ENLARGED TONSILS AND ADENOIDS IN CHILDREN

Enlarged tonsils and adenoid is a very common problem faced by children in their preschool and teenage years and is known as Tonsillitis. According to the American Academy of Otolaryngology, almost every child in the United States experiences at least one episode of tonsillitis.

There are generally three types of tonsils in kids:

  • Acute tonsillitis: These symptoms usually last 3 to 4 days but can last up to 2 weeks too.
  • Recurrent tonsillitis: This is when child get tonsillitis several times in a year.
  • Chronic tonsillitis: This is when child has a long term tonsilinfection.

Tonsils in Kids and its causes:

Tonsils are two oval shaped pads of lymphoid tissue located at the back of the throat, one on each side that helps the body to fight infection. Adenoids are located higher and further back, where the nasal passage connect with the throat. The tonsils are visible through mouth but the adenoids are not. The role of Tonsils and adenoids is to confine bacteria and viruses entering through the throat before they reach the rest of the body and to produce antibodies. Sometimes, bacteria and viruses get into the tonsils and infect them, which causes the enlargement of tonsils. School going children are more exposed to viral or bacterial infections and hence at more risk of Tonsillitis. The most common bacteria causing Tonsillitis is Streptococcus pyogenes that causes strep throat.

What are the Symptoms?

Tonsils in kids may vary depending on the cause and severity of infection. If kid’s throat hurts and it becomes difficult to eat, drink or even swallow, then he/ she might be suffering from Tonsillitis.

Other symptoms include red, swollen tonsils, white or yellow patches on the tonsils, sore throat, fever, bad breath, stomach ache, scratchy or throaty voice, headache and neck pain.

In younger children who are unable to express properly, signs include drooling, refusal to eat and unusual fussiness. Normally, tonsils and adenoids return to their normal size when the infection is over.

Complications: Enlarged tonsils in kids are considered serious if they cause symptoms like chronic ear infections, obstructive sleep apnea, recurring sinusitis and difficulty in breathing. You should visit an ENT Doctor in such cases.

Treatment: Enlarged tonsils treatment usually depends on the cause. If the tonsillitis is caused by bacteria, the doctor will prescribe antibiotics to kill bacteria. In case, it is caused by a virus, antibiotics don’t work and kid’s body will fight the infection on its own. In some cases, if the infection is severe and causing serious symptoms, doctors might advise surgery to remove the tonsils.

How to prevent it?

The germs causing tonsils in kids are contagious and hence following good hygiene practices might help to prevent it.

  • Wash hands thoroughly and frequently
  • Avoid sharing food, drinking glasses, bottles or utensils with other kids
  • Replace their toothbrushes after being diagnosed with tonsillitis

To prevent the spreading of infection to other kids in case your child is infected:

  1. Keep your child at home
  2. Teach your child to sneeze or cough into a tissue
  3. Teach your child to wash hands after sneezing or coughing

Home remedies to relieve the symptoms:

Drink plenty of warm liquids: Drinking warm liquids like soups, broths and teas helps in soothing the sore throat. Herbal teas which include honey, pectin or glycerin, helps to form a protective film over the mucous membranes in the mouth and throat and thus help in soothing irritation.

Avoid Hard Foods: Eating hard or sharp foods like chips, crackers, dry cereal, toast, raw carrots and apples may scratch the throat, resulting in further irritation and inflammation, and hence such foods should be avoided. 

Gargle with salt water: Gargling with salt water helps to reduce the pain or tickling in the back of the throat. Warm salt water can help to disinfect the area and reduce inflammation. Salt water mixture can be made by adding a quarter teaspoon of salt to 8 ounces of warm water and stirring it until the salt dissolves. Gargle with salt water for a few seconds before spitting it out and repeat the process as and when necessary. Younger children should avoid it as they might inhale the fluid. Steam inhalation can also help to reduce the discomfort.

Increase Indoor Humidity: Dry air can further add to the irritation in the throat and hence keeping a cool mist humidifier inside the room of a kid suffering from tonsillitis might help to relieve the discomfort.

Avoid straining the voice: Since the voice becomes muffled due to the swelling in the throat, kid might be tempted to raise the voice, but this might further irritate the throat.

Get plenty of rest: Taking proper rest at home allows the body to fight off the infection and even saves from any other infection which might be caught from going out.

Medicated throat candies (lozenges): Medicated lozenges contain anaesthetic medicines to numb and soothe the throat and also contain anti-inflammatory drugs to comfort swelling and inflammation in the throat. For younger children, lozenges should be avoided as they might cause choking due to their big size.

Foods and herbs that can help:

Tulsi or Holy Basil: Tulsi is a plant which is commonly found in most of the Indian households due to its medicinal properties. It has antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties. It has qualities that help in reducing the swelling and pain in the throat and thus speed up the healing process. Drink made by boiling tulsi leaves also helps in boosting immunity.

  • Method:
  • Add 10 to 12 basil leaves to one and one-half cups of water. Boil for 10 minutes. Strain and add the juice from one lemon to the solution. Optionally, add one teaspoon of honey to sweeten it or 2 grams of black pepper to spice it up.Drink this three times a day for two to three days.

Cinnamon: Cinnamon is rich in antimicrobial properties and hence suppresses the growth of bacteria in tonsils thereby comforting the pain, swelling and inflammation.

  • Method:
  • Add one teaspoon of cinnamon powder to a glass of hot water. Mix in two teaspoons of honey. Sip on it slowly while it is still warm. Drink this two or three times a day for one week.

Turmeric: Turmeric has strong anti-inflammatory and antiseptic qualities which help to fight the tonsil in kids and relieve the symptoms. Ayurveda recommends using 1 cup of hot water with 1/2 teaspoon turmeric and 1/2 teaspoon salt mixed in. Gargle with this mixture morning and evening. It is particularly helpful before going to bed. It will help get rid of the inflammation and soreness. Alternatively, you can add one teaspoon of turmeric powder and a pinch of ground black pepper to a glass of warm milk. Drink it at night for two to three days to speed up the healing process.

