Nutrition For Kids and Teenagers: Expanded needs
It makes sense intuitively that kids have particularly special nutrition needs. Their bodies and brains are growing rapidly. The nervous system and brain map are throwing down countless tracks as the child learns and grows. All of this requires specific nutrition. Here we'll go over some of the more prominent needs and how to counter the obstacles children face, which are many.
1) Limited access to food. Most food served in schools is more of a 3D printout peppered with artificial flavorings than it is a real food. Don't let the taste fool your kids; most school lunch programs in America are unfit to meet nutritional needs of animals much less children.
2) No education. Kids have no idea what they need to eat for the most part and depend on society i.e. parents and media influences. Most of these influences are nefarious and aimed at creating customers, not meeting nutritional needs. These include junk food adverts which abound in schools. Most schools also carry nutrient-destroying beverages like soda. We simply can't tolerate bogus cartoon clowns named Ronald McDonald brainwash the kids. McDonald's targets children for two reasons: cradle-to-grave customers and a bonus - kids ALWAYS bring another customer referral - the parents.
3) Massive deficiencies across the board. This could be anything from vitamin / mineral deficiencies to macronutrient (water, protein, fat) deficiencies, resulting in behavioral problems and an entire spectrum of neurological problems such as ADD, autoimmune issues, skin issues, digestive problems, psychosis and more.
4) Overload of toxins. Coupled with deficiencies this creates the basis of the actual problem. Toxins are unavoidable in this era. They are literally anywhere, at home and at school and everywhere in between.
This isn't meant to scare, just to educate briefly about the problem, which is MALNOURISHMENT. Malnourishment is the single biggest problem with nutrition in this country today. Many would argue otherwise, claiming the mind-reeling explosion of overweight and associated diseases...however, the newest science, the absolute cutting-edge of nutritional science, is already WELL AWARE that we are not getting what we need. Coupled with an equally staggering rise in toxins, from nano-particles of metals in the air we breathe and the food we eat, to synthetic chemicals used all across the world like household cleaners, detergents, antimicrobial hand soaps, all the way to direct toxin intake such as "smog" in inner cities, second hand cigarette smoke, and any by products of industry we come across.
The toxins are unavoidable for our kids, but proper nutrition is not, and getting these vital nutrients is exactly what these children need to develop a strong brain, immune system and digestive tract, all recipes for a disease-free life.
Simply put, malnourishment in the presence of excessive toxicity will always manifest in some sort of disease whether its physical or behavioral.
Enough ranting, here's what your child most likely needs MORE of in their diet:
- Omega 3 fatty acids. Some 2/3 of the brain is comprised of these fatty acids and developing brains in children require even more! Look for quality wild-caught fish sources like salmon, sardines, and tuna. Supplements are available as well. Keep in mind that proper neurological and nerve health requires these fatty acids for the creation of myelin sheaths, which coat nerve cells and act as insulators. Nerve Pain? Check the omega 3s.
- Bone factors like calcium, magnesium and vitamin D3. Growing bodies with raging metabolism require frequent bone growth cycles. Calcium carbonate alone is a bad choice and is poorly absorbed, unless coupled with calcium citrate. Most cheap vitamin sources will not absorb properly. Also, magnesium is needed for proper absorption of calcium and to prevent leaching. Calcium can be leached from bones through acidic drinks like soda, which is just one more reason to avoid this useless and corrosive beverage.
- Quality protein. Protein needs are always higher for growing kids, especially athletic teenagers who are literally churning through calories and nutrients. Growing alone is taxing, much less playing intense sports which kids are prone to do. If your kid is always tired, it may be good to get more quality protein throughout the day especially at breakfast. Aim for at least 15 gram of protein at each sitting, but 20-30 grams is probably safer. There is no need to cram unnecessary amounts of chicken down the kid's throat, simply note how much protein your child is getting daily through either visually monitoring the meals and taking mental notes or just asking them what they ate. A few food journals, although someone of a pain, could change a child's habits for a lifetime.
- Water. 70% of grown adults are walking around dehydrated at any given time. Kids need even more. This is crucial, an absolute basic that everyone should follow. Water is not only needed for energy production but acts as a detoxification agent (the solution to pollution is dilution) and a heat moderator...water can act like engine coolant. Overheating is not good for a growing body, and can be the solution to sluggish metabolism, skin and eye issues and basically everything else in the human body. There are other beverages that hydrate but things like energy drinks and soda will actually dehydrate the body.
- Antioxidants. There are far too many to name here. Some are essential, some are not but act as "boosters" that help the immune system do its job. Eating ORGANIC fruits and vegetables in plentitude and diversity is a good way to get your antioxidant needs. Vitamin C and B12 are crucial, as are more advanced nutrients like cyanocobalamin, nitric oxide and coenzyme-Q10, all of which are "super" antioxidants in that they not only scavenge free radicals but also revive used antioxidants and therefore help to replenish the antioxidant "pool" that is constantly drying up as we fight off all the problems we've stated.
- Pre/Pro-biotics. Prolific use of antibacterials, hand sanitizers and the pesticides/herbacides/larvacides/fungacides and every other "cide" in and on our foods and bodies destroys our immune system along with the massive gluttonous dose of vaccines injected directly past the immune system into the bloodstream. This wreaks havoc on the microbiome which then extends to literally every area of the body from the skin to the heart and brain. Behavioral problems in children have been identified alongside a dysfunctional microbiome for decades, but in the age of prolific and frankly disturbing amounts of toxins that attack bacteria that we need directly, the problem is now manifest in an entire generation riddled with cognitive-behavioral problems from ADHD to autism. Use things like fermented foods and "pickled" vegetables lavishly, as in daily, to heal the gut of our children. Prebiotics and supplements are also available, as are digestive healing substances like apple cider vinegar and lemon juice. Use all of these without remorse as it is very difficult to overeat these foods naturally (just try to stuff yourself on pickled vegetables and vinegar).
It cannot be overstated how important nutrition is not only for a properly developed brain free of behavioral issues, but also for every system as a whole!