Topic summary contributed by volunteer(s): Selena
Only 1 in 500 children eats the equivalent of a single leaf of Romaine lettuce a day. Most doctors are not adequately educated about nutrition to be capable of giving helpful advice to parents, who have been found to overestimate the quality of their child’s diet. Increasing children’s intake of whole fruits and vegetables can help prevent and manage the following childhood diseases: asthma, atherosclerosis, obesity, and pre-diabetes. Recent studies support several approaches for getting children to eat healthier foods in social settings and at home.
Dairy consumption is strongly linked to constipation in children, as is low intake of whole plant foods. Many packaged foods contain artificial dyes that have been associated with hyperactivity in children. Aluminium has been tentatively linked to brain ailments, including Alzheimer’s; children’s main dietary exposure to aluminium is cheese and shellfish. Some teas may contain high levels of aluminium, and children should be discouraged from drinking more than one quart per day.
IGF-1, a hormone found in all animal products, may be a powerful tumor-promoting agent and is associated with early onset of puberty and obesity. Xenoestrogens are associated with birth defects, preterm birth, neurobehavioral disorders, thyroid disorders, obesity, allergies, and early onset of puberty. Higher intake of soy products is associated with later onset of puberty.
The processing and packaging of meat products introduce harmful compounds, including ammonia, arsenic, and nitrites, the last of which have been shown to increase the risk of childhood leukemia and brain tumors. Fecal bacteria transferred during the butchering process often contaminate meat. Even placing children in shopping carts with raw meat may be sufficient to infect them. One strain of E.Coli can create a toxin that causes acute kidney failure in children. Poultry may harbor an adenovirus suspected to promote obesity in infected children.
Children are more susceptible than adults to mercury poisoning, which comes mainly from fish intake. Potential damage may include: microcephaly, delayed development, delayed cognition, and gross neurological disorders. This may partially explain the finding that vegan and vegetarian children have, on average, higher IQs.
Industrial pollutants—possibly found in animal products such as fish oil supplements—are linked with thyroid disease, liver disease, cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, neuronal birth defects and endometriosis and may have detrimental effects on endocrine function and impair sexual development in boys. Pesticides have been linked to birth defects, neuronal deficiencies, behavioral problems, decreased IQ, leukemia and brain tumors.
Other research findings:
- Even slight dehydration can negatively influence attention and cognitive performance in children.
- Excessive tea consumption can lead to fluorosis.
- Having a pet in the home is linked to a decrease in respiratory infections, ear infections, and gastroenteritis in children.
- Regular brushing of teeth appears to counteract the increased risk of cavity formation from fruit and fruit juice consumption.
- Probiotics may decrease total illness in children and may effectively treat antibiotic induced diarrhea.
- Limited ingestion of poppy seeds helps prevent opiate effects.
- Gargling with tap water or green tea may help prevent the common cold.
Image Credit: Pixabay. This image has been modified.
Popular Videos for Children
All Videos for Children
Dietary Supplements for Autism
Vitamin C, vitamin D, and omega-3 fish oil supplements put to the test to improve the core symptoms of autism spectrum disorder.
Does Tea Tree Oil Have Hormonal Side Effects?
Do the estrogenic effects of tea tree oil get absorbed through the skin?
Is Tea Tree Oil Safe?
The caveats for tea tree oil use, including tips on safe storage.
Is Henna Safe?
The risk of lead and PPD contamination of red and black henna.
Are Melatonin Supplements Safe?
Over-the-counter melatonin (“anti-gonad hormone”) supplements tend not to contain what they say they do, and the contaminants could be dangerous.
Benefits of Blueberries for the Brain
Blueberries can significantly improve cognitive performance within hours of consumption.
Is Organic Meat Less Carcinogenic?
Researchers tested 76 samples of different kinds of meat, both organic and conventional, for 33 different carcinogens.
Carcinogens in Meat
Eight preparation methods to reduce exposure to carcinogens in cooked meat.
The Role of the Gut Microbiome in Autism
What role do antibiotics play in the development and treatment of autism spectrum disorder?
Foods to Improve Athletic Performance & Recovery
The effects of spinach and berries on oxidative stress, inflammation, and muscle soreness in athletes.
Will Cannabis Turn into Big Tobacco?
There are some serious public health concerns about the legalization of marijuana, but they are probably not what you might expect.
Are Sports Drinks Safe & Effective?
Commercial influences may have corrupted American College of Sports Medicine hydration guidelines.