Fenugreek seeds or Methi: Methi again has anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that helps to fight the bacteria and gives instant relief from pain and inflammation.

  • Method:
  • Add two tablespoons of fenugreek seeds to two to three cups of water. Allow to simmer for 30 minutes. Strain and let it cool. Gargle with this water for at least 30 seconds, and then spit it out. Repeat twice daily until you get comfort.
Heat oil and add garlic. Add tomato puree. After 5 min, add seeds powder and nutritional yeast, seasonings and let it cook for 5 minutes.
Add red capsicum puree to the tomato puree. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Add 1 tsp jaggery/ sugar. Switch off gas. Add basil leaves. Add cheese in the mixture or on top of the serving.

Recipe: Roasted Red capsicum Pasta sauce

  • 1 Red capsicum (roast and peel charred/black skin)
  • Puree capsicum
  • 2 garlic cloves chopped
  • Ghee or Oil for preparation
  • 3 tomatoes, pureed
  • Few basil leaves
  • 2 tbsp Seed powder (sunflower and pumpkin)
  • 1 tbsp Nutritional yeast (optional)
  • Oregano, salt, pepper, turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp jaggery/ sugar
  • Grated Cheddar cheese
  • Red chilli sauce/ powder (optional)

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NATURAL REMEDIES FOR CHILDREN’S ALLERGIES

Allergies are the major cause of sickness in most of the children and it is disheartening for the parents to see their child suffering. Though it is not possible for parents to control or prevent it fully, but early detection of allergies can enhance the child’s quality of life, decrease the number of missed school days and help parents reduce their leaves from work to take care of the child. An allergic disease affects about 35% of all children, and has been increasing in recent years.

What are allergies?

Allergies are abnormal reactions from your immune system to things that are usually harmless to most people. Our immune system protects us from harmful organisms that cause illness. If you have an allergy that means your immune system mistakes a harmless substance as an invader. There are various substances that can cause allergic reactions like some foods, dust, plants, pollens, or medicines and these substances are called allergens.

Why do allergies occur?

It is not known, why people have different kind of allergies. Inheritance can be one reason. If your close family member has allergies, you can be at higher risk of having them. There are also some substance that cause an allergic reaction. When the immune system fights with allergens thinking it will harm the body, it causes symptoms on the body which can range from mild to fatal at times. To defend the body, the immune system makes antibodies called immunoglobulin E (IgE) and these antibodies can cause certain cells to release chemicals into the bloodstream.The release of these chemicals is what causes the allergic reactions and it can affect eyes, nose, throat, lungs, skin and gastrointestinal tract. In future, if the body gets exposed to the same allergen, the reactions trigger again.

Some allergies are seasonal which means that they occur at a specific time of the year (when pollen count is high) while other allergies can happen when a person comes in contact with an allergen.

What are some of the common allergens?

  • Air borne allergens are the most common which are carried through the air and include dust mites, pollens, pets and cockroaches.
  • Food allergies are caused by food allergens like cow’s milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, peanuts, soy and wheat.
  • Insect allergies can cause swelling, redness and itching at the site of the bite.
  • Few medicines can also cause allergic reactions.
  • Chemicals in dyes, household cleaners and pesticides also act as allergens.

What are the symptoms?

The type or severity of symptoms may vary from person to person and allergy to allergy. Airborne allergies can cause allergic rhinitis, which mostly develops by the age of 10 in kids, reaches its peak in teens or early twenties and often disappears between the ages of 40-60. Symptoms may include sneezing, itchy nose, sore throat, stuffy nose and coughing. 

Food, medicines or insect allergies symptoms are wheezing, trouble in breathing, coughing, hoarseness, throat tightness, stomach ache, vomiting, diarrhea, hives, swelling and itchy, watery or swollen eyes.

How to diagnose allergies?

If your child has cold-like symptoms which last for longer than a week or two or develops cold at the same time every year, then your doctor might diagnose an allergy and prescribe some medications. Skin tests and blood tests are conducted to find the cause of an allergy. To detect food allergies early in toddlers, pediatricians advise introducing one new food to the baby at a time.

Home remedies to treat allergies:

Although there is no specific cure for allergies, the symptoms can be managed either by avoiding the allergen or taking proper medications.

Saline nasal solution: Nasal solution has been found to reduce the effects in both children and adults as it helps to clean mucus from the nose.

HEPA filters: HEPA filters trap the airborne particles such as dust, pollen & pet dander and efficiently reduce the allergens inside the home.

Acupuncture: Acupuncture has shown positive results in both seasonal and perennial allergic rhinitis.

Honey: According to a theory, eating locally manufactured honey might reduce your allergic reaction over time to the pollen that the bees collect in your area to make their honey.

Air Conditioners and Humidifiers: Air conditioners and humidifiers can lower the growth of mildew and mold that cause allergies.

Peppermint oil: Peppermint oil has anti-inflammatory properties that can lower the symptoms of bronchial asthma and allergic rhinitis.

Eucalyptus oil:  Eucalyptus oil has antimicrobial properties that can help with allergies.

Steam inhalation: Inhaling steam can help to ease a stuffy nose and breathe comfortably.

Nutrients/ Foods that can help: 

Vitamin C: Vitamin C boosts the immune system and also acts as a natural antihistamine. Fruits & vegetables like bell peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, citrus fruits, kiwi, strawberries, winter squash, tomatoes and tomato juice are high in vitamin C.

Bromelain: Bromelain is an enzyme found in pineapple juice & is also available as a supplement.

Probiotics: Probiotics help the body maintain a healthy balance of gut bacteria and boosts the immune system which helps to fight allergies. It can be found in fermented food like wine, buttermilk, yogurt, kimchi and pickled vegetables. (What are some easy probiotic foods?)

