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Category Archives: Infant & Children

Why breakfast matters

Is breakfast really the most important meal of the day? It’s definitely in the top three.

Eating something in the morning provides fuel for your activity in the early part of the day. Breakfast plays an important role in both blood sugar regulation and metabolic function… and the type of breakfast you choose can influence these significantly.

A newly published study has looked at how the breakfasting habits of teens can impact on their later life and health. Researchers examined the dietary habits of almost 900 kids and found, after 27 years, that the odds of developing metabolic syndrome were significantly higher (68% increase!) among those who had poor breakfast habits in their teens. The ‘poor’ breakfast habits that were linked to metabolic disease risk? Only eating or drinking something sweet in the morning OR not eating breakfast at all.

Metabolic syndrome is a combination of health conditions that include high blood pressure, high triglycerides, high blood glucose levels and abdominal obesity. It’s also a significant risk factor for subsequent development of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and stroke. Not good, in other words.

These results are not new, or in fact startling. Particularly for those of us who work in health. It’s a familiar picture that we are, unfortunately, seeing more of. For example, a large Australian study published only a few years ago demonstrated similar results after following up with 9-15 yrs olds after 20 years. This study found that those who skipped breakfast in both childhood and adulthood had a larger waist circumference, higher insulin and cholesterol.

So, in answer to the orginal question: yes, breakfast is an important meal.

And remember, it’s not just about eating ‘something’ in the morning, but making a good choice about what that meal is. Not only does a decent breakfast benefit our health now, as adults, it is incredibly important for the longterm health of our kids.

Eat more of this:

YES!

YES!

Eat less (or preferably none) of this:

NOOOOOO!

NOOOOOOO!
image via http://asweetlife.org/

Where do you and your family sit on the breakfast scale?

1. Wennberg et al 2014. Poor breakfast habits in adolescence predict the metabolic syndrome in adulthood. Public Health Nutrition. DOI: 10.1017/S1368980013003509 2. Smith A et al 2010. Skipping breakfast: longitudinal associations with cardiometabolic risk factors in the Childhood Determinants of Adult Health Study. Am J Clin Nutr 92, 1316–1325.

Bacteria is good for you

If you follow me on Twitter, you will be very familiar with my regular posts and re-tweets of articles that discuss gut health, digestion and beneficial bacteria. I do this because I’m interested in bacteria (amongst other things).

I’m interested in bacteria because, while there are many factors that influence your health, the right balance of gut flora is one of the most important!

NY Times Magazine

A couple of weeks ago I read this excellent article in the NY Times magazine, written by prolific journalist and ‘foodie intellectual’ Michael Pollan.

It’s a long one, so get yourself a cup of tea before you sit down to read. It’s well and truly worth the time and attention however, as the information and research Pollan discusses is fascinating. Fascinating. Well, I think so.

Take a peek.

I recently ran a workshop within a large midwifery conference, where I discussed some of the best nutritional and herbal interventions during pregnancy. One of the (many) topics covered was digestive function and gut flora.

During pregnancy, healthy bowel flora is particularly important, as it will help to regulate digestion and keep the overall immune response strong. Good bacterial balance will also support vaginal and urinary tract health, which is good to know, as recurrent UTIs are unfortunately common for many pregnant women.

Keeping your gut healthy with probiotic supplementation has also been shown to help maintain healthy blood glucose levels, which can fluctuate wildly for some women during pregnancy. Probiotics can reduce the symptoms and duration of mastitis, and have also been linked with a much lower incidence of atopic conditions e.g. eczema & asthma, in babies (once they’re on the outside).

While probiotic supplements can be very effective, a healthy diet that is rich in a wide variety of food-nutrients, and that includes adequate fibre and fluid, will also impact your body’s natural bacterial balance.

Consuming probiotic foods regularly will also help to maintain a healthy balance. These are found in the form of fermented foods*, such as yoghurt, kombucha and miso.

How’s your gut health? Are you a bacteria fan too?

* Some fermented foods may not be appropriate during pregnancy due to risk of contamination with pathogenic bacteria e.g. listeria. It is therefore important to seek advice before consuming any products that have not been prepared properly, or pose a potential health risk.

Life with a newborn: how to improve your energy

Today I’m guest posting over at Mouths of Mums.

Click through to read my top tips for improving energy when you’ve got a new baby.

image via www.mouthsofmums.com.au

What energy-boosting tips work best for you? Any favourites you can share?

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