The Role of Nutrition in Child Behavior - Anger? Depressed? Unmotivated?
Often when we think of kids being angry, depressed or unmotivated, we think of stresses in life that children go through. In today’s society, there certainly are a lot of things that stress children. They have homework issues, social pressures, bullies, hormone changes and much more. We’ll relieve the stress, work through the issues and everything should be fine. However, most of us tend to not acknowledge or fully understand the role of nutrition and diet in our child’s life. We give kids what they love to eat because we love them and want to make them happy. We fret that they may starve themselves rather than eat “healthy balanced meals” sometimes.
The truth is, we may not even realize that bad food choices can literally starve a child’s brain and body. That starving may even be taking place under layers of excess pounds. Your child may be so deficient in basic body building nutrients that anger, depression, lack of energy and even diabetes may result from those unhealthy choices. It’s following the Standard American Diet (SAD) that has gotten us into this position, where nearly 1 out of every 3 American children and teens are overweight according to the American Heart Association’s 2011 statistics. Our kids today are consuming too much candy, pre-packaged foods, soda and fast food which all literally rob the body of health and life span.
By feeding our children a SAD, we are actually putting them at risk for cardiac problems, high blood pressure and many other food-related illnesses. The American Academy of Pediatrics has even discovered high blood pressure in some toddlers. We have become too complacent and too tired ourselves to prepared fresh home-cooked meals of old. It’s so much easier to hit the drive thru and be done with it. However, fast food was not created to be healthy. It was created to produce a profit. Current agendas such as growing meat in a laboratory from bovine stem cells should be of concern to our society. Hearing that it twitches as it grows should appall anyone and make us want to research today’s standards of food production and what we are potentially putting into our children’s bodies.
If you experience constant fatigue, it may well be caused by the foods you are consuming. Nutrition and quality of life are tightly woven to create the very fabric of our lives – physically, emotionally and spiritually. We must take a closer look at the role of nutrition in our bodies and how it affects our lives.
White, nutritionally deficient sugar and flour (even if it has been ‘fortified”) cause us to experience fatigue and hit bottom emotionally. Food affects our feelings and our moods. The rising rates of depression and mood disorders in the United States parallel the increase of obesity here according to the National Institutes of Health. Nutrition deserves to be placed in proper perspective and given the importance it truly deserves.
Schools do not teach children much about nutrition and the classroom worksheets given on the subject resemble nothing that is continually served in the lunch cafeteria. We must make a conscious effort as concerned parents to begin picking up the pieces of the misconstrued path of bad nutrition to appease taste buds and heal our own bodies with good healthy, wholesome foods. Hippocrates, the great Greek physician and the father of western medicine said “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food” ― but we westerners have completely ignored his sage advice, and we are paying the price with high mortality rates, cancer, diabetes and cardiac arrest in unprecedented numbers.
Choosing a healthy lifestyle for your family is actually quite easy. It also gets easier the more you practice it. Sure it may be different than what you’ve been doing until now, but the benefits will be worth the effort. Think of it as learning to fall in love with you again, learning to care for your family, your children and yourself in a new way that will give you exponential results with even small efforts. You do not have to begin all at once, and for some families it’s better to take baby steps. But if you really want to help your child achieve and maintain a healthy emotional balance – nutrition combined with unconditional love, of course, is the place you must start. Love alone may not cure diabetes or other nutrition-related illnesses, but good nutrition can.
The increasing popularity of the raw food diet has proven successful in curing even diabetes (Simply Raw: Reversing Diabetes in 30 Days - the movie). Start by incorporating more fresh fruits and vegetables into your life. Our plates should center on fresh vegetables and fruits rather than meats and white carbohydrates.
Even after one week of incorporating more raw fresh fruits and vegetables into your mealtime, you will see dramatic improvements in everyone’s moods and emotions. Healthy live foods make people feel healthy and alive. Be mindful of the foods you choose in the grocery store. Are they living, life-giving foods that will build your child’s body and brain? If you stick to the produce area, you know you will be buying real food, everything else is already dead and cannot properly nourish a living, growing body.
In the 1930s, research was conducted under Dr. Paul Kouchakoff at the Institute of Clinical Chemistry in Switzerland. It has been known that an effect of eating cooked foods produced an abundance of leukocytes - white blood cells (the fighter cells). This was called digestive leukocytosis and was a known phenomenon. However, in his study, Dr. Kouchakoff found that no digestive leukocytosis was experienced in people who ate raw, natural food. Blood did not (and does not) respond to cooked and processed or refined foods the way it does to raw foods in their natural state. The natural conclusion is that cooked and refined foods are not a natural energy source of the human body and the body experiences them as foreign invaders thereby producing leukocytes. While you may not decide to abide by a high raw food diet, you certainly can make small changes to base your eating style more around fresh vegetables and fruits and eat less processed and refined foods. In this way the whole family will benefit. By choosing to incorporate fresh, wholesome foods into your diet and paying careful attention to what you serve and buy, you will find a new, clean, healthy emotional balance in your family and happier, healthier kids who can deal with normal life stresses much better.
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