Quercetin: Quercetin is an antioxidant that helps to lower allergy symptoms. It is found in apples, berries, black tea, broccoli, grapes, red onions and red wine. (What fruits are food for teens?)

Cold compress: Rashes can be treated naturally by applying cold compress on the affected area. (How to reduce skin dryness or eczema?)

Home remedies for Skin allergy:

Oatmeal bath: Oats can help in treating eczema and reduce itchiness. Adding oats to your bath water will help.

Aloe Vera: Aloe Vera helps in healing wounds and works as an anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antiviral and antioxidant.

Coconut oil: Coconut oil is high in unsaturated fats and has antiseptic and anti inflammatory properties which can relieve itching and rashes. (What oils to treat growing leg pain in kids?)

Epsom salts (or Dead Sea salts): Adding Epsom salt or dead sea salts in your bath water can help to soothe muscle pains and relieve itching and scaling. (What are the other numerous benefits of this salt?)

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5 WAYS TO DETOX FESTIVAL BINGE EATING

Festivals go hand-in-hand with sweets, fried and spicy foods in every culture. Round the year we often get excuses to indulge in delicacies in the celebration of festivals. The most exciting part of any festival is the scrumptious food, which varies across different festivals. Food is what makes every festival so memorable. During festive season, days often begins and ends with a sweet, delicately prepared at home with loads of patience and love. Food is what connects people of different regions and backgrounds. Even families unite after a long separation and build moments with taste-laden food and drinks. It is a common culture across the world to invite and visit friends and family. In the end, it all sums up to eating, laughing and more eating.

Soon, once the festival is over, we begin our search for detoxing our bodies of food-guilt, not love and laughter. People generally tend to (over) consume foods with high sugar content, spices and fat. More often than not, this leads to gastritis, indigestion, acidity and raised cholesterol levels, thereby creating a need to detox post festival.

After-effects of Festival Binge Eating:

Gas and constipation: This is the common problem people complain off after every festival. The reason behind this is the consumption of oily, deep fried spicy food. The excess use of oil, sugar, and refine flour that is used to make verity of dishes during festivals leads to acid reflux, constipation and heartburn.

Weight gain: Even health conscious people can’t stop themselves from having those tasty festival dishes, which are full of calories. Further, it results in weight gain and can cause health issues. It become important to detox post festival delicacies. (What food can help increase healthy weight in kids?)

Harmful for gut health: When there is excess of oil, starch or sugar in the diet, your digestive system can’t process it properly (Why?). The sugar starts to ferment and begins feeding pathogenic bacteria like yeast.  It harms the healthy bacteria that live in your gut. This can lead to conditions like small intestine bacterial overgrowth. A high fat and sugar combined diet may damage the gut micro biome by increasing unhealthy bacterias and decreasing number of healthy one. A detox post festival becomes necessary in such scenarios.

Acne: High saturated fat food may result in acne by increasing inflammation and altering hormone levels. (How to fix acne in kids?)

Increase risk of diabetes: Consuming festive food, which not only includes high fat food but, also high sugar levels (sweets and drinks), leads to high-calorie intake and sudden rise in blood sugar levels. This can be a trigger point for people with pre-diabetes developing diabetes.

Increase in cholesterol level: Excess use of saturated or trans fat (hydrogenated vegetable oil) for making different dishes during festival season may lead to high cholesterol levels in your blood, which is harmful for your heart health and liver function. Liver is the main organ that breakdown fat in the bod. Excess of fat intake can put pressure on liver. (How to keep Liver safe?)

To detox post festival binge eating becomes essential for a healthy body. Drinking enough water and having high-fiber diet helps to get rid of waste and toxins from the body. Some of the best ways to detox your body after binge are exercising, consuming probiotics (what are some easy probiotics?), adding some antioxidants in your diet (what are antioxidants?) and consuming foods that are easy to digest. Some food sources can really help to detox post festival.

How to Detox post Festive Binge Eating?

Aloe Vera and turmeric: Aloe Vera plant is water- dense. It is the best way to detox your body. This plant keeps the body hydrated and provides a way to flush out impurities. It is a rich source of antioxidants, which helps fight free-radicals (what are they?) and lowers oxidative stress on your body. The aloe Vera is proven to clean toxins from the liver. It also decreases irritation in the stomach and intestine. Turmeric is an extraordinary spice in terms of health benefit. It has anti-inflammation and anti-oxidant properties that fight inflammation and can contribute to healthy digestion. Mix a spoon of Aloe Vera gel (freshly obtained from leaf is preferred) with quarter spoon of turmeric in warm water. Enjoy this drink to detox post festival binge eating.

Apple cider vinegar: Apple cider vinegar is fermented food which adds good bacteria to the gut. It is high in potassium, magnesium, calcium and other vitamins and minerals. It gives good dose of enzymes, supports healthy immune system, promotes pH (acidity) balance in the body, aids healthy digestion, helps in removing toxins from body. Add one table spoon of ACV to the warm water, for best results drink this in the morning empty stomach. (Easy way to make ACV jellies)

Chia seeds: Chia seeds are high in fiber and essential fats (omega-3), which help to reduce inflammation and flush out toxins. It has high amount of fiber which reaches the large intestine and becomes food for the bacterias staying there, thereby promoting healthy intestinal flow, treating constipation, heartburn and other digestive disorders. Soak some chia seeds in a glass of water, drink this after an hour of soaking. (Some easy seeds rich in protein)

Lemon: Lemon is the key ingredient in many detox drinks. Lemon is packed with antioxidants and vitamin C, which is beneficial for skin and fight free-radicals. It has an alkaline effect on the body which helps restore the body’s pH balance and flush out toxins to cleanse the system. Start your day with a glass of warm water with a slice of lemon in it. It also aids in maintaining a healthy weight.

Garlic: Garlic contains organo- sulfur compounds (OSCs), which make it the perfect detoxification supplement.  It is not only anti-viral, anti-bacterial and antibiotic but it also contains a chemical called allicin which promotes the production of white blood cells and helps fight against toxins. Selenium, a mineral present in garlic can cleanse the liver of toxins too. (How does this help with boils on the body?)

