(NC) The sheer variety of natural health products available is overwhelming. What should a busy mom take? What is best for her active husband? And how can you make sure your picky little eaters get all the nutrients they need? These are common questions for many families, and Lianne Phillipson-Webb, a nutritionist, author, and mother herself, has some helpful answers.
As a busy mom of two, Lianne says she understands how important good nutrition is. “I truly believe good health starts early and must include the entire family. Kids are extremely busy, parents are stressed-out and starved for time, and as a result, a healthy diet and good nutrition can easily take the back seat,” she begins. “Our constant on-the-go lifestyles make fast, pre-packaged and processed foods the staple for many households and, unfortunately, these foods lack the nutrition necessary for growing bodies and active adults.”
To help, Lianne points out the top four natural health products that are safe and beneficial to everyone in the family:
1. Omega-3s are extremely important because the human body cannot produce them, so we have to obtain them from foods or supplementation. Studies have shown that Omega-3s have many benefits, including improving cardiovascular health and cognitive development, reducing inflammation and stabilizing mood. Foods high in omega-3 include flax seeds, walnuts, salmon and sardines. Since these are not typically favourites for most kids, you may want to talk to your healthcare practitioner about supplementation.
2. Multivitamins are great because they are an affordable “insurance policy” for the entire family. Formany families on the go, a side of vegetables is not usually served at the drive thru. Some days the only fruit your kids may get is a glass of orange juice, which is still packed with a sugary punch. If you can’t remember the last time your family sat down together for a meal or if your kids would rather clean their rooms than eat fresh fruit or vegetables, you may want to consider a multivitamin to fill any nutritional gaps.
3. Probiotics help to balance our digestive tract, which is important because a healthy digestive tract is able to eliminate harmful bacteria, toxins and other waste products. When we make poor food choices, suffer from chronic stress and are exposed to environmental toxins, the balance in favour of good bacteria can shift, causing a variety of problems including a decreased immune system. Even if you eat well, probiotics can have many other benefits for optimal health.
4. Vitamin D is needed for healthy bones and muscles, especially in children and the elderly. There is growing evidence that vitamin D may reduce the risk of some types of cancer, particularly colorectal and breast cancers. You can get vitamin D from exposure to sunlight, in your diet (especially if you eat foods fortified with vitamin D), or by taking vitamin supplements. In Canada, from late October to March, the sun’s rays are not strong enough to produce Vitamin D in our skin, and as a result most of us are deficient in the “sunshine vitamin”. That is why the Canadian Cancer Society recommends adults talk with their doctor and consider taking a vitamin D supplement during the fall and winter months.
Finally it’s important to remember, says Lianne: “Each family is unique with different needs, which is why it’s always recommended to talk to your health care practitioner before adding any new supplements to your family’s regime.” Additional tips to keep the whole family growing and going can be found online at chfa.ca.