Heart Health Begins in Childhood

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More American adults than ever before are struggling with obesity and diabetes. If this is any indication of the future for our children, our nation is in real trouble.  One in 5 youths have some form of high cholesterol, with a higher prevalence in girls than boys.  While our children are still under our roofs we have the unique opportunity to teach them healthy eating habits in two ways: providing only healthy snacks at home and eating only healthy foods ourselves.

Skip the Sugar, altogether whenever possible:

Sugar and simple carbs (anything made from a ground grain, including corn) raise blood glucose levels.  Our bodies, always in preparation for starvation, store excess  glucose as fat (triglycerides).  Over time, high triglyceride levels elevate other forms of cholesterol, thus creating the beginnings of deposition of fatty streaks in arteries and insulin resistance, the precursor to diabetes.

How much sugar is ok? Naturally occurring sugar in fruit is not free sugar and is ok to eat. Otherwise, follow the guidelines below:

    • Adults max 30g of free sugar a day, (roughly equivalent to 7 sugar cubes).
    • Children aged 7 to 10  no more than 24g of free sugars a day (6 sugar cubes).
    • Children aged 4 to 6 have no more than 19g of free sugars a day (5 sugar cubes).
    • Toddlers and young children do not need anything more than fruit or honey as a sweetener in daily life.  REALLY avoid those sweetened drinks and sodas.  You will find they are better behaved and happier generally because they don’t feel out of control from sugar highs.

What sugars are best? Honey & maple syrup have minerals and vitamins other things don’t.

Healthy Fats will NOT make you fat, sugar will:

Healthy fats protect the brain and nervous system. They are also the backbone of all our sterol hormones and the lining of every cell in our bodies.  Children’s brains are growing exponentially faster than adults, so their need for healthy fats is higher.  Including healthy fat in every meal and snack will ensure stabilization of blood sugar, leaving our kids feeling satisfied after eating with great energy to play and learn. Here is a simple healthy fat guide:

Oils to Eat Daily

    • Avocado & avocado oil
    • Coconut products (Not to be confused with palm)
    • Fish (smaller fish accumulate less toxicity because their lifespan is shorter)
    • Dairy products from healthy animals; avoid low fat & fat-free products.
    • Meats – healthy animals = healthy fat ratios = healthy hearts.
      • Grass fed/grass finished beef
    • Nuts & Seeds are full of healthy Omega’s
    • Eggs from healthy chickens who ate bugs and worms,  got sunshine daily and exercise as they would naturally in nature.

Oils to avoid:

    • Canola
    • Trans-fats and hydrogenated oils,
    • Foods that are fried, especially deep-fried
    • Shortening
    • Margarine
    • Fats from diabetic or unhealthy animals that were likely corn fed to fatten them up at the end of life.

Avoiding unhealthy fats and an abundance of added sugars can save your children from a lifetime of health issues including diabetes, obesity, arterial plaque and inflammation.  Children who eat healthy balanced diets have stronger immune systems, greater emotional stability, learn more effectively, behave better, and have more energy for healthy outlets.

 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2812791/

What is the recommended daily sugar intake?

 

Naturopathic Kids Corner

by Dr. Erin Victor

winter kids backgroundsImmune Health through the Winter Months

It is normal for children to get sick 2-3x a year, which helps develop their immune competence.  It is abnormal for children to get sick more often or for them to be chronically ill with colds, ear infections, strep throat, post nasal drip/runny noses etc.

When a child is consistently sick, we need to look deeper to discover the underlying obstacles that are draining the child’s ability to mount a sufficient immune response to overcome the infection fully.