Ginger: Ginger water mixed with lemon juice is also used to detox the body. As per numerous studies, ginger has been credited to fight infection and inflammation. Ginger root contains powerful compounds, including gingerols and shogoals, that help to inhibit inflammation and protect against cellular damage. They also tend to liver against toxins. Taking a little bit of ginger in tea or meals everyday can support overall health including a good flow of blood in the body. (How does ginger solve cough in kids?)

Recipe: Aloe Vera Turmeric Detox Drink

Mix a spoon of Aloe Vera gel (freshly obtained from leaf is preferred) with quarter spoon of turmeric in warm water. Enjoy this drink to detox post festival binge eating.

Add honey for kids to make it a tasty drink.

Recipe for Quinoa Peas Meal

  • ½ cup quinoa boiled in equal water
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • ½ cup peas
  • 1 pod garlic and ginger chopped
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • lemon juice fresh
  • green chilli chopped (optional)
  • salt
  • Chopped handful coriander

Heat oil in pan. Add cumin ginger garlic and onion. Saute for a minute. Add peas. Add salt. Add chillies. Cook for 3 min. Add boiled quinoa (no water at all). Cook for 5 min. Add lots of lemon juice to taste spicy salty and sour. All flavours! Garnish with coriander. Serve!

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This will takeaway your Digestion worry Forever

Digestion worries

Digestion is amongst the most common concerns in kids today. This is primarily due to the food choices. Most of the meals nowadays comprises easy-to-consume options e.g. plain roti, yellow dal, potato, bread, white rice, pasta, cake, soup, noodles, cookies. While these food choices don’t lack nutrition entirely (if made at home), they do miss out on an essential macro-nutrient- Fibre.

Fibre is the non-digestible carbohydrate. It is responsible in keeping our digestion healthy and regular. Constipation is a nutrient-deficient disease which is caused by lack of fibre. The usual cycle of digestion is between 1 to 1.5 days. However, with the current food choices, this time has become 4 days. So even though your child may be regular, he might still be 4 days late (constipated).

Fibre travels to the large intestine without being digested and also helps to flush out toxins like excess cholesterol, lead, mercury etc that get released from food. In the absence of Fibre, these waste products get reabsorbed by the body. In addition, fibre is also the food for the good bacterias living in the large intestine (gut).

In older times, humans had the capacity to consume 100g fibre since plants were more accessible than hunting animals for survival. This has reduced to 1/10th now. Just with the addition of Banana Stem, a child can meet the daily fibre requirement considerably. Banana stem is 60% fibre, which is a god-sent solution to improper digestion.

  • Banana stem is extremely high in Vitamin B6, which keeps haemoglobin high, gives ample energy and helps kids fight weakness, fatigue and crankiness. Lower haemoglobin results in lower cognition in kids and this can carry on till later in life. 
  • Learn to make an easy dish using Banana stem

Read more on Brain snacks, Bread for kids, Sleep food and wholesome meals below:

5 SIGNS YOUR CHILD’S DIGESTIVE SYSTEM NEEDS HELP

Child’s gut in responsible for our overall health and is connected to our immune system, mood, mental health and body functioning.  Most of the diseases emerge in the gut, which is a component of child’s digestive system.  Digestive track plays a vital role in our body, as it is responsible for absorbing nutrients and eliminating waste. Digestion is important for breaking down food into nutrients, which is further used by body for energy, growth and cell repair. A kid’s gut health says a lot about their internal health.  If you want to set your child up for lifetime of good health, it is essential to flourish kid’s gut with healthy bacterias.  Digestive disorders can affect your child’s growth and development. By recognising symptoms early, you can help your child lead a healthy life.

Symptoms of Digestive Disorders in kids:

Stomach pain: Stomach pain is common in children. It can be caused by a variety of reasons such as eating too much, needing to go to the washroom or stress about an upcoming event. However, if your child complains of stomach pain frequently, it can be a matter of concern. The most common causes of stomach pain in children include indigestion, infection, appendicitis (causes acute or sudden pain) (How to correctly identify stomach pain?)

Vomiting: There can be different reasons why a kid throws up. Some of them are viral infections, motion sickness, food poisoning, fever, or coughing. They can also vomit because of concerns such as meningitis, appendicitis and intestinal blockages. If your child vomited more than once and there is blood or bile (green or yellow coloured liquid) in vomit, call your doctor. (Some easy home remedies to fix coughing)

Diarrhea: Diarrhea could be a result of the body’s inability to absorb foods. It may last 1 or 2 days and go away on its own. However, if it lasts for more than 2 days, it’s a matter of worry. Diarrhea may be caused by a bacterial infection, viral infection, parasite that enter through food or water, and reaction to medicines.

Problem with appetite: Digestive issues may lead to children losing their appetite. A loss of appetite is often temporary and the appetite will come back once the child has recovered.

Bloating in belly: Gas is the most common cause of bloating. When kids eat or drink too fast or chew gum, they might swallow extra air that causes gas. It can trigger stomach pain. Bloating could also be a sign of several GI (gastrointestinal) disorders, like food intolerance or any celiac disease (an immune reaction to eating gluten). GI diseases mainly occurs in oesophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine and rectum.

Eating processed and packaged food is a common phenomenon nowadays. Children who consume a lot of refined and processed foods in their regular lifestyle, have a higher chance of developing obesity. Such foods are high in sodium and added sugar and lack fiber resulting in poor digestion among children. Fiber is essential to bind with bile and support daily digestion. Lack of fiber directly hampers the digestive system of process kids. This often results in abdominal cramps, bloating, irritable mood, reduced immunity and weight gain. It can also have serious consequences on the intestine health in the long run. You can easily prevent digestive disorders in your child by making little changes in their diet. (How does sugar impact the body?)

