VITAMIN D, CALCIUM AND KIDS: ARE THEY BUILDING STRONG BONES?

One of the most important minerals in our body is CALCIUM. Bones are 70% calcium and it is only calcium which gives bones their hardness for protection and support. Bones also serve as the calcium bank of the body. Sometimes people get confused between vitamin D and calcium. Vitamin D helps body to absorb calcium and works with it to build strong bones. It moves calcium from the intestine to the bloodstream and into the bones. If you are thinking that your child is getting enough amount of vitamin D only by drinking milk, then you may be partially correct. Recent study shows that most of the children are not getting essential vitamin and minerals, and especially vitamin D. Some children with low vitamin D complain of pain in the legs and body. Very low vitamin D can lead to soft bones, causing rickets, a bone softening disease and also increase the risk of bone fracture in children. From age 9 – 18 children need more calcium to meet the daily recommended intake. Interestingly, it is only till mid-20s that kids can improve their bones which will last them a lifetime. Sunshine is considered as the natural source of vitamin D in body. Every cell of our body has vitamin D receptors. So, if your child is in the sunlight three times a week for about 15-20 minutes he/she will get enough UV rays to produce vitamin D. Not just bones and teeth, vitamin D builds immunity in the body and fights off attacking viruses and bacterias.

THE BEST FOOD SOURCES OF VITAMIN-D AND CALCIUM:

Cow’s milk and its products: It is the most commonly consumed type of milk and naturally a good source of many nutrients like calcium, protein, phosphorus and Vitamin B2. In several countries, it is fortified with vitamin D because milk doesn’t naturally contain vitamin D, but is a great source of calcium. These two work together to keep bones strong. There are some options of dairy products made of cow’s milk like cheese, yogurt which too are a source of vitamin D (How is it used in the rest of the world?)

Cereals: In comparison to other natural resources, fortified cornflakes and oat meals or granola mixes may provide less vitamin D, but still they can be a good way to boost the vitamin D levels. These cereals can be consumed together with milk or yogurt to achieve both calcium and vitamin D for the body. The most important check to make here is the sugar levels in the cereal. Added sugar intake can adversely impact calcium and vitamin D levels. (how does sugar impact bones?)

Egg yolk: Eggs are one of the highest natural sources of vitamin D. Just one whole large egg provides 50% of vitamin D required for the day. It helps to maintain strong bones and teeth. Those who can, can opt for fish (salmon, sardines) also as a source of vitamin D.

Banana: The yummy bananas are a great source of magnesium, which plays an important role in activating vitamin D in the body. Journal of the American osteopathic Association, suggest that- it is essential to consume the recommended amount of magnesium to obtain the optimal benefits of vitamin D. So while banana doesn’t have vitamin D directly, it enables absotion. In addition, banana is also a great source of quick energy (simple carbs) and prebiotic fibre (for digestion) for kids. Win-win!

Moringa: Moringa is a superfood. It has 3 times more calcium than milk which makes it an excellent food to treat weak or damaged bones. Some studies also indicate that moringa can heal damaged bones. Dried moringa leaf powder has 17 times more vitamin D than fortified milk. In addition to this, its a fix for digestion troubles, immunity and iron. (Some easy ways to moringa)

Ragi: It is said that no other plant source provides calcium the way ragi can. It also has vitamin D and along with calcium, it can help in improving bone strength. It is a whole grain that is gluten free also and can be used in baking cakes and cookies.(Easy nutritious ragi recipe)

Mushroom: Mushroom is a rich ‘plant’ source of vitamin D. Researchers have found that we can increase levels of vitamin D even more by exposing mushrooms to sun for 10-15 minutes. Mushrooms can be consumed either directly or also in the form of dried mushroom powder, which can be used throughout the year, even when the season of mushroom has passed. For kids who are picky and don’t particularly enjoy eating mushroom, using the powder is an easy option. it can hide in any batter or dough to make pancakes, wraps, bread, paratha, pizza. (Easy pizza recipe to hide mushroom powder)

Recipe for Ragi Dough:

  • 1 cup ragi
  • 1 cup whole wheat or sorghum
  • ¾ cup shredded cheese or cottage cheese or paneer
  • Salt as per taste
  • ½ Beetroot puree (optional)
  • Water for kneading

Mix all together into a soft dough. Roll out flat breads/ parathas. Eat directly with yogurt or fill it up like a wrap with some spread and veggies.

