As parents, we try our best to help and teach our children how to lead healthy lives. The reality, however, is much more complicated. Beyond eating healthy and exercising, we also have to be cognizant of toxins in our modern world— something our parents and the generations before them were not worried about. Exposure to toxins occurs daily, whether we like it or not. Even if you control what happens at your own house, it’s impossible to control what goes on in public places, schools, or friend’s houses. Although “toxins” seems like an ambiguous catchall term, it refers to any substance that can be harmful to living cells or organisms and the threat is real. Nearly 50% of children experience some form of a chronic health condition. Things like skin rashes, anxiety disorders, ADHD, and even allergies have all been connected to various organic and inorganic toxins. As parents, we’ll never be able to eliminate all toxins, but we can attempt limiting exposure to toxins in our children’s’ life. Their immune systems and defenses are still developing, so they are even more susceptible to toxins than adults.
How can we limit Exposure to Toxins?
The first step is keeping an eye on product labels. Many items we take for granted and buy every day like toys, linens, and cleaning products, can all contain harmful substances. Look into buying hypoallergenic or non-toxic products.
Likewise, air and water purifiers are helpful in eliminating toxins that go into our bodies without us realizing. Consider the foods you purchase. If budget permits, buy organicfruits and vegetables, and avoid processed foods or prepackaged meals.
Do I really need to Detoxify my Children?
If we’re not careful, it’s all too easy to go overboard with hunting down and eliminating toxins. Trying to keep a measured level of detoxification is the goal. Don’t be too overzealous with children that are healthy, and don’t suffer from chronic disease. Many parent’s think they need to start with elimination diets and then add foods back in, but children should not go on cleanses or fasts. Too strict of a regimen can be harmful to a growing child. If your child is having a reaction to something, the chemical or substance must be identified, but before eliminating everything and going down a potentially dangerous path, consult with a doctor first.
An Example of a Great Diet for Kids
As mentioned, a healthy diet plays a role in all aspect of our health and should include organic, plant-based foods. Plant based types of foods tend to be high in fiber and very nutrient-dense.
When you create this type of diet, you are supporting your kid’s digestive and immune systems. When these systems are robust, kids do a great job of detoxing on their own.
When making the shopping list, include plenty of colorful vegetables and fruits. Foods like these contain tremendous amounts of phytonutrients. These nutrients create the support system your kids need.
Trying to get your kids to eat these types of foods can be a challenge as we all know. The younger our kids, the pickier their habits. The good news is that they do not need vast amounts of these foods. A small serving of these foods can make a huge difference in their health.
Another staple of a proper detoxification diet is protein. Protein contains abundant amino acids. These amino acids will bind to the toxins and carry them out of your kid’s bodies. The protein in their diet will also stabilize their blood sugar. This balance will keep them feeling full longer and stabilize their energy levels.
Finding Problem Foods
One roadblock in the elimination of toxins for your kids may be foods causing unfavorable effects. When food has an adverse reaction, it can decrease immune and digestive health. This change can easily lead to chronic illness in your kids if not appropriately treated.
Some of the biggest culprits are sugar, wheat, and dairy. With kids, sugar can be the toughest to eliminate. Trying to find healthy alternatives can be a challenge when trying to satisfy their sweet tooth. A generous helping of sweet fruits can often do the trick. The younger your start kids on this alternative, the better for them and you.
It is essential not to make any sudden or monumental changes to kid’s diets. They will not welcome the change and it may shock their internal systems as well. When making any significant changes to their diet, it is best to consult a nutritionist. A conversation with your child’s pediatrician may also be in order.
Help your Children stick to a Healthy Sleep Routine
Make no mistake that just like adults, kids get stressed too. While everything may seem like it’s smooth sailing, school, friends, and family can all stress out kids.
Stress serves to suppress the immune system. The taxing effect of stress can be just as harmful as any physical toxin. When the body is run down physically or mentally, it has a harder time eliminating toxins.
A proper amount of sleep is important for kids. It is even more vital than it is for adults. Young kids need anywhere from 10-12 hours of sleep per day. If your kids are beyond naps, they still need to get that rest at night.
Make sure you are practicing a good bedtime routine. Try to get kids to “wind down” before they actually hit the sack. Lying in bed wide awake when they should be sleeping is a sure-fire way not to get the proper amount of sleep.
You need to stay Consistent
When it comes to limiting exposure to toxins in your kid’s lives, there is no finish line. It is a daily discipline of making good choices for them. It also involves teaching them to make the same good choices.
Always be mindful of the things you can control. Make sure their sleep is adequate and make sure their diet is proper. Pay attention to the items in your home that may be causing problems. Be especially vigilant in their rooms where they spend so much of their lives.
Doug Cromston is a writer for Senior Planning. Senior Planning is a free service designed to help seniors apply for state and federal benefits or find the long-term care they need.