March 4, 2008 [Volume 2, Issue 7]
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In this issue of To Your Health:
Nutrition for Baby
Drink Your Greens
Time to Socialize

Nutrition for Baby

Congratulations, you are a new parent! Your beautiful baby is depending on you for many things, and you have to make important choices about what to feed them, including how and when to help them transition to whole foods. The following tips focus on the crucial time period from 6 months to 4 years old, and will help take some of the guesswork out of providing your toddler with necessary nutrition while keeping meals interesting, nutritious and varied.

It's important to remember that even though extensive research and countless studies have been done in the area of nutrition for children, not every child is alike. For this reason, you should always consult your child's pediatrician prior to making any changes to your child's diet or their nutritional intake. It's always a good idea to avoid any foods or specific substances which you know may cause an allergic reaction in your baby.

When dealing with a picky eater, give your toddler choices. You are in control and you can give them the choice of several nutritious, attractive foods. You might want to try keeping the portions small – too much food at one time may overwhelm the child.

1.Offer a nibble tray. You might try letting your toddler graze through an array of foods offered in an ice cube tray, a muffin tin or a compartmentalized dish. With bite-size portions of interesting foods in each section, your 2-year-old will enjoy this creative smorgasbord.
2.Let your toddler get involved with meal preparation. Toddlers like spreading (or more precisely, smearing) toppings on their food. Let them top their own food. Here are a few possible dips to make this more fun:
3.Let your toddler drink their meal. If your youngster would rather drink than eat, try making a smoothie. Milk and fruit, combined with supplements such as juice, wheat germ, yogurt or peanut butter, can be the basis of healthy meals. Caution: Avoid drinks with raw eggs, as you may risk salmonella poisoning.
4.Find creative ways to disguise veggies. Slip grated veggies into favorite foods such as rice, cottage cheese, muffins and even macaroni and cheese.
5.Don't be a slave to the clock. If your youngster insists on eating chicken in the morning and cereal in the evening, let them! The distinction between breakfast, lunch and dinner may have little meaning to the child, and this schedule is likely better than not eating at all.

Respect your child's developmental stages. Typically, between their 2nd and 3rd birthdays, your child may become set in their ways about everything, including food. If the cheese must be cut into cubes rather than grated for them to eat it, go with it. It might be better to do it the child's way, because they may not be acting stubborn – they could just have a mindset about the order of things in their world. This phase too will likely pass.

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Drink Your Greens

Most of us have heard that diets high in fruits and vegetables can help us lose weight and reduce our risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, cataracts, macular degeneration, osteoporosis, arthritis and even wrinkles. As a matter of fact, according to the National Cancer Institute, eight to 10 servings a day can cut our risk of some cancers in half!

However, with the U.S. government releasing its new dietary recommendations urging us to eat up to 13 servings of fruits and vegetables each and every day, it's certain many of us are falling short of that goal. Fortunately, health care providers today can offer the power of "super food" drink mixes with the antioxidant protection of 10-15 servings of fruits and vegetables to help fill this nutritional gap.

Green-food mixes are different from mainstream vitamin and mineral supplements because they are not synthetic nor are they isolated compounds; they are whole-food sources of nutrition. They are the base of the food chain and, therefore, the source of optimal nutrition. They are nature's multivitamin/mineral supplement, providing these essential nutrients in a form that is both safe and effective for the body.

The sad fact remains that in spite of all the support from mainstream medical organizations, few of us eat the recommended minimum of two brightly colored fruits and three phytochemical-dense, deep green vegetables daily. The reasons for this nutritional void are many and varied, and they are deeply ingrained in our American culture and lifestyle, though it can no longer be attributed to ignorance.

Choosing the right green-food drink is important. Quality manufacturers of green-food drink mixes take care to preserve the nutrients naturally found in the fruits and vegetables during the various manufacturing processes. These are natural, certified organic, whole foods and they are best consumed as close to their natural environmental state as possible, with as little handling as possible. Always seek products that don't use genetically modified foods and aren't altered using nanotechnology.

Many doctors today recommend the use of functional foods such as green-food drink mixes that can be included in the dietary fabric of the busy, modern world. People will only eat what they like, so consuming a good-tasting, instant and healthy superfood drink on a daily basis can help bridge the gap to an optimal diet. Many doctors have free sample packets available at their office. Be sure to ask your health care provider for a recommendation for you and your family.

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Time to Socialize

How much can be accomplished in a 10-minute conversation? New research indicates that talking to another person for just 10 minutes a day can improve memory and test scores. In a study of 3,610 people ages 24 to 96, researchers discovered that a higher level of social interaction (visiting or talking on the phone with family, friends or neighbors) resulted in better cognitive functioning. So, in addition to reading, doing crossword puzzles and taking classes to boost brainpower, now you can just call up a friend.

Another study involving 76 college students ages 18 to 21 suggested that having a friendly chat with someone each day may rival a daily crossword puzzle for mental acuity. The college students were divided into three groups: 1) the social interaction group, which discussed a social issue for 10 minutes before taking a set of lab tests; 2) the intellectual activities group, which completed three tasks (such as reading and crossword puzzles) before the tests; and 3) a control group that watched "Seinfeld" for 10 minutes. Short-term social interaction boosted intellectual performance as much as doing "intellectual" activities for the same amount of time.

So take time to socialize – 10 minutes of bonding with a friend, getting together with family or chatting with a neighbor will not only lighten the mood, but also make you smarter.

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The information provided is for general interest only and should not be misconstrued as a diagnosis, prognosis or treatment recommendation. This information does not in any way constitute the practice of chiropractic, acupuncture, massage therapy, medicine, or any other health care profession. Readers are directed to consult their health care provider regarding their specific health situation. MPA Media is not liable for any action taken by a reader based upon this information.