As the research studies are undergoing, evidence is mounting that adequate vitamin D levels may be a protective factor against COVID-19 infection and severity. Here’s what the research shows:
I’m so excited that one of the priorities for the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) in 2019 is connecting children and families with nature. In the Jan 2019 edition of AAP news, Dr. Yasuda, current AAP president, notes the research findings that benefits of exposure to green spaces for our kids include “greater physical activity, better mental health, reduced stress and increased resilience.” Further “nature helps improve their executive function, their ability to learn and their relationships with their families and other children.”
Richard Louv has been highlighting these findings for at least a decade, starting with his best-selling book “Last Child in the Woods” which outlines the many research proven benefits of time spent in nature. In fact, in a recent inspiring article on this topic, Dr. Louv invites us to imagine a world “….where antidepressants and pharmaceuticals are needed less and nature prescribed more. Where obesity – of children and adults – is reduced through nature play.” Read the full article, and get inspired to enjoy some family time in your local park or playground or even your own backyard.
Yasuda, Kyle, M.D, AAP News, Vol 40, No. 1, January 2019. P. 6
Louv, Richard, Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder, Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 2008
Obesity continues to wreak havoc on our children’s health. Here’s a tip to help reduce your child’s risk:
I’ve been asked this question quite a few times. The answer is yes…and no. What I mean is this: a child’s diet is a critical piece in the treatment of ADHD. However, the right diet doesn’t treat just ADHD, but it makes the brain work better in general. So, an ADHD diet is what I prefer to call a brain healthy diet.
What happens in ADHD? The brain has difficulty focusing and staying on task; it has difficulty planning and self-regulating. In order for the brain to carry out these tasks, it needs adequate amounts of building materials. The brain is one of the most metabolically active parts of your body, and therefore it needs a constant flow of nutrients to work well. So what makes up an ADHD diet?
Protein: Many children today eat a diet that’s heavy in simple carbohydrates and low in protein. A brain healthy diet needs a good supply of healthy proteins. Even though lean meat and eggs are good sources of protein, make sure you remember plant sources. For example, beans, nut butters, certain vegetables, such as broccoli, and certain whole grains such as quinoa, are healthy sources of protein.
Complex carbohydrates are essential for brain health because they provide steady energy to keep up with the brain’s high metabolism rate. A variety of fruits and vegetables, as well as beans and whole grains, provide this energy source.
Healthy fats are finally being recognized for their critical role in brain function. Almonds, walnuts, avocados and flax seeds are important sources of fat for your child’s diet. Also, wild salmon once or twice per week provides essential fatty acids. If you use oil when cooking, the best choices for brain health are coconut and extra virgin olive oil.
Micronutrients: There are so many vitamins and minerals that are needed for a brain healthy diet. Zinc, chromium, iron, vitamin A, folate, vitamin C…just to name a few! That’s why variety is so critical to a healthy brain, because these nutrients are variably abundant in different foods.
A brain healthy diet will help to improve your child’s attention, mood and energy level. So, using an ‘ADHD diet’ as a key part of the overall treatment plan for your child’s symptoms is a smart idea.