The Essentials to Reducing Belly Fat & Weight Loss
Foods Should Provide More Than Calories
Foods provide more than calories. Keep this in mind when you’re shopping and preparing meals for your children. This chapter will provide you with the basic information and foundation to help you teach your children to eat healthy and keep physically active. Children don’t usually stop to think why they eat food and drink water—they just respond to their hunger. Yet to maintain their health, they definitely need to know about the foods they eat.
Eating nourishing food each day is necessary for your children to keep alive and healthy. Children may enjoy eating because of the way foods make them feel—it fills their basic needs and helps them feel happy and satisfied. Above all food provides energy that allows them to do work — eating, reading, walking, talking, laughing, playing and many more. But children are not always aware that foods provide more than calories.
Children who are well fed with balanced nutrition are happy and full of self-confidence, energy and stamina. In contrast, children who are malnourished are unhappy, depressed, have very little energy and appear to have low-self esteem. Balanced nutrition and regular physical activity are more critical in children than adults, because they are still growing and developing. For children to grow normally, they need to get enough protein, healthy fats, carbohydrates, sugar, fiber, water and other nutrients supporting overall health.
It may be shocking to learn that sugar is one of the nutrients that children need. Their bodies require sugar as a form of instant energy that keeps their blood sugar and insulin levels on even keel. The irony is that, sugar has such a powerful effect on their brains that many children could become addicted to it. When too much sugar is ingested in foods such as sweets and white flour products like bread and pasta, they are rapidly digested. Their bodies could become less sensitive to insulin – leading to insulin resistance, which triggers more inflammation throughout their bodies.
You can prevent insulin resistance in your kids by serving them items with low sugar content. For instance, offering your kids yogurts with low sugar—less than 10 grams per serving—instead of yogurt containing 20 grams per serving can provide them with the sugar that they need without risking insulin resistance. Another strategy is to provide kids with diet sodas that contain Splenda instead of regular sodas or diet sodas made with fructose or high fructose corn syrup, which are toxic and poisonous to the cells and tissues in the body.
Below are some basic nutritional information and tips that you will find very helpful in teaching your children a healthier lifestyle over the long-term:
Super Foods and Activities That Fight Inflammation
Vegetables and fruits are rich in nutrients and antioxidants that can help your children burn body fat and reduce inflammation. Encourage them to eat lots of mixed variety of deep-colored vegetables and fruits, including: spinach, red cabbage, romaine lettuce, broccoli, carrots and tomatoes. Colored fruits, like blueberries, strawberries and cranberries are rich sources of antioxidants that can neutralize free radicals that cause oxidative damage to cells and DNA. Keep in mind that the more colorful their plate, the better their meals in term of antioxidants and phytonutrients.
Non-Starchy Leafy Green Vegetables & Fruits (the foundation of meals)
· Non-starchy leafy green vegetables---romaine, arugula, spinach, broccoli, kale, collards, bok choy, cabbage, cauliflower, etc.
· Temperate fruits with low sugar and starch----blueberries, strawberries, cranberries, blackberries, apples, pears, plums, and peaches.
· Others---tomatoes, green teas, yellow squash, bell peppers, onions and garlic
· Acai berry has the highest amounts of super-antioxidant activity of any fruit or vegetable per gram- to- gram basis.
Serve Fatty Fish
Your child’s body and brain cells need enough healthy fats, such as the Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish, seafood and flaxseed oil. They help to make kids smart, focused and well behaved. Fish and seafood are also a source of good quality protein low in saturated fat found in meat, cheese and whole milk.
· Omega-3 fatty acids—fatty fish (salmon, tuna, tilapia, and sardines); flaxseed oil, walnuts and butternuts.
· Omega-3 fatty acids (contain anti-inflammatory & anti-antioxidant properties) – decrease craving and compulsive eating; increase metabolism and help burn body fat; increase blood circulation and energy; removes arterial plaque and maintain a healthy brain function. Typically, fight free radicals and reduce inflammation. Help reduce the symptoms of hyperactivity and irritability seen in children with ADHD.
Include Adequate Fiber
Perhaps the most important food source that is often inadequate in a child’s meal is fiber. In part, the deficiency in fiber consumption is due to the highly refined food products that are usually part of their meals, which are stripped of essential nutrients and fiber. Eating lots of non-starchy vegetables and fruits will give your children adequate fiber to help keep them full and satisfied between meals. It will also help to boost metabolism, and maintain a clean and healthy digestive track.
· Soluble fiber---from oats, oat bran, barley, beans (kidney beans, black beans, and chickpeas); apples, strawberries, orange; and vegetables like okra, broccoli, Brussels sprout, carrots, green beans and cactus.
· Insoluble fiber---from whole grains, oat bran, fruits, vegetables and nuts.
Serve Soy & Beans
Eating soy-based foods can help your child burn body fat and also maintain healthy muscle tissue. Soy provides a rich source of protein without the unhealthy fats found in meat, dairy and poultry. You can find many different soy products, made from soybeans in regular groceries and Asian markets. These include soymilk in different flavors, soy burgers and hot dogs, tofu, soy ice cream, soynuts, soybeans, and soy nut butter.
Soy also contain a chemical compound called isoflavones that has many health benefits---keeping blood sugar and insulin levels normal, which decrease risk of diabetes and high cholesterol. Like soy, beans are also a rich source of protein, and your child will get adequate amounts of fiber if you serve beans regularly.
Foods That Help With Digestion
Besides providing your children with foods that contain enough nutrients, antioxidants and healthy fats, it’s also important to include foods containing proteolytic enzymes. They help to breakdown toxic metabolic wastes products that can clog up the digestive track and produce inflammatory compounds. These enzymes are found in fruits, herbs and spices, such as ginger, garlic, chili peppers, cumin, curry, coriander, tumeric, pineapples and pomegranate juice, either fresh or in the form of the reduced juice from fresh pomegranate seeds called grenadine.
When kids eat foods containing proteolytic enzymes their bodies produce less inflammation, which can help reduce toxic body fat. On the other hand, when they eat more processed foods, like fast foods loaded with saturated fats and trans fats, it can increase the amount of inflammation in their bodies. That’s why it’s a good thing to serve foods high in proteolytic enzymes, in order to neutralize the inflammatory molecules, especially if your kids are eating fast foods regularly.
Fermented foods like yogurt and sauerkraut are good for your children by helping to keep their digestive track healthy. The “good” bacteria in these products can help to fight the “harmful” bacteria causing inflammation in their digestive tract, as well as irritate their intestinal lining---leading to increased fat absorption and storage promoting obesity. Inflammation of the digestive track is a very common problem that can cause heartburn, indigestion, bloating and other irritable bowel problems triggering more inflammation. Therefore, making sure that your children’s digestive system is working well is very important in fighting inflammation and obesity. The key point is that low quality foods can clog up the digestive system causing irritable bowel syndrome, inflammation and obesity. They can also dilute the beneficial effects of the high quality foods rich in nutrients and antioxidants fighting inflammation and obesity when consumed at the same time as the low quality foods.
Don’t Forget Water
It’s important for kids to drink enough water to maintain proper hydration. Encourage them to drink about seven to eight glasses of water daily to help keep their body well hydrated and healthy. Carbonated drinks and juices are not a substitute for water and often contain a high amount of sugar or fructose that may be harmful for your child.
This article was excerpted from:
New Prescription for Childhood Obesity
by Billy C Johnson, MD, PhD.
Reprinted with permission of the publisher, iUniverse. Copyright 2008. www.iuniverse.com