Did you know a study from over 10 years ago showed that newborns umbilical cords contained over 230 chemicals, including flame retardant, jet fuel, arsenic, mercury, and pesticides?? And two other studies have been performed since then verifying that information and even more chemicals are showing up.  One in five children today has a chronic illness. One in 38 boys has autism. ADHD is one of the most prevalent disorders in children today. Type one diabetes, which used to be called “adult-onset”, is now being diagnosed in children as young as five years old. One in 2 children also has food allergies, asthma, eczema and obesity.

We live in a toxin-filled environment that is affecting the health of ourselves, our children, and every generation to come. The only thing we can do to create change is to take control of the things we can change in our own household. Over 75% of the toxins in our environment come from our food. 20% comes from our air and water. The final 5% comes from our personal care and household products.

Studies have shown that the toxins in our foods contribute directly to neurological and developmental conditions, which we are seeing a tremendous increase in, across all demographics.

  • In one study the blood concentration levels of lead, aluminum, and mercury were measured in non-ADHD children who resided near a metal-processing plant.1 These children underwent testing to assess for issues in behavior (hyperactivity) and focus (inattentiveness). Of the three metals, lead was the only one associated with the development of ADHD-specific symptoms in the children
  • In a six-week randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled study, children who consumed foods and beverages that were devoid of sodium benzoate (a preservative) and food-coloring agents were evaluated.2 At weeks 2, 4, and 6, the children were either placed in a group that received either the plain juice (placebo) or juice that contained additives. The researchers reported that a significant increase in hyperactivity was observed among children who consumed drinks that contained artificial colors.
  • Mercury exposure can impair children’s memory, attention, and language abilities and interfere with fine motor and visual spatial skills. A recent study of school districts in Texas showed significantly higher levels of autism in areas with elevated levels of mercury in the environment.

Being that our food creates the most toxic-overload in our bodies it makes sense to start there. Choosing organic foods and non-gmo foods is necessary to lessen the amount of pesticides and other contaminants in your food. The food you eat goes directly into you body and provides you with the fuel you need to live. Eat REAL foods. Real foods include those that grow in the ground or foods that have mother! Your meal plate should include an abundance of vegetables, a portion of high fat foods, and protein.

We also recommend high levels of antioxidants be consumed on a daily basis.  Antioxidants helps to fight off free radicals in the body which can cause cancer and other issues when they accumulate over time. Prevention is key with nutrition as we may not feel or see a difference in our health right away. Many of the chronic conditions adults face started when they were young children. Antioxidants are contained in abundance in fruits & vegetables.  This is an area that many parents have trouble with. Especially our picky eaters. If your child is only eating a “white” diet (foods like chicken nuggets, french fries, waffles, etc) and not consuming any fruits and/or vegetables you may want to see out assistance from a feeding therapist (typically an Occupational or Speech therapist). They can help your child expand their palate.

Antioxidants are substances that destroy free radicals and therefore protect healthy cells. Antioxidants are found in a wide variety of foods—many are plant based. Fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains are some of the most impressive sources.

In addition to many other important functions, vitamins A, C, and E plus the mineral selenium are also classified as antioxidants. Antioxidants are also found as part of plant based compounds collectively called phytochemicals. Examples include polyphenols that protect plants from damage, and flavonoids, colorful pigments that give plant foods their unique shades.
The occasional piece of fruit and a baby carrot stick every few days won’t be enough for your child to meet their antioxidant needs. For best results, parents and kids can work together to discover ways to make them fixtures in the diet. Children with a neurological or developmental condition should be getting more than the recommended 8-12 servings/day. Double that for our children.

As an “insurance” of sorts, we use a real food nutritional supplement on a daily basis to ensure our children receive the proper amounts of fruits & vegetables.

Antioxidants are accessible to little ones via all kinds of kid-friendly foods. Here are five all-stars sources.

Berries

Take your pick. All types of berries are teeming with antioxidants. Strawberries, blackberries, wild blueberries, cherries, and cranberries are just a few. Dark colors mean they are rich in pigments and the burst of flavor makes them especially appealing to tiny palates.
Leafy Greens
Green veggies like spinach, Swiss chard, kale, arugula, and collard greens are famous for being nutrient dense. Leafy greens like kale and collards are fairly bitter and may not appeal to kids when raw, but cooking them down helps make them sweeter and easier to chew.
Tomato products boast plenty of lycopene, a red flavonoid also found in pink grapefruit and watermelon. Cooked tomato products have more lycopene than raw tomatoes so enjoy canned tomatoes, marinara sauce, chili, and tomato soup regularly.

Raisins

Dried fruits offer a concentrated dose of antioxidants. Similar to the grapes (and wine for mommy), raisins are an easy option for kids as a healthy alternative to chewy candies.

Whole Grains

A lesser known source of antioxidants, whole grains such as brown rice, oats, barley, and sorghum are filled with tummy-pleasing fiber and antioxidants. Regular consumption of these grains has been linked to prevention of chronic disease like cardiovascular disease, cancer, and diabetes. Get the little ones started on whole grains early instead of the more highly processed “white” grains.
What are your favorite recipes and ways to incorporate fruits & vegetables into your families diet?

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