Preventive measures to improve digestion in kids:

  • Introducing small meals
  • Chewing food slowly and carefully
  • Fibre rich seasonal fruits and vegetables
  • Intake of plenty of water to cleanse child’s digestive system
  • Enough sleep helps to rejuvenate the child’s digestive system
  • Reduced processed foods

Best food for Digestion problems:

Yogurt: Yogurt naturally contains lots of probiotics that strengthen the digestive track. Probiotics are often called good bacteria which help to improve gut health. It helps to regulate the child’s digestive system and decrease bloating, diarrhea, constipation. Some research suggests that it can boost immune system by enhancing absorption of vitamins and minerals. Having more of good bacterias in the system can conquer the number of bad bacterias, thereby maintain good health. (Some easy probiotics for kids)

Saunf (Fennel) seeds: Fennel seed is an effective aid to digestion. It relaxes muscles in the intestine, which can help relieve constipation. The main component that gives fennel seeds these beneficial effects is Anethole. It can help to smooth and relax muscles of the gastrointestinal system, thereby reducing gas, bloating and stomach cramps. (Other seeds that can help with Protein)

Papaya: Papaya contains an enzyme papain that aids digestion.  It is also high in fiber and water content. This quality helps to prevent constipation and promote regularity and healthy digestive system in kids. (Fruits that are great for kids and teens)

Banana: Banana is one of the best foods that help with digestion. The whole plant is beneficial for the body since it has both probiotic (bacteria) and prebiotic (food for bacteria) fibers. The fruit is gentle enough to be eaten if you are suffering from stomach issues, like vomiting, loose motion and it restores lost electrolytes back into the body. (How to use banana stem in food?)

Moong Dal (Mung bean): It is best to consume this bean everyday since its loaded with necessary prebiotic fiber. This fiber reaches the gut without getting digested and becomes the food of the bacteria living there. Once the bean sprouts, it has the essential probiotics (bacterias) also which further enhance the health of the gut. The fatty acid present in the bean known as butyrate, is also beneficial for intestinal walls. These have anti-inflammatory properties that help in preventing accumulation of gas. (How to prepare mung bean meals?)

Recipe for Spinach Mung Bean wrap:

  • 1 cup whole mung bean (soak overnight) and blend/purée with spinach leaves (boiled or not) and enough water to make pancake like (not too runny) batter (Benefit of soaking?)
  • Or can use sprouted mung bean and follow the same procedure.
  • Add salt, pepper and carrom seeds (optional)
  • Spread on hot iron/ non-stick pan (add drops of oil to cook). Covering the wrap helps to cook faster and better. Flip to cook on other side.
  • Take off the pan and serve with sauce (recipes of healthy spreads)
  • Stuff and roll with cheese, lettuce or salad leaves, grated carrot, mashed avocado, sliced tomato, cabbage and/ or other veggies

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What does Refined Sugar do to your Kid’s bones?

During the early years, the bones of kids develop and grow while also being depleted at the same time. If the consumption of calcium, Vitamin D and other required minerals are sufficient, the health of bones will be positive. If the consumption of required vitamins and minerals are less, the depletion of bones will soon take over resulting is much weaker bones and easy fractures.

We have already talked about how refined Sugar harm our body. Now, lets see how it can damage the bones too.

Sugar can be consumed in many forms like Bread which is extremely high in added sugar and one of the most staple food in every household for kids. When we buy bread, we must look at the ratio of fibre to carbs given at the back label of the bread. For a more fibrous and less refined bread, this ratio must be 1:10 at least. If it is 1:5 that’s even better for health. There is an easy recipe of fibrous bread given below.

Other common sources of sugar are white sugar, brown sugar, cane sugar, cookies, candy, donut, cake, canned drinks, packed juices, bottled shakes and smoothies, granola bars, sauces, jams and many others. Such intake on a regular basis can deplete four of the best bone-friendly nutrients from your child’s body.

Calcium + Phosphorous

Calcium combines with phosphorous to make calcium phosphate which is most important component for our bones. When sugar is consumed, there is acid that’s released in the body. In order to balance this acid, calcium is extracted from the bones resulting in Calcium deficient weaker bones.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D assists in absorption of Calcium by the bones. Consumption of sugar increases an enzyme that degrades vitamin D and thereby also results in reduced absorption of calcium by the bones. Double whammy!

Vitamin C

Vitamin C helps to make collagen and also delays the decaying process of bones. Sugar intake restricts the absorption of this vitamin into our body cells resulting in weaker bones.

Magnesium

Magnesium works on keeping the bones strong. Sugar strips the body of magnesium too by releasing it out through urine.

99% of the Calcium is stored in Bones and Teeth. If calcium is needed elsewhere, it is taken from the Bones. Hence it becomes imperative to keep 100% stock of calcium and consume everyday. The more bones will lend calcium, the more weak they will become. It is said that Osteoporosis is a disease that manifests in old age.

Studies indicate that roughly 50% kids don’t meet the daily Magnesium requirement. Magnesium is one of the top four abundant minerals in the body. So, any deficiency of this mineral will easily reflect in daily life. Magnesium is key in formation of bones. We only build bones until mid-20s and hence it becomes crucial to build strong bones and teeth to last us a lifetime.

Every single cell in the body requires Vitamin D. Body can also produce this through cholesterol exposure to sunlight. However, deficiency of Vitamin D is common in kids and results in weaker bones and muscles, fatigue and body pain among others. Vitamin D has to be consumed with fat (oil). For e.g. Cheese has vitamin D and fat both so its a great food to meet this nutrition.

