Friday, September 21, 2012

Getting Kids Focused

After spending today in several elementary schools, and experiencing how difficult it can be for teachers and myself to hold their attention, it brought me back to a fairly debated topic. How much does diet play a role in our ability, and especially our children’s ability to focus and hold their attention? There are several possible triggers that we should be aware of that can make a big difference. 

Sugar is number one on this list and should be avoided at all cost when kids are growing up. These are critical years when young people are establishing number of fat cells and metabolic rates based on diets and activity levels. White flour, preservatives, artificial flavors and colors should also be avoided. 

Special attention on what labels are reporting and if there are numerous ingredients, and especially if the ingredients are words that are not recognizable then it is better left on the shelf. 

These items on this list can contribute to an array of imbalances in the digestive system such as the inability to properly digest food. When this occurs there is the chance that large undigested molecules can enter the blood stream through the intestines and lead to allergies and inflammation in the body. Sugar is a double-edged sword in that it requires extra nutrients to deal with it and it can also block nutrients from being properly absorbed. 

One option is to use a Rotation Diet to find out which foods a child may be sensitive to and then they may be foods that can be avoided entirely for a period of time. During this time your body has a chance to heal from inflammation caused by the food or foods that are causing the allergy or food sensitivity. 

Often foods that you eat often or tend to “love” are often the same foods that are not being broken down properly. Here is a list of common allergy culprits:
1. Dairy products 
2.  Wheat products, which includes wheat, oats, and barley. 
3.  Meat, fish, or poultry 
4.  Oranges 
5.  Chocolate 
6.  Refined sugars, which include white table sugar, brown sugar, cane sugar, beet sugar, and honey. 
7.  White flour or anything made with white flour 
8.  Corn 
9.  Potatoes 
10. Eggs 
11. Soy

In addition to eliminating foods from the diet it is important to increase certain nutrients. One important one I would suggest is essential fatty acids such as omega 3. 

The time you should eliminate a food or foods from your child’s diet anywhere from 4-6 weeks or until you notice the symptoms have lessened. 

When it is time to try a food again, only introduce one food item at a time. Wait 1-2 days before doing this again with another food item. Sugar and white flour should always be avoided, as there are no health benefits to them. 

As close to a whole diet as possible should be followed by the whole family and especially when a child has difficulty with paying attention or concentrating, the diet should be a main focus. 

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