What to do when children reject vegetables




Our kids eat less than half the vegetables they need, according to a recent report published by the Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics. Some parents have taken to hiring outsiders to help them raise a veggie lover, but for those not wanting to outsource – or not having the money to do so – science offers some ways to make the peas and carrots go down easier.

Resistance often starts around 18 months of age: sealed lips, head turned away, food left untouched on the plate. Scientists have a term for when children won’t try new foods – food neophobia – and it makes sense from an evolutionary perspective. Peaking between ages 2 and 6, being standoffish from unknown foods protects a child, who is becoming less dependent, from eating substances that might be poisonous. Unfortunately, because there are so many kinds of vegetables, these are often the rejected foods.

How much your kid fears new foods may be highly heritable, say authors of a study of twins published last year. If you loathe trying new food, it appears, your child may, too. What’s more, many vegetables are bitter, and children are preprogrammed by nature to avoid bitter taste, since it may signal the presence of toxic compounds.

“Many parents don’t realize that it’s quite normal that most children will be fussy with vegetables,” says psychologist Gemma Mitchell of Britain’s Loughborough University.

So should you just give up and fry the potatoes, and opt for a once-a-day vitamin pill that will deliver the vitamin C, E and folate that picky eaters often miss in their diets?

Probably not. Nutritionists say vitamin pills are no replacement for vegetables and fruit. Veggies contain many important substances in addition to vitamins and minerals such as phytonutrients, which lower the risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease.

With all this in mind, here are some techniques, gleaned from the latest research, for dealing with food neophobia:

Offer vegetables with a glass of water
Don’t give up, even after many rejections. “The child doesn’t even have to eat it. Repeated exposure is all that is needed.”

Increase the portions. This may sound counterintuitive, but it turns out that if you pile up more veggies on your kid’s plate, more will get eaten. “What’s really effective is giving children big portions of vegetables at the start of a meal when they’re hungry. In our lab we’ve done this with raw carrots and with tomato soup. The bigger the portion was, the more the kids ate,” says Barbara Rolls, a professor of nutritional sciences at Penn State. So serve a salad before the mac and cheese. And you should probably keep the main portion small: An investigation published last year in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that the bigger the entree (the authors used mac and cheese in their experiments), the fewer fruits and vegetables get cleared off the plates.

Disguise the vegetables. “One of the most effective strategies we’ve found is the hidden-vegetable approach: putting pureed vegetables into dishes,” Rolls says. “Most kids don’t care what’s in their food as long as it tastes good. With baked goods like zucchini bread or pumpkin bread, we’ve found that kids actually prefer those with added vegetables because they are moister.” So put some grated vegetables into casseroles, pasta dishes or mac and cheese.

Build positive associations. “If a child is upset, many parents will say, ‘Oh, come here, have a cookie.’ Children are quick learners: Soon they start equating biscuits with comfort,” Mitchell says. But you can build a similar positive association with vegetables, offering up a carrot stick instead of a cookie.

Relax and have fun. Cut the veggies into creative shapes, mix as many colors on the plate as possible, allow the kids to get messy while eating. In other words: Let them have fun with food.

Finally, even if none of this works, relax – and wait. A 2010 study that followed a group of kids from age 2 to 11 found that picky eating declines as kids get older. By the time most are 6, only about 3 percent remain very fussy.

Source: Star news

Study: Eat 7 servings of fruit, veggies daily

You know the saying, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away”? Turns out eating one apple isn’t enough. A new study suggests people who eat up to seven servings of fruit and vegetables a day can cut their risk of death by 42% – and that vegetables may be more important than fruit to your overall health.

The study, conducted by scientists in the United Kingdom, was published online Monday in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

The study

Researchers looked at data from more than 65,000 adults over age 35 who participated in the Healthy Surveys for England study between 2001 and 2008.

HSE surveyors had asked participants about their fruit and vegetable consumption during a 24-hour time period. Portion sizes were defined by the UK’s Department of Health to be about 80 grams (equivalent to just under 3 ounces). The new study authors compared this nutrition information to mortality data for the group over the following eight or so years.

The results

The participants ate an average of 3.8 servings of fruit and vegetables per day. Older, non-smoking women tended to eat more than other demographic groups. Produce consumption was also linked to participants’ body mass indexes; those who ate more fruit and vegetables tended to have a lower BMI.

The researchers found that a diet rich in fruit and vegetables can be protective against cancer, heart disease and all other causes of death. Eating at least seven servings was best, but each serving increase was associated with a lower risk of death.

To make sure they weren’t counting people who were seriously ill at the time of the survey, researchers excluded deaths that occurred in the year following the data collection. When they did so, they found that people who ate at least seven daily servings of fruit and vegetables had a 42% lower risk of death from all causes than those who ate less than one daily serving.

When researchers broke it down by cause of death, veggie lovers had a 25% lower risk of dying from cancer, and a 31% lower risk of dying from heart disease or stroke.

Vegetables seemed to provide a greater health benefit than fruit. Eating more than three or four servings of fruit daily didn’t increase a study participant’s chance of survival, the study authors concluded.

Study limits

HSE surveyors only recorded one day of each study particpant’s fruit and vegetable consumption. On that day, the participant could have eaten more or less produce than they would normally consume.

Researchers also did not include participants’ total caloric intake, salt consumption or fat consumption in their analysis.

As the study authors say, their data shows a “strong association, but not necessarily a causal relationship.”


Eat more vegetables. Even if you, like many of the study participants, believe you’re eating an overall healthy diet, you “need to aim higher,” according to an editorial accompanying the study.

