Malnutrition is the leading cause of disease in America, and children’s diets are usually worse than even our malnourished adults. As a result, sub-clinical nutrient deficiencies are common, and show up as behavior problems, learning difficulties, obesity, anxiety, and depression. More and more children are developing cardiovascular risk factors as early as age three and are suffering from diseases that used to be reserved for older folk, like type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, and cancer.
No sane parent would deliberately give their child heart disease or cancer. Yet this is exactly what we do by feeding our children disease-causing “foods” like sugar, white flour, milk, ice cream, cookies, candy, cakes, fruit juice, sodas, pizza, breakfast cereals, French fries and various processed foods. Unfortunately, the same kinds of so-called “foods” are served in school cafeterias, contributing to poor school performance and impaired social skills.
Optimal development and function of the brain and nervous system require brain support nutrients like the B vitamins, vitamins C and E, zinc, magnesium and the essential fatty acids. Yet the chemical and mechanical steps used to process foods—heat, light, milling and chemicals—will significantly reduce a food’s content of these same nutrients.
A whole foods, plant-based diet is best for both adults and children. Although we’ve been brought up to think of vegetables as side dishes, fresh, organic, unprocessed whole vegetables should take center stage, complemented by fruits, grains, nuts, and seeds, with small amounts of clean animal protein. Children who grow up on a primarily plant food diet have a tremendous health advantage and are much less likely to develop health problems as they age.
A variety of vegetables should be consumed as they contain different, valuable nutrients. At least 2-3 servings of green leafy vegetables should be consumed daily. These contain calcium, iron, and many other minerals and vitamins that children need. The calcium in these plant foods is far more bioavailable than the calcium in milk. If possible, purchase your vegetables from the organic farmers at a local farmer’s market, or, better yet, grow your own.
Grains such as whole brown rice, oats, quinoa, amaranth, and millet can also be added. Gluten-containing grains such as wheat, rye, and barley should be avoided since a large percentage of the population is now sensitive to gluten.
Soy isn’t recommended. It’s very difficult to find soy (even organic) that hasn’t been contaminated with the genetically modified material. Commercially farmed, genetically modified soybeans have been found to be very high in estrogen, which could damage growth in children or promote estrogen-related cancers.
Even with a good diet, a high-quality multi is a must-have insurance policy to cover any nutritional gaps. We recommend our new Kids Mega Multi.
Most of our population, including children, is short of the omega 3 fatty acids, so necessary for healthy brain and nervous system development and function. While these can come from fish, flaxseeds or walnuts, most children will benefit from a half a teaspoon Cod Liver Oil or a capsule of our Fish Oil Formula one to three times a week depending on the size of the child.