Friday, September 18, 2015

Processed food and diseases

What is Processed food?
The nature provide vegetables, fruits, grains and other food sources. It has abundance of vitamins, antioxidants and minerals in it. Some of the food can be eaten raw and the whole nutrients can be absorbed by the body and some others need to be cooked. The cooking is to make the food more digestible by human body. However when the cooking process is long and harsh the food loses its properties and becomes the opposite. Like say a Potato has wonderful nutrients in it but when heated to temperature >120 degree Celsius and made into Potato fries a chemical called Acrylamide is formed which is carcinogenic.

Pesticides, chemical fertilizers, contaminated water source(by chemicals and radio active substances), contaminated soil(by chemicals and pollution), contaminated air(pollution), preservatives, genetically modified (GMO) are already altering the food produced by nature. Each of these have their effect on human health and are related to diseases like Autism, Asthma, tumor and cancers

On the top these food are even more modified when made into processed food. For example, to make a breakfast cereal the grains are grounded, added unnecessary vitamins and preservatives, molded into shapes and heated to temperatures that can change the property of food and put on shelf for the period of 2 years. Same is the case for a food cooked at home for long time using harsh temperature just to make it more palatable.

All these processing and chemicals has huge impact on children with Asthma, Autism and Immune system disorder and other diseases. It increases the risk several folds.

Hence provide of abundances of vitamins, antioxidants and minerals through raw food like fruits and vegetables atleast 5 servings a day. While for the other food form that requires cooking try to keep the cooking process to the right minimum. Do not encourage any processed and convenience food. This will keep any disease at check.


Best Diet for the first five years

The first five years of a child's life is the foundation for the physical and mental health and the diet during this period is crucial especially if your child is prone to health concerns. The child knows only what the parents shows and follows. It is good to follow certain guidelines during this period and stick to a strict discipline. Below is a guideline for a vegetarian diet. 
  • 5  or more servings of Fruits and Veges. They contain lots of micronutrients and antioxidants for the body.
  • 2 or more servings of Dairy. Better if vitamin D fortified. Dairy in the form of milk, yogurt/curd(homemade if possible), cheese. Vitamin D and calcium play a vital role in strengthening the bones and overall.
  • 99.9% of the time go for whole grains. 
  • Good Protein Sources like Lentils and Egg
  • Nuts are packet with protein and nutrients and make a great snack
  • Herbs and Spices. Here is a trick, the more you include a herb or spice the more your child is going to like it. It's like training the taste bud.
  • Best drinks for kids are Milk and water. Homemade fresh squeezed fruit juices are good. Avoid any store brought sugary drinks, soda and juice from concentrate.
  • DHA and Probiotic supplements. Vitamin D supplement for the first two years.
Please note: the above guideline is for vegetarian diet. Non vegetarian food like meat and seafood possess excellent nutrients. If you are non vegetarian please add the above guidelines to your diet to get benefit. It is all about eating natural food and avoiding artificial stuff.

How to make your child love good food.

  • The key to making your child like good food is to show them only good food. "What we show is what they know".
  • Simple looking food appeal kids better than the complicated ones. "Simple and less" is the magic. Offer more on demand.
  • Kids with sweet tooth naturally like fruits. Fruits are nature's candies. They will appreciate natural taste unless they are exposed to man made sweet treats. It is good to stay away from chocolates, sugary drinks and other sweets as much as possible until age 5.
  • Vegetable when given in simple form will be appreciated by kids. Just adding some butter, salt and pepper will add good taste to Veges like broccoli, cauliflower. Some taste good when raw nd some go well will little seasoning or dip. Do trials to test your child's likes. Please keep in mind that the more you train the taste buds the more they will get used to and like it.
  • Talk to your child about food. If they love stories then tell your own stories of how Spiderman drinks two cups of milk everyday to stay strong. How fairies loves to eat fruits. How beautiful/ handsome they will become if they eat fruits, vegetables. They can become tall if they drink water. The more you talk the more they will get used to eating good food
  • Involve them in picking fruits/veges from grocery store and in making some simple recipes. Get them familiarize with food and it is the natural part of everyday life.
  • Avoid distraction eating like watching tv, computer or playing games while eating. Self eating is the best practices.
  • Fruits like orange, lemon and Apple increases you child's appetite. Giving a cup of water 30 mins before food will also make them more hungry.
  • Water guidelines. Give a cup water after wakeup, 30 mins before food, 1 hour after food throughout the day, before going to bed and finally take a bottle when going out for a walk or any physical activity and don't miss an opportunity when your child shows signs of thirst.
  • Some kids love to drink water from sippy cup while others just takes few sips and stays without water for long tine. In that case use only open cup. Fill it with water and tell your child that he has to finish it fully.

To my blog readers

Please do not hesitate to provide your inputs and write some fun ways you encourage your child to eat good food that will motivate all moms.