This study follows previous research presented at the American College of Cardiology’s annual session last week. Dr. Michael Miedema and his colleagues found that women who ate eight to nine servings of fruit and vegetables in their 20s were 40% less likely to have dangerous plaque in their arteries in their 40s.

“There is value in knowing how the choices we make early in life have lifelong benefits,” Miedema said in a press release.

So fill up on salad. Snack on raw carrots. And yes – eat that apple.

Sorce: CNN

Healthy diet lowers dementia risk later in life

A new study suggests that healthy dietary choices in midlife may prevent dementia in later years.

The results showed that those who ate the healthiest diet at the average age of 50 had an almost 90 percent lower risk of dementia in a 14-year follow-up study than those whose diet was the least healthy.

The study was the first in the world to investigate the relationship between a healthy diet as early as in midlife and the risk of developing dementia later on.

The researchers assessed the link between diet and dementia using a healthy diet index based on the consumption of a variety of foods. Vegetables, berries and fruits, fish and unsaturated fats from milk products and spreads were some of the healthy components, whereas sausages, eggs, sweets, sugary drinks, salty fish and saturated fats from milk products and spreads were indicated as unhealthy.

Previous studies on diet and dementia have mainly focused on the impact of single dietary components.

“But nobody’s diet is based on one single food, and there may be interactions between nutrients, so it makes more sense to look at the entire dietary pattern,” Marjo Eskelinen, MSc, who presented the results in her doctoral thesis in the field of neurology, said.

Higher intake of saturated fats linked to poorer cognitive functions and increased risk of dementia

The doctoral thesis, published at the University of Eastern Finland, was based on the population-based Finnish Cardiovascular Risk Factors, Ageing and Incidence of Dementia (CAIDE) study.

Source: zee news

Why is hemoglobin important? What can be done to improve it?

Low levels of hemoglobin are most commonly caused by nutritional deficiencies. There are many ways on how to increase hemoglobin, including eating the right food sources, avoiding foods that reduce iron content in the blood, taking proper supplementation and blood transfusion.
People who find out from blood tests that they have low hemoglobin levels often want to find out how to increase hemoglobin. Hemoglobin, abbreviated Hb or Hgb, is produced in developing red blood cells in the bone marrow. It is responsible for giving blood its red color. Its function is the transport of oxygen from the lungs to be released to the different tissues of the body and, in exchange, collects carbon dioxide to be transported back to the lungs.

The normal levels of hemoglobin in the body range from 14 – 18 g/dL in males and 12 – 16g/dL in females. A deficiency of hemoglobin would decrease the oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood. This also decreases the number of red blood cells resulting in a condition called anemia. Causes of low levels of hemoglobin levels include poor nutrition, certain diseases affecting the bone marrow, chronic diseases like cancer and kidney disease, blood loss, certain drugs and cancer therapy. Low levels of hemoglobin contribute to a variety of symptoms such as dizziness, lethargy, pale skin, and if severe, result in organ damage.

Ways to Increase Hemoglobin Levels
Food and Medicine
There are medicines and natural ways to increase hemoglobin and therefore prevent anemia.

Vitamin and mineral supplementation. There are several minerals and vitamins that can increase hemoglobin levels. Most important of these are iron, vitamins B6, B9 (folic acid), and B12, and vitamin C, which is important for enhancing the absorption of iron. The recommended daily allowances are:

Iron: 20 mg
Vitamin B6: 50 mg
Folic Acid: 500 micrograms
Vitamin B12: 1500 micrograms
Vitamin C: 1000 mg

Foods that are rich sources of iron, vitamins B6, B9, and B12

Iron: whole-egg, iron-fortified cereal; leafy-green vegetables (like artichoke and spinach), legumes (like beans and lentils), meat (like lean beef and liver), and seafood like (clams and oysters)
Vitamin B6: meat (like chicken, beef, turkey, and pork), fish (like salmon, cod, halibut, tuna, trout, and snapper), vegetables (like spinach, bell peppers, baked potatoes, yams, broccoli, green peas, turnip greens, and asparagus), nuts and seeds (like peanuts, cashews, sunflower seeds, and hazelnut), whole-wheat bread, cereals, bran; and chickpeas, lentils and soybeans
Folic acid: dried beans, peas, leafy green vegetables (like spinach and turnip greens), and fruits (ex. citrus fruits)
Vitamin B12: Beef liver and clams, fish, meat, poultry, eggs, milk, and other dairy products
Vitamin C: Citrus fruits (like grapefruit and oranges) and their juices, red and green pepper and kiwifruit, broccoli, strawberries, cantaloupe, baked potatoes, and tomatoes
Herbs. Certain herbs contain iron or increase its absorption thereby increasing hemoglobin levels.

Withania: used in Ayurvedic Medicine in the treatment of iron deficiency anemia; its use has been supported by studies showing increased hemoglobin levels in children.
Nettle Leaf: used traditionally in the treatment of arthritis, a rich source of iron
Dong Quai or Angelica: traditionally used for menstrual cramps, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), menopausal symptoms, anemia, and constipation. Studies on rats fed on low iron diet showed restoration to near normal levels of hemoglobin, hematocrit and red blood cell counts with Dong Quai
Chitosan is a dietary fiber from shellfish. A study showed that patients with kidney failure given chitosan were shown to reduce high cholesterol, improve anemia, and improve physical strength, appetite, and sleep.

Foods to Avoid
Foods that are rich in calcium like milk and cheese and high fiber foods as well as beverages like coffee, tea, and alcohol should be avoided or taken in small quantities because these prevent absorption of iron. Gluten-containing foods like pasta, bread, and wheat products also cause anemia.

Source: MD-health