with a sugary food like soda, frosted cake or a tablespoon of sugar in 100% juice, and watching the child’s response. “It may be a quick way to determine how sugar may be affecting the child,” Castle said.

Then again, like the parents in that study, you may just think they’re being hyper just because you know that they consumed sugar.

Tips for parents

Even though most kids don’t have a sugar sensitivity, that doesn’t mean sugar is good for their health. Sugary foods and beverages deliver calories without any nutrients. What’s more, eating foods high in added sugars throughout childhood is linked to the development of risk factors for heart disease, such as an increased risk of obesity and elevated blood pressure in children and young adults.

To keep kids healthy, the American Heart Association recommends that children ages 2 to 18 consume less than 6 teaspoons – or 24 grams – of added sugars daily. To put that number in perspective, consider that 24 grams is the amount of sugar in just one 1.55-ounce chocolate bar. A 12-ounce can of regular soda contains about 40 grams of sugar, well over a day’s worth.

If you are looking for ways to cut back on sweets for your children, here are some tips to get started:

Gradually reduce the amount of sweets in your child’s diet. This is good advice for all kids, with and without ADHD. “I teach the 90/10 Rule for the appropriate balance of nourishing foods and sweets and treats, which equates to one to two normal-sized portions of sweets or treats each day, on average,” Castle said. If there seems to be a strong sensitivity to sweets, Castle recommends removing sweets and added sugar from the diet as best as you can.

Establish routine meals and snacks on a predictable schedule. “Anecdotally, this is one of the main things I work on with families, and they tell me they feel their child is calmer and better-behaved. There is something to be said for nourishing the brain and body on predictable, consistent intervals of three to four hours,” Castle said.

When introducing foods with added sugars, pair them with protein, healthy fat or fiber. This helps to blunt the effects of blood sugar surges and drops, and it optimizes satiety.
Castle and King suggest the following combinations:

  • Cookies with milk
  • Candy or chocolate with nut butter on crackers
  • Ice cream with nuts or oatmeal crumble topping
  • Cake with milk or milk alternative

Experts say you can also include your treat as part of a snack or meal. “If you’re at a party, try veggies and hummus and then having some dessert!” King said. “Or eat a small, sensible meal with lean protein, like turkey meat; add some cheese and baby carrots, and then add a fun treat or small sugar-sweetened beverage.”

Don’t eat sugar on an empty stomach. Doing so can lead to a surge in blood sugar, and that itself may alter a child’s behavior, according to Castle.

Make sure that your child is drinking plenty of water. Also, avoid sugar-sweetened beverages on top of eating sugary foods, King advised.

Don’t hype up sugar. If you don’t have sugar and candies in your house often, and you bring sweets home and make a big deal about it, your child may pick up on it and become excited, King explained.

By Lisa Drayer, CNN       Thu April 18, 2019
Lisa Drayer is a nutritionist, an author and a CNN health and nutrition contributor.
source: www.cnn.com