Published On: Wed, Jun 20th, 2012

Healthy Living: Foods & Child Behavior

By: Dr Marcia Perretto Medina

Several studies have been demonstrating that there are a number of food additives which not only affect hyperactive children but also can affect ‘normal’ children as well, the tartrazine yellow (E102), red #40, and MSG for example. If you wonder why your child, before well behaved, suddenly turned into a little monster, check to see whether he or she has been sucking one of those luridly yellow ice lollies and check the components in it.

In fact most chemical colourings are problematic but especially those made from azo dyes and coal tar. These dyes are commonly used in a wide range of confectionery and snack foods but they are also used in medicines and toothpaste. The chemical flavourings and flavour enhancers such as MSG, chemical preservatives like sodium benzoate & benzoic acid, nitrites and nitrates, and artificial sweeteners like saccharin, aspartame, isomalt, acesulfame, maltitol, lactitol, xylitol and cyclamates may all also cause problems.

Removing theses substances from your child’s diet, specially if they are “addicted to them”, may cause a temporary worsening of the child’s behavior, however, the long term results are priceless. Not only these uncountable toxic substances will be removed from their diet, but also all the sugary and fatty foods that normally contain theses substances, including snack foods, sodas and candy that contribute to child obesity and vitamins and nutrients malnutrition will be vanished from their daily meals.

Is Lack of Sleep Linked to Obesity?

Scientists around the world have been finding more and more evidence in the relationship of sleep deprivation and obesity. In general, people that sleep at least seven hours every night are less likely to accumulate body fat than people who don’t. Of course, food intake, physical activity and
genetics are other factors that determine who becomes overweight.; however, sleep is much more important that most people realize. The First National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES I) was conducted on a nationwide sample of approximately 9,000 persons 32-49 years of age. This study demonstrated that sleep deprivation has been shown to contribute toward obesity by decreasing leptin (a protein hormone that plays a key role in regulating energy intake and energy expenditure, including appetite and metabolism), increasing ghrelin (a peptide and hormone that promotes satiation), and compromising insulin sensitivity (a physiological condition where the natural hormone insulin becomes less effective at lowering blood sugars).

In average, if you are not sleep deprived you should take about 15 minutes to fall asleep. But if you fall asleep as immediately as you drop into your bed it may be a good sign that you may not be getting enough sleep. Also, if on daily basis you are just too tired to perform any physical exercise, or you are felling exhausted for the most part of your day you are very likely sleep deprived.

To recover your body’s natural sleep wake cycle, you need to adopt a regular sleep schedule, going to bed and getting up at the same time each day, you will wake up much more refreshed and energized. Set a regular bed time, wake up at the same time every day, nap to make up for lost sleep. Make sure the TV is off and your bedroom is cool (65 to 70 degrees) dark and quiet, and make your bed very comfortable. Avoid computers or any devices with backlit as an ipad, as well as violent movies. Settle for mellow activities like reading a book, meditating or listening to some relaxing music. Obesity is linked to several helth issues, overtime your health will thank you.

Can Exercise Improve Depression?

Several studies have been demonstrating that regular physical exercise can improve mood in people with mild and moderate depression, as well have longer lasting effects and could be an acceptable substitute for antidepressants as per a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine. A follow up to this study found that the people who exercised regularly after completing the study, regardless of which treatment they were on originally, were less likely to relapse into depression. Another study published in 2005 found that fast walking about 35 minutes daily five days a week or 60 minutes three times a week significantly improved mild to moderate depression symptoms. Physical exercise estimulates the production and action of the endorphins, chemicals that improve natural immunity and pain perception. The endorphins also improve mood
as well as another chemical known as norepinephrine. Regular exercise also lowers the blood pressure, protects against heart disease and cancer, and boosts self-esteem.

Health Tip of the Week

Eat more Omega-3s rich foods like wild salmon, walnuts and flax seeds. Omega- 3s are thought to play an important role in reducing inflammation throughout the body – in the blood vessels, the joints, and elsewhere. But while eating foods rich in omega-3s may safe, taking omega-3 supplements (EPA/DHA) may cause the blood to thin and cause excess bleeding, particularly in people taking anticoagulant drugs, so ask your doctor before taking it

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