Here are a few wonderful tools you can try to help strengthen your child’s immune function beyond the basics of washing hands & avoidance:

  • Vitamin D3 – In a cold climate like Flagstaff, vitamin D absorption is at an all-time low for kids and adults alike.  Consider adding this powerful vitamin to your child’s daily regime to improve immune function and prevent future illness.  As with any vitamin or mineral, check weight ranges to find the right dose for your child.
  • Elderberry syrup – Rich in antioxidants, anthocyanidins and vitamin C, this delicious syrup proves itself repeatedly in stimulating antiviral immunity and supporting a healthy immune response.  Dosing for prevention is typically 1/2 tsp daily in children over 2 years old.  In sickness, 1 tsp 3x daily to aid the immune fight.
  • Probiotics – Invite in the healthy flora to keep the “bad bugs” from finding a foothold.  Healthy flora should abundantly line the respiratory, GI and urinary tracts.  In children who have had multiple antibiotic rounds or a high stress environment, it is difficult for their systems to reestablish normal flora levels.  Probiotics are a simple & inexpensive way to rebalance the most profound areas of immune function.
    • Make sure you get a product that contains bacteria in the billions and has two or more varieties of microbes.  To test whether the microbes are alive, open a capsule in a small amount of milk overnight in a warm place.  If it is not curdled in the morning, the microbes are dead.  Take it back to the store.
  • Sugar avoidance – Did you know that 1 serving of sugar inhibits immune function for up to 4-6 hours after ingestion?  Imagine that happening at a birthday party, church function or at school during lunch when your child’s immunity is most at risk for exposure.  Avoid sugar and corn syrup in favor of fruit and even dried fruits, which are just as sweet and lack the immune inhibition side effects.

We have many other tools and informative laboratory tests that can assist in digging deeper if your child is not responding to basic immune support.  Contact a naturopathic doctor in your area to identify potential immune draining obstacles in your child’s life.

*As with any medication or vitamin supplement, check with your doctor to make sure this treatment is appropriate for your child’s specific condition.

 

First Friday Doc Talk

Join us on the first Friday of each month! We have in-person presentations on various health topics at 5 p.m. at the clinic.

Healthy food in heart diet concept with stethoscope

Friday, February 7th

5:00 p.m. 1 in 3 women in Flagstaff have or will develop heart disease this year.  Learn how you can prevent it with Dr. Emily Davenport’s talk Heart Health & Hormones.​​

5:30 p.m. WINE: Clean-Crafted vs. Mass Produced with Nicole Halverson

  • Wine Tasting – with Nicole from Scout & Cellar, producers of organic,Wine Tasting  biodynamic wines that are free from added chemicals, sugars, and vegan wines. Scout & Cellar Wine Web Link
  • Click to RSVP if you want to attend the wine tasting.

D: The Once Toxic Vitamin

VitaminD Deficiency vector

By Dr. Emily Davenport

Right around the time I was entering medical school Vitamin D went from being a nasty nutrient to becoming one of the most important supplements you can take. While it is true that too much Vitamin D can be toxic, researchers have shown that we can prevent 1 million deaths worldwide just by increasing D3 in our bodies.

Having checked Vitamin D levels on a few thousand patients, I have seen only four normal readings.  Everyone else was sorely depleted. Vitamin D deficiency is an epidemic.  Proper testing is imperative since the only way to know what dose is right for you is to check your levels to get a baseline, again after starting a regimen of D3, and frequently thereafter. The need and dosage vary greatly from person to person. I have seen a girl who only needed 400 IU and a gentleman who needed as much as 20,000 IU per day, and everything in between. It is also important not to follow guidelines provided by the lab that suggest we should all be above 20 or 30 ng/ml since the research shows that 40 ng/ml is the minimum and that 60-80 ng/ml is ideal.

Getting enough Vitamin D in the winter is more difficult.  The days are shorter so we are exposed to less sunshine, the source of some of our Vitamin D.  Often people will have to increase their dosage in the winter months to receive the long list of benefits of D, including cancer and heart disease prevention.  This lower level of D3 could also be the culprit for seasonal affective disorder, or S.A.D.  Studies have shown that people with lower D3 are eleven times more prone to be depressed.

We do the proper and thorough testing at Flagstaff Clinic of Naturopathic Medicine.  If you are concerned about your vitamin D  please schedule an appointment.