Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Advice for Parents

· Babies need fat to support optimal growth and development. Don’t put children under two years of age on a low fat diet.

· Speak to your pediatrician before excluding milk from your child’s diet. Rickets, poor bone formation caused by a deficiency of vitamin D, had disappeared after milk was fortified with this vitamin. According to a report in Pediatrics, rickets has recently been found in toddlers.

· If you are pregnant, the Institute of Medicine recommends avoidance of vitamin A or retinol-containing supplements during your first trimester.

· Pregnant women who do not show evidence of chronic disease or abuse of drugs, alcohol or tobacco, and who are carrying a single fetus, do not require prenatal vitamin/mineral supplements, according to the Institute of Medicine.

· For children, calcium-fortified juices cannot replace milk as they lack other nutrients present in breast milk, formula, or cow's milk.

· Fruit juice in moderation is fine. Excessive juice consumption has been linked to both overweight and poor nutritional status in children.

· Do not take herbs if you are planning to become pregnant. Most herbs have a warning label.

· A positive emotional state at an early age may help ward off disease and even prolong life, according to research from a 15-year study of aging and Alzheimer's disease in nuns.

· Pregnant women need to increase their folate intake to 600 micrograms per day: 400 micrograms from fortified foods and the remaining 200 micrograms from foods naturally containing folate.

· Pregnant women should read food labels and eat foods fortified with folic acid. Birth prevalence of neural tube defects has decreased 19% since food fortification began.

· If women could only plan their pregnancy date, then they would know to increase the folate in their diet in the crucial months before falling pregnant. This could prevent up to 75% of serious birth defects of the spine and brain.

· During breast-feeding, increase your folate intake to 500 micrograms/day.

· If you’re pregnant, reduce caffeine consumption from coffee, tea, chocolate and sodas. In a recent study, 5 cups of coffee a day more than doubled a pregnant woman’s risk of miscarriage. Limit coffee to 2 weak cups a day or less. Fortunately, morning sickness tends to give women a distaste for coffee.

· If you have teenage children, try to replace two cans of soda pop with two glasses of low-fat milk per day, even chocolate milk. We need to keep their bones strong.

· Pregnant women, nursing mothers and children should not eat shark, swordfish, king mackerel and tilefish. These long-lived larger fish contain the highest levels of methyl mercury that may harm an unborn baby's developing nervous system.

· Pregnant women should select a variety of fish - shellfish, canned fish, smaller ocean fish or farm-raised fish. They can safely eat 12 ounces of cooked fish per week, with a typical serving size being 3 to 6 ounces.

· Pregnant women should avoid raw fish to reduce the risk of viral and bacterial illness.

· Take extra care when handling and cooking food if you are pregnant or have a less than perfect immune systems (very young or very old). Miscarriages can result from the presence of Listeria bacteria in meats and dairy products.

· If your kids don’t like spinach, shred leaves and wrap in tortilla, add to soups or sauté with other vegetables.