Go low tox
We face so many chemicals each and every day, and children are more susceptible to those chemicals because they are smaller. Chemicals are in our home everywhere – in our food, water, building materials, furniture, cleaning products, fragrances (electric fragrance diffusers!), and toiletries (sunscreens, insect repellents, cosmetics). Finding alternative natural products where possible is a really good start, as well as trying to eat organic produce whenever possible.
Avoid packaged / processed foods
Remove/ minimise artificial colors, flavours, and preservatives from your family’s diet. Prepackaged and processed food is not only fairly void of nutrients, but also usually full of artificial colours and flavours that are added solely to make the food look, smell, or taste better. These foods often have an extremely long list of ingredients and are not whole natural foods. Some children have a negative reaction to these chemicals, and many additives have been linked to issues such as hyperactivity, behavioural/mood disorders, and sleep issues.
Make healthier choices / plan ahead
Eating healthier is a choice. It takes commitment, but you might find that the benefits of better health outweigh the extra effort in planning ahead. Getting a list together of healthy food choices for the week, and making sure not to buy foods that aren’t providing nutritional value – don’t bring them into the home. The right nutrition levels can transform the health of children, and can make a noticeable difference in development and behavioural outcomes. There’s always room to improve vegetable and fibre intake, increasing to 5-7 serves of vegetables each day. Ensuring clean and quality protein is eaten with every meal, and where possible eating organic fruits, vegetables, and meats minimises toxicity (pesticides are known neurotoxins and some studies suggest pesticides such as glyphosate have been linked to cancer).
Supplement if needed
If you notice your child is falling sick often, or you just have a suspicion they may not have optimum health, then schedule an appointment with your naturopath who can get their levels checked. While good food choices are the best way to improve your child’s nutritional uptake, sometimes supplementation is needed, at least initially, to therapeutically boost levels. Supplements are a also useful tool for picky eaters who may not be getting the variety they need (picky eating can also be a sign of a nutritional deficiency in itself). Be sure to choose a clean and quality therapeutic practitioner-only supplement, rather than just choosing a big name brand. Most practitioner-only supplements have been clinically trialled for the best health outcomes.
Yvette is a qualified Melbourne-based Naturopath and Nutritionist, MINDD Practitioner, member of the Naturopaths and Herbalists Association of Australia, and Complementary Medicine Association. Yvette specialises in the treatment of conditions commonly affecting women and children, with a key interest in children’s digestive and neurological conditions, as well as women’s hormonal concerns, digestive issues, fatigue, anxiety, and skin concerns. Yvette consults in South Yarra, Melbourne, as well as Australia-wide via skype/zoom/phone.
The Naturopathic Co. Melbourne Naturopath 2020