According to a statistic sourced from the Indian Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism, around 7-8 percent of children in India are obese. Children today are eating far more processed and junk foods than they were eating 20 or 30 years back. And being overweight is just one part of the story; another being weak immunity and more prone to lifestyle diseases. Today we see so many patients as young adults in their late 20s or early 30s suffering from pre-diabetes, thyroid, PCOD, fatty liver or high blood pressure.
We need to realise that lifestyle diseases never happen overnight and it is years of our habits and lifestyle that play a vital role in determining whether or not we will get lifestyle diseases. Hence, the foundation of our good health and immunity lies in what we do during those early years of our life. We need to focus on the right growth of our kids in all aspects from physical, mental, emotional and also spiritual. Today we have all the superfoods and technology around us, but still more kids are suffering from many lifestyle issues like asthma, overweight, high blood pressure, low immunity, PCOD, fatty liver and many lifestyle issues. And it is time for us to look at the habits and foods our kids are eating. Today, I am going to share five must-do habits that we need to ensure our kids incorporate on a daily basis.
1. Seasonal fruits
It is vital to have fruits on a daily basis. Fruits contain tons of important vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that feed the right nutrition to each and every trillion cells in our body. A large study conducted by Melinda Gates Foundation showed that the number one risk factor for long term disease is less intake of fruits. Hence, we need to ensure that our kids are eating at least two-three fruits in a day and best is to focus on seasonal ones. Apart from seasonal, I would also like to specifically mention about including ripe papaya and/or pomegranate. Ripe papaya is one of the fruits which has maximum digestive enzymes that are good for gut bacteria and after all 85% of our immunity lies in our gut. While pomegranate is one of the super fruits when it comes to immunity. Try and include them in your daily routine of consuming fruits.
2. Nuts & seeds
Filled with tons of health benefits and nutrients, nuts and seeds have to be an essential part of their daily eating habits. Right from almonds, walnuts to chia seeds, flax seeds and pumpkin seeds, they indeed are superfoods when it comes to good growth and building immunity. Nuts and seeds are also very high in Omega-3, an essential nutrient that most people are deficient in. Because of consumption of deep fried and processed foods, people generally end up eating more of Omega 6 and do not maintain a good balance of Omega 3 and 6, which leads to inflammation which in turn leads to high risks for many lifestyle diseases.
If I had to name top three superfoods for building immunity and protecting us from lifestyle diseases, drumstick would be one of the three. It contains many bioactive plant compounds which helps purify blood, removing toxins from our body, fighting inflammation, reducing blood sugar and extra fats from our cells, building stronger bones and many more health benefits. Ensure to add this superfood in any soup or daal that we are giving to our kids.
4. Bowl of raw veggies
One of nature’s medicine is phyto-nutrients, that is, more and more natural colours that we get from plant foods. Before lunch and dinner, when we eat a bowl of salad that contains red, yellow, green bell peppers, carrot, beetroot, broccoli, then we are adding more and more colours on our plate which is giving us tons and tons of health benefits. Ensure to add a bowl of salad before both their main meals. You can choose seasonal vegetables and what they like more, but try to add more different colours.
5. Minimise three evils
Last, but equally important is to minimise three evils from their life and to ensure that they are not consuming this on a day to day. And those evils are (a) deep fried foods (like samosa, kachori, chips and many more) that damage their liver and arteries, creating obesity and other health issues (b) processed and junk foods and (c) maida products like breads and noodles. As kids they will eat processed foods, but those have to be once in a while and not on a daily basis.
Here we are talking about the foundation of their good health and immunity, hence what we do on a day to day basis becomes vital. Once we have got these five habits incorporated into their daily lives, we will see gradual and positive changes in their overall health, growth and immunity. What better gift can we give to our kids than helping them build habits that can ensure them to be healthy and disease free for life.
(Karan Kakkad is an international Nutrigenomics & Disease Reversal expert based in India. He is the Founder & CEO of Reverse Factor. To know more visit: www.reversefactor.in)