Phytonutrients and Kids

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The risk factors for lifestyle diseases start building up in childhood. Healthy eating habits children pick up early in life protect against diet-related diseases and decrease future health risks. The research tells us so.

The bottom line: fruits and vegetables are just good for you. They are important sources of fiber, vitamins, minerals, enzymes and other nutrients that keep the body healthy.

Aside from maintaining wellness, clinical research continues to prove that regular fruit and vegetable consumption leads to marked health benefits derived from protective natural chemicals in plants called phytonutrients which:

  • Boost the immune system
  • Enhance cellular communication
  • Improve blood vessel function, inhibit cholesterol deposits and decrease blood pressure
  • Repair cell and DNA damage caused by environmental and dietary toxins
  • Prevent cancer cell growth
  • Lower risk of cardiovascular disease
  • Regulate blood sugar levels and reduces diabetes risk

Recruiting Antioxidants: A Secret Army of Phytonutrients (or phytochemicals) make up the plant’s defense mechanism against toxins in the environment. Imagine transporting these plant guardians to the body. You’re sure to get a health boost!

The magical protective properties of phytonutrients come from their powerful antioxidant properties. Antioxidants fight free radicals and toxins, which cause damage to the body’s cells. They also help to:

  • Ward off bacteria and viruses
  • Reduce inflammation
  • Prevent tumor growth
  • Prevent accelerated cell aging

The popularity of vitamin supplements, liquid vitamins, whole food supplements and other nutritional products are on the upswing. However, real whole food sources remain the best option for obtaining these regenerating compounds. Fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and grains are the best sources of phytonutrients.

To get the kids the right amount of Phytonutrients, a good rule of thumb is to include, at the very least, one fruit or vegetable serving in every meal. Adequate intake of phytonutrients comes from at least five servings of fruits and vegetables daily. Current data shows that only 1 out of 5 kids consumes at least 5 servings of fruits and veggies in a day. Worse, 2 of those 5 kids have less than one serving of fruits or vegetables each day.

Phytonutrients and Well-Being:

In a study of 5,000 school children, high fruit and vegetable intake positively affect the perception of “excellent health” and “overall good health behavior” amongst children. Children identified as having received adequate phytonutrients were also observed to be more physically active and less likely to try unhealthy habits like smoking or alcohol later in life.

Start Early and Reap a Lifetime of Benefits. A diet rich in fruit and vegetables keeps your children in the best shape possible, especially during early development. Like saving up early in the bank, investing in our children’s health continues to compound with interest a major decline in childhood obesity, Type 2 diabetes, frequent earaches, and overall colds, flue and sniffles. Not to mention a marked decline in school days missed. Strong evidence suggests that childhood eating habits influence food choices and health decisions later in life. If started young, children are sure to follow through with their healthy, balanced diet and reap the benefits of lower lifelong health risks.

Make Health Family Fun:

Phytonutrients have wonderful health benefits for all ages. Children learn best when they see their role models eating fruits, greens and other whole foods. Take the kids grocery shopping and ask them to pick out their favorite fruits and veggies. Include the kids in meal planning. Make smoothies and desserts together. Juicing is a fantastic way to get a concentrated phytonutrients intake. Add a bit of phytonutrient rich aloe vera juice to that smoothie or juice recipe. Let’s teach our children that eating healthy can indeed be fun. They will reap benefits for decades to come.

Contributor Info:

Dr. Linda Kennedy MS SLP ND, helps her patients achieve a healthy equilibrium through proper nutrition and exercise.  Her private laboratory produces custom supplementation for her patients to include natural vitamin supplements, liquid vitamins and immune system modulators.  She packs a solid educational background with degrees in organic chemistry, psychology and a Masters in Communication Sciences and Disorders coupled with a PhD in holistic health services. The Dr. sports a diverse work history including experience and expertise in acute care  neuro-rehab services, special education, autism support and therapy services, spinal cord injuries, senior neuro rehabilitation services, oncology familial support services  and she currently consults to both patients and colleagues in natural health care. With a tithing heart, she offers herself freely to those in need of support on their journey through their own natural health journey and explorations.

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