Earlier this week, we looked at what vitamins and minerals are needed for a child and teen to maximize their peak bone mass. The other critical aspect of building bone health at a young age is exercise. Here are some quick tips related to that:
+Weight-bearing exercise stimulates bones and makes them grow stronger.
+Some of the best exercises a kid can do for their bones are running, dancing, gymnastics, climbing, hiking, tennis, basketball, skateboarding, volleyball, soccer, and weight training.
+Activities such as swimming and biking are good cardio, but don’t do much for strengthening bones since they aren’t weight-bearing.
So we’ve looked at the things kids and teens SHOULD do to help build bones that will last a lifetime, now let’s take a look at things that interfere with bone development that they need to avoid:
-smoking and drinking
-excessive dieting and eating disorders (these can cause hormonal imbalances)
-absent or missed periods
-Corticosteroids (typically for asthma) and anticonvulsant medications, if possible
We usually think of bone mass issues as something that affects older people. While that’s usually true, the time to “invest” in bone health is when you’re young in order to avoid future issues. Children build 40% of their bone mass between the ages of 9-14 and reach 90% of their peak bone mass by age 18 for boys and 20 for girls. The younger years are critical! Here are the main nutrients to look for to build strong bones:
•Calcium - Great sources of calcium are dairy products, almonds, broccoli, kale, figs, and calcium-fortified foods such as cereals.
•Vitamin D - While you can absorb Vitamin D from the sun, it usually doesn’t provide you with enough, and can have harmful effects on your body. Foods that can help are egg yolks, salmon, and tuna as well as fortified foods such as orange juice and milk.
•Magnesium - For this mineral, think avocados, peanut butter, black beans, spinach, and almonds.
•Vitamin K - You can find lots of this vitamin in leafy greens such as kale, cabbage, spinach, and broccoli. Peas and green beans are also good sources.
As you can see, a healthy diet plays a huge part in a child’s bone health. Check back later this week as we look at other ways to boost bone health even further and things to avoid that may harm their growth.
Snacks are a way of life in most houses. All ages from preschool to teenagers to adults will need some nourishment between meals from time to time. Snacks can help you feel more in control and have a steady source of energy between full meals. Here are some quick tips for smart snacking in your family:
•Have a set area for snacking - This helps to be aware of how much you’re eating and focus on the food, instead of being distracted by something else and eating while zoned out.
•Snacks aren’t meals - Healthy snacks should be between 200-300 calories to be satisfying, but not too large.
•Eat off a plate or bowl - Avoid sitting down with an entire box/bag of something since it can be hard to tell how much you’ve had. Instead portion your snack out on a plate and then go for it.
•Pick protein and fiber - Snacks with protein and fiber will help satisfy you more and keep you feeling full longer, among other benefits.
•Be ready - Having healthy and portioned snacks ready to go will keep you from rage-eating a barrage of different foods that may not have been great choices.
•High/Low Combo - Combine a small amount of something that’s high in healthy fats such as peanut butter or avocado, with a larger amount of something light such as carrots or celery.
Carbonated/sparkling water is currently enjoying a big boost in popularity. Drinks like LaCroix, Bubly, Topo Chico, and San Pellegrino are helping people cut sodas out of their lives. They’re calorie free, naturally flavored, and give you that sharp and bubbly bite without all the bad stuff that comes along with soda.
•It’s just as hydrating as water.
•Carbonation doesn’t add calories.
•It doesn’t leach calcium from your bones. This rumor got started from a study showing that cola affects bone density, but this study wasn’t looking at sparkling water. Later studies showed that neither the water nor carbonation had any impact on bones.
•Sparkling mineral water usually contains more minerals than still/flat water, but this varies by location.
•Some varieties of carbonated water such as club soda have small amounts of sodium (3% DV).
•Carbonic acid (a byproduct of water and carbon gas) gives carbonated water its slightly tangy taste. The acid is weak though, and so is the impact on your teeth. Flavors of the citrus variety may also have increased acids, but it was found they’re no more acidic than fruit juice.
•Carbonated water will fill you up faster, which may keep you from drinking as much water as you need to stay fully hydrated.
So the biggest negatives found in sparkling water are that the bubbles will fill you up faster than flat water and acids may be higher than flat water, but still not bad. It’s still a great choice instead of sugary sodas. Be on the lookout for ones that add sweeteners (and also calories) though, and make sure to also drink plenty of regular flat water.
Massage is a form of healing therapy that’s been around for thousands of years and provides the recipient with both physical and mental benefits. There are many different types of massage techniques that have developed over time such as Swedish, deep tissue, reflexology, sports, and acupressure. Here are some of the proven benefits of treating yourself to a massage:
•Pain relief - The massage therapist can focus on specific areas that cause you problems and help reduce stiffness, inflammation, and chronic pain. Massage can provide relief for anything from a sports-related injury to arthritis to Fibromyalgia.
•Relaxation and hormonal balance - Being tense and stressed leads to high levels of a stress hormone called cortisol. High levels of cortisol can lead to weight gain, indigestion, headaches, and sleeplessness. Massage has been shown to reduce cortisol levels and increase serotonin in the body and improve mood.
•Immune system support - Massage stimulates increased bloodflow in your body, which also helps to circulate sickness-fighting white blood cells.
•Time-out - If you’re constantly putting the needs of others first and yourself last, scheduling a regular massage is a great way to block out some “me time” and get away from your responsibilities for a bit.
•Brain-power boost - A study found that those who received a 15-minute chair massage twice a week had increased levels of alertness and increased speed and accuracy at solving math problems.
•Lowers high blood pressure - Another study found that those who get regular massages had lower mean systolic and diastolic blood pressure readings than those who didn’t.
Ezekiel bread is another name for a type of bread known as “sprouted grain”. It’s made from a combination of organic whole grains including wheat, millet, barley, spelt, and legumes such as soybeans and lentils but contains no flour. It’s gained massively popularity because it’s much higher in nutrients and processed less than most other breads. Here are some other reasons this type of bread is great:
🍞Higher in protein - 4g per slice, which is double the amount of white bread
🍞Complete source of plant-based protein - this means it has all the essential amino acids your body needs but contains no eggs or dairy
🍞High in fiber - 3g per slice compared to 0.7g found in white bread
🍞No added sugars, preservatives, or artificial ingredients - there’s nothing in the ingredients list you can’t pronounce
🍞Easier to digest - the sprouting process of the grains makes it easier for your body to process them and increases the absorption of their nutrients
🍞Low-glycemic - it’s been awarded the Diabetic Friendly Seal by The Glycemic Research Institute and doesn’t cause the sugar spike that most breads do
🍞More satisfying - the high amounts of fiber make this bread more satisfying per slice
Just remember that while Ezekiel/sprouted grain bread is more nutritious than other types of bread, it still contains carbs and calories and needs to be balanced with other whole foods.