Sue Faulk, Holistic Nurtrition Consultant and Educational Therapist for DTI
FOODS FOR A HEALTHY BRAIN AND BODY
Children and teens have developing brains. In general, the best foods to nourish brains and bodies are fresh vegetables and fruits, raw nuts and seeds (like sunflower, flax and chia), and beans. These food choices supply the body with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytochemicals which are building blocks for healthy cells and help the brain get rid of if its trash each night while we sleep. Plant foods also contain healthy protein, carbohydrates and fats. They contain fiber which slowly releases their carbohydrates in the body, providing a constant supply of energy.
Dr. Joel Fuhrman, in his book, Disease-Proof Your Child, considers plant foods essential for building the brain. He states that, “Throughout life, what a person eats affects the levels of neurotransmitters and structure of cells and regulates all mental processes that affect how well we think and feel”. Unfortunately, Dr. Fuhrman notes that children in America usually get less than 5 percent of their total calories from the plant foods we have mentioned, and that “This dangerously low intake of unrefined plant foods guarantees weakened immunity to disease, frequent illnesses, and a shorter lifespan”.
A large portion of many American diets is addictive refined foods--fast food, packaged snacks, breakfast cereals and other convenience foods. The nutritional value of these foods is less than the original product and the fiber has been removed which causes blood sugar to rise and energy to crash. Sugar, artificial sweeteners, and flavorings (sometimes referred to as “spices”) in processed foods are neurotoxins which overstimulate nerve cells to death or interfere with their communication. Food colorings and preservatives can cause tumors and also hyperactivity in children.
You can make mealtime more nutritious by phasing out the refined foods and introducing more fruits and vegetables into your families diet. Make it fun by trying out a new recipe each week and get the kids involved! Check out some of these websites for recipe ideas: draxe.com, wellnessmama.com, thewholejourney.com, traditionalcookingschool.com, and mommypotamus.com. For articles on nutrition, look at the “Library” section on drfuhrman.com.
Sue Faulk, Holistic Nutrition Consultant for Discovery Therapies and Educational Therapist
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