  • Recipe for Fibrous Bread:
  • Ingredients:
  • 1.5 tsp yeast
  • 2 tsp Molasses or jaggery or coconut sugar
  • 1 ½ cups warm water (or little more)
  • 1 cup Sorghum flour
  • 1/2 cup Amaranth flour
  • 1/2 cup Potato starch or Wholewheat Flour
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1/4 cup Chia seeds (grind into powder)
  • 1/4 cup Psyllium husk (Isabgol)
  • Combine Ingredients in a bowl
  • Make sticky dough
  • Cover the dough in the bowl with dry towel and a lid and leave to rise double or 2 hours in a dark place
  • Preheat at 200 celsius for 5 minutes
  • Transfer dough to a surface. Use lots of any dry flour and roll to shape dough into a log and tuck in the sides to make it fit the bread loaf pan (grease the pan if necessary).
  • OR can also bake dough in a pie round shape (see left pic)
  • Add sesame seeds on top of the bread for added nutrition (optional)
  • Slit dough top with sharp knife
  • Bake at 200 celsius for 60-70 minutes at lower/middle rack
  • Once done, leave to cool completely on a rag outside.

Read more about easy vitamins and complete wholemeals for kids below:

HOW TO PREVENT CHILDREN FROM LIVER DISEASE?

Human body depends upon major internal body organs to survive and reproduce. These body parts are responsible for performing vital functions. The brain, heart, kidneys, liver and lungs are the main five organs essential for survival. Every organ has its own functions and they work together to make you feel fit and fine, so that you can perform your daily activities without any hassle. Liver is one of the most important body organ which performs hundreds of chemical actions that a body needs to survive. Liver’s main task is to process the nutrients broken down from food in the small intestine and pass them as necessary to the rest of the body where they are required. Liver is instrumental (the only organ) in breaking down fat into energy and sending remaining to the body fat reserves to be stored for later use. It also produces bile, a fluid essential for digestion of fats and nutrients that are part of the food. An unhealthy liver can directly impact digestion and absorption of nutrients in the body and restrict breakdown of fats.

 Factors responsible for liver problems in kids:

There are many childhood liver conditions and problems. The most common cause of liver disease in children between 2- 19 years is fatty liver. 40% of obese children have fatty liver. According to American Liver Foundation, the number of children affected by fatty liver disease is on rise, having more than doubled in the last 20 years. It is caused when too much fat builds up in kid’s liver and can develop in children of 10 years and even younger. There are two main factors responsible for fatty liver in kids. First is an unhealthy food choice. Drinks full of sugary content with processed and packaged foods which are high in saturated and trans fat, badly affects a child’s liver. The second factor is the lack of physical activities in kids. Regular exercise is key to have healthy liver. It decreases stress on the liver of storing excess food as fat in the fat reserves. 

A viral infection (causes hepatitis, an inflammatory condition of the liver), genetic disorders, cholestasis (a condition in which the flow of bile from the liver stops or slows) are some the other reasons that can affect your child’s liver. Jaundice is the most common liver disease among kids. It often affects new born babies and goes away on its own. It happens because, babies liver aren’t fully developed enough to break down and excrete bilirubin (yellowish substance in blood which forms after red blood cells breakdown). 

It is extremely important to keep the liver healthy and free of fatty layer for the body organs to function and be active. Liver performance can directly impact the growth and health of the child.

Sign or symptoms of liver disease:

  • Skin and eyes appear yellow
  • Abdominal pain and swelling
  • Itchy skin
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Lack of appetite
  • Dark urine colour and pale stool
  • Swelling in legs and ankle

Healthy liver food sources:

Grapefruit: It contains antioxidants (naringenin and naringin) that protect the liver from injuries by reducing inflammation and protecting the liver cells. The compound also reduces fat build up in liver by increasing enzymes that burn fat. (What are some good fats to eat for the body?)

Beetroot: Beetroot helps protect the liver from oxidative damage and inflammation. It Increases liver’s natural detoxification enzymes. It works effectively to prevent deposition of fat in the liver. Betaine in beetroot breaks down fatty acids in the liver and helps to treat fatty liver disease. (Easy beetroot recipe)

Avocados: Avocados help to protect liver as they are high in healthy fats. Research suggests that it contains chemical that helps to slow down liver damage. They are also rich in fiber which attaches to bile and helps in digestion and excretion of waste, leading to a healthy weight. (How does avocado help with dryness in skin?)

Sugarcane: Sugarcane juice is a perfect tonic for people with liver disease. It helps strengthen the liver functioning. As it is alkaline in nature, sugarcane juice helps in maintaining acid levels in the stomach. (What are some natural sugar to use during cooking?)

Radish: Radish is rich source of antioxidants and minerals like calcium and potassium. Radish act as real panacea for liver and stomach health. They are exceptionally useful for jaundice treatment because they remove the bilirubin and maintain its production. It is also good source of natural nitrates that improves blood flow. If the blood flow is not proper, toxins and waste in the blood can keep floating in the body, causing harm. Liver helps to remove these toxins and cleanse the blood before sending off the nutrients to the body cells where required. (What are some other foods rich in calcium and good for bones?)

Papaya: Papaya is rich in antioxidants, including carotenoids (Vitamin A).  It can balance free radicals (what are they?). Taking one teaspoon of papaya seeds regularly can protect your liver from disease. It can help to detox liver from unhealthy substances.

Yogurt: Yogurt is one of the best natural resources of probiotics (good bacterias) which helps in maintaining lower fat levels in the liver.  Micro organisms (good bacterias) in our intestinal track are crucial for liver cells functioning. Yogurt helps to maintain healthy gut and hence, contributes in liver health too. (How do probiotics help with sneezing and allergy?)

Recipe: Twix bars (no sugar)

Base:

½ cup Almond flour
½ cup Coconut flour Or oat flour
⅓ cup Coconut oil (melted)
4-5 dates (soaked in water and grinded to make soft paste)
Mix all together. Set the first layer on baking sheet in the baking tray. Bake on 175 Celsius for 10-12 min till light golden brown.

Second layer:

½ cup peanut butter (or any seed or nut butter)
Pinch of salt
1.5 tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp Vanilla essence (optional)
¼ cup honey or maple syrup (depending on your sweetness levels)
Mix all in a pan. It is optional to add some roasted peanut chunks to this mixture too. Spread on the crust evenly and freeze for 1-2 hours.