(Recipe for easy and healthy spreads)

Read more blogs:

HOW TO TREAT AND WHEN TO SEEK HELP FOR BOILS

Boil is a painful, pus filled lump under the skin caused by an infection in an oil gland or hair follicle. As kids have sensitive skin and their immune system are still developing, this makes them more prone to infection. It is our responsibility to keep the kid’s surrounding hygienic, infection free and kid’s skin cool to save them from boils.

The infection that causes boils commonly occurs because of bacteria called staphylococcus (STAPH) that can invade our skin. When we get a cut or bite, the bacteria makes its way into the body through small cracks on the skin or from hair folic. Usually boils are not a serious problem. But, if infection spreads your child may feel sick or get fever. This is the time you should take your child to the doctor. Boil start as red lumps and gradually the lump becomes tender and filled with pus and then turns white. The formation of pus can make the boil quite painful. It can appear anywhere on the body but, they are most common on the face, neck, armpit, thighs, shoulders and buttocks, around the ear and nose and sweaty areas. Kids also tend to get some on the knee.

Boils can be observed in any healthy kid, but children with low immunity, existing skin infection and those who suffer from frequent insect bites are at a higher risk.

CAUSES OF BOILS

  • Poor hygiene
  • Poor food intake or poor nutrition
  • Weaker immune system
  • Exposure to harsh chemical
  • Hair folic infection caused by a staph bacteria
  • Iron deficiency
  • Friction from tight clothes
  • Eczema (home remedies to dryness)

WHEN TO WORRY

  • Boil lasts for two weeks or more
  • When boil become very large
  • When they are painful
  • When your baby suffer from fever or feel unwell
  • Reoccurrence of boil
  • Boil appearing on the face or spine
  • Spread of Redness around skin of boil

Nutritious diet is the solution of every health problem. Zinc is an important mineral for boosting immunity and is essential in the treatment of boils. Introducing Iron rich food in your kid’s diet can also help them in fighting against boils. Food rich in Iron are: beans, spinach, dry fruits, pumpkin seeds, quinoa, broccoli and fish etc. (Iron rich food recipe)

HOME REMEDIES FOR BOIL

Warm compress – This is one of the most effective home remedy for boil. Keeping warm, wet cloth on the boil for 20 minutes, 3-4 times a day can help to get relief as the heat and moisture can help the boil to open and drain. Water can be mixed with baking soda too for quick results.

Turmeric – It has proven medicinal properties. The anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties in it help to reduce the inflammation of the boil. You can choose to ingest turmeric powder. Add turmeric powder in milk or water and boil it and then let it cool. Taking this milk or water thrice a day can help to get rid of heat boils. You can also apply turmeric paste over boil to heal it quickly. (How can turmeric treat cold?)

Garlic– Garlic with its antiviral and antibacterial properties helps boost your immunity. You can extract juice from fresh garlic cloves and apply on the head of the boil for 10- 30 minutes twice a day. It will help to soften the point from where it can be drained off. (How to use garlic in reducing leg pain?)

Apple cider vinegar– Apple cider vinegar cleanses the boils and disinfects it.it has anti- inflammatory properties which help in reducing the redness and pain of the boils. You can apply few drops of apple cider vinegar directly on boils and repeat this several time in a day for fast relief. (How does ACV work for hair?)

Onion– Onion have active compounds and anti inflammatory properties that can ease the pain of a boil. Its antifungal and anti-septic properties helps and prevent them to develop again. Cut a slice of onion, place it over boil and cover with clean cloth. Do this couple of times a day. This should generate heat and draw pus out. (How to use onion for curing cough?)

Cumin seeds– commonly found in Asian/ Indian kitchen, it has many health and beauty benefits. Cumin seeds contain thymoquinone, which reduces inflammation and also helps in reducing pain and stiffness of the boils. It is a primary source of antioxidant, which can kill harmful strains of bacteria. Take some cumin seed and crush them, now add few drops of water to make a thick paste. Apply this on affected area, wash it off after dried out. (Nutritious recipe using cumin seeds)

Neem– Neem is used to treat many ailments. It has antiseptic, antibacterial and antimicrobial properties that can help to treat skin infections including boils.. It can be used to sooth the skin too. Grind few leaves of neem with water to make a paste, mow apply this on boils and cover it with a clean cloth, this will help you to get rid of the boil. (How to use neem for face and body skin?)

Recipe for Sweet Potato fries

  • 3 sweet potato (purple or white or orange)
  • 3 red skinned potato (optional)

Scrub and wash the sweet potato and red skinned potato. Leave skin on (skin is loaded with antioxidants and fibre). Cut sweet potato or red skinned potato