Top layer:

Melt dark chocolate in a microwave and add 1 spoon coconut oil. Mix well. Take out the baking pan from the refrigerator and spread chocolate sauce on the bar. Keep in refrigerator again for 10-20 minutes till it hardens.

Cut the bar. Eat. Keep refrigerated for future use.

The same bar can be made with any nut butter in place of peanut.

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BABY’S FIRST TEETH: 7 FACTS PARENT SHOULD KNOW

Teething can be a cause of sleepless nights for babies and parents as well. It is one of the important milestones in the baby’s growth and development cycle. It is a natural process by which infant’s first teeth erupts through the gums. Babies are born with all the primary teeth below their gum line which generally starts to come out gradually between 6 to 12 months of age. Some children erupt one tooth at a time, while others have tooth that come in pair. Teething is a difficult period for your baby as your child will experience some discomforts, such as irritability, disrupted sleep, swelling or inflammation of gums, drooling, loss of appetite, rash around mouth, mild temperature, increased biting and gum rubbing. These symptoms were reported by 70-80 percent of parents according to an article from the British Dental Journal. There are certain facts about teething every parent should be aware of.

7 Facts About Teething

When teething starts: Every child has their own pace of growth. In some very rare cases babies are born with their first tooth, some experience teething early in around 4 months while others can have their first tooth in around 14 months. Mostly babies start teething at around 6 months. In most of the cases lower front teeth are first to appear followed by upper front teeth. By the age of three most of the kids develop entire set of primary teeth.

Teething Pain: Teething pain can make your child irritated and fussy. You can minimise the pain by rubbing or massaging their gum gently with clean finger or with cool spoon or you can offer a teether.

Does teething cause Diarrhea? Many parents connect teething with diarrhea. However, there is no such evidence that can justify that teething and diarrhoea are connected. Teething usually starts around 6 months of age. This is the time when mothers begin solids to babies. Babies sensitive digestive system may cause diarrhea due to this change in diet. Also, the chances of bacterias entering the mouth are extremely high during this phase of putting everything in the mouth due to gum irritation, which may also lead to diarrhoea.

Does teething cause fever? Teething may raise the body temperature slightly, but high fever over 101 degree Celsius is not due to teething. Check for other causes of illness or consult your doctor for high fever.

Fluoride: Fluoride is essential in protecting your kid’s new teeth from the formation of any cavities and helps in strengthening the enamel. Thankfully fluoride is present in drinking water. During teething, make your child drink some water after regular intervals.

Brushing: As soon as your baby’s first tooth erupts, you need to start taking care of it. Gently brush their milk teeth using water with soft bristled children’s toothbrush. By age of 3 you can start using a small amount of fluoride toothpaste for your baby or as recommended by dentist. (Why is it important to brush in the night?)

Visit to Dentist: The Indian dental association suggests that a child should visit the dentist within 6 months from the eruption of his/her first tooth or upon their first birthday, that means if the child does not have a tooth by the age of one, their parents should discuss tooth development with their pediatric dentist.

Key Vitamins and Minerals for Dental Health

Diet plays a significant role in teeth development in babies and toddlers. What your child eats affects their teeth. Too much  carbohydrates, sugar and starch can cause tooth decay. As a parent it is your responsibility to encourage your child to make healthy food choices.

Calcium: Calcium is the key building block for teeth and bones. It helps to harden your enamel and help teeth fight off erosion and cavities. Dairy products including milk, yogurt and cheese are good source of calcium, but always try less sugar or no sugar varieties as sugar can promote tooth decay. (What are some calcium rich foods?)

Vitamin D: Vitamin D is very important for your dental heath as it allows your body to absorb calcium. It plays a key promoting dental health and helping prevent tooth decay and gum disease. Deficiency of vitamin D can make kids teeth prone to decay. By spending about 15 to 20 minutes in sunlight each day can meet your daily requirement of vitamin D. You can also consume foods such as fortified milk, egg, fish that are rich in vitamin D. (How to absorb more calcium and Vitamin D in the body?)

Phosphorus: Like calcium and vitamin D, Phosphorus is also a key mineral for strong teeth. 85% of your body’s phosphorus content lies in your teeth and bones. Phosphorus also helps your body to absorb calcium, which aids in building strong bones, teeth and rebuilding tooth enamel. Daily need of phosphorus can be achieved by consuming foods such as pumpkin seeds, whole grains, soybean, fish and egg.

Vitamin A: Not only for eye sight, vitamin A is equally important for your dental health. Vitamin A helps your salivary glands to keep active which aids to prevent tooth decay. It also promotes saliva production in your mouth which is crucial for cleaning away bacteria and food particles between teeth and gums. Food rich in vitamin A are sweet potato, carrot, yellow fruits like mango, papaya, apricot, eggs, and cheese. (How to cook a vitamin A food to extract more vitamin?)

Vitamin C: Vitamin C is required for both teeth and gum health. Vitamin C helps keep the connective tissues in your gums healthy and strong, which hold your teeth in place. By consuming any of the citrus fruits like oranges, grapes, guava, kiwi, and lemon you can meet daily requirement of vitamin C. (What is the easiest way to meet Vitamin C requirement for the day?)

Recipe for Leftover Rice and Dal (lentil) Pizza

Mix leftover rice and lentils with wholewheat flour, salt, 1 tsp yeast, oregano, water into a soft sticky dough. Cover with a dry cloth and a loose lid. Leave to rise for 2-3 hours in a dark space.
Roll a base. Add pizza sauce, veggies of choice, greens, cheese, sprinkle little salt.
Preheat oven for 5 min at 220 celsius. Bake for 10-12 minutes in middle rack.

Kids love to eat this without even noticing the nutrition in the dough.

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WHY IS FASTING A GOOD WAY TO DETOX?

Detoxification or detox is a popular buzzword these days. Detoxification generally means cleansing up your body while removing the impurities from blood. Toxins are the pollutants, synthetic chemicals, heavy metals which enter our body along with our regular food and affect our health negatively. Detoxification is the process of removing these toxins from our body. Our body is naturally equipped to remove toxins and doesn’t necessarily need any fancy diet or products to do so. The digestive system removes undigested food, the lungs give out carbon dioxide and the skin gets rid of waste in the form of sweat. Due to the changes in our food habits and lifestyle over a period of years, there is a pressing need to occasionally enhance this natural detoxification by following simple methods to detox. In simple terms, detoxification means following a particular diet or using special products to help the body get rid of toxins, thereby promoting health and general well being. A good detox or cleansing method helps the body in getting rid of old deposits in tissues and gives a good rest to the overworked organs of the body. It helps to recharge, rejuvenate and RENEW YOU.

How to detox your body?

Sound sleep cycle, consuming more water and fluids, fasting, reducing salt, sugar and generally all the processed foods, thereby increasing foods rich in antioxidants and probiotics are few of the methods to cleanse the body. Fasting is one of the most common and effective ways of detoxification. Fasting means willfully refraining yourself from eating or drinking for a specific period of time. Physiologically, numerous metabolic adjustments occur during fasting inside our body. It includes complete abstinence from food for twenty four hours or just having one meal a day. Fasting is a popular topic of research nowadays and it has been found to manage weight and prevent numerous diseases.

What is the Science behind Fasting?

Studies support the benefits of fasting as it has been found to cleanse the body at cellular level. When you fast, the body’s access to glucose (to make energy) is reduced, forcing the liver and muscles to start using the stored glucose in the body. After about 8 hours of fasting, once this stock of stored glucose is over, body begins a natural process of gluconeogenesis in which the body produces its own glucose (for energy). The liver and kidney helps in this process by converting non-carbohydrate materials like lactate, amino acids and fats into glucose energy. Since our body conserves energy during fasting, our basal metabolic rate (the amount of energy the body burns while at rest) improves, resulting in lowering our heart rate and blood pressure. Digestion is the most important system in our body. It takes a lot of work. When you are fasting, you allow your digestive system to take rest as well. Your body works on breaking down fat cells. It is the most efficient way to detox body.

Later in the fast cycle, the body burns the stored fat as its primary power source and this process is called ketosis. This stage aids in weight loss and balancing blood sugar levels. Much later in the cycle of fasting comes the starvation mode (not preferred!), where the body begins to break down muscle tissues for energy.

The changes that the body goes through during fasting makes the cells stronger and enhances their capability to cope. This process puts the cells under mild stress which results in their improved performance and adaptability, resulting in younger, active body cells. Fasting has the same effects on the cells as exercise has on muscles and cardiovascular systems and hence helps to make cells stronger.

Recently, intermittent fasting has gained popularity in the health and fitness world. Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern which defines a strict fasting period and eating period. While there is no scientific study supporting the direct claims made by IF however dozens of clinical trials and animal studies do state the series of benefits fasting has shown on health. There is scope to perform long term studies.

What is the Religious significance of fasting?

Almost every religion has some type of fasting ritual. Muslims refrain from eating and drinking during day time for the entire month of Ramadan. Hindus observe fasting during festivals like navratri, shivratri and also specific days of the week or month. Buddhism, Jainism and Christianity also have some or the other form of fasting. In Chinese tradition, fasting is a part of preventive health care.

The foods that should be avoided to cleanse your body and the ones that you are not allowed to eat during religious fasting are almost the same and hence, fasting may work perfectly to detox the body.

What foods are best avoided (also during fasting) for cleansing the system?

Eggs and meats: Eggs and meats though are high in protein and other nutrients but can be a lot of task for the digestive system to breakdown. Avoiding these foods occasionally can give a good rest to your digestive system and make you feel lighter.

Salt: During fasting, the regular consumption of food goes down and hence it is necessary to cut down on the salt intake too. Too much salt in the body can cause hypertension and hence a break from salt reduces bloating and water retention. Sendha namak (rock salt) is usually preferred during fasting due to its added health benefits. It is low in sodium and high in potassium, therefore helps in keeping a balance of electrolytes in the body.(What are the benefits of Epsom salt?)

Wheat & Grains: Though wheat and grains are an important part of a balanced meal, but sometimes overconsumption may affect your digestive system and hence cause constipation or diarrhea. For this reason, gluten free flours like Kuttu (buckwheat flour) and Singhada (water chestnut flour) are preferred during fasting. They are easy to digest since they are not a grain, but seeds of a fruit. They are also low in calories, and good source of fiber. They contain high amount of antioxidants and are excellent source of vitamin B6 which helps in haemoglobin formation to supply energy to the body, and improves the mood during menstruation and depression. (Do kids need vitamin supplements?)

Sugar: Staying away from sugar helps to keep the blood sugar levels low and continue with the fasting period. It also enables reduced calorie intake and lesser inflammation. Cutting sugar from the diet also directly benefits calcium levels in the body. (How does sugar impact bones?)

Alcohol: Consuming alcohol frequently affects the liver by forming a fatty layer around it. Alcohol also combines with enzymes in the liver, producing a substance called acetaldehyde, which can become harmful in the long run. Alcohol is a diuretic, which makes the body produce more urine and release more water. This can result in dehydration. It is a good idea to avoid alcohol during fasting to remain hydrated. (How to prevent fatty liver disease?)

Recipe for Cookie Crumbs, full of Nuts, seeds and Whole grains (No sugar)

Mix handful of any nuts & seeds, 2 tbsp basil seeds, 4 tbsp mix of whole grains flakes (oats, buckwheat, quinoa, barley, amaranth) 2 tbsp peanut butter, honey as per choice, 1 tbsp cocoa, 4 tbsp rice flour, ½ tsp cinnamon powder, little milk/ nut milk to combine the mixture
Mix all and spread on baking sheet.
Preheat 5 min at 170 celsius and bake for 25-30min. Let is cool outside. Break with hand and serve as cookie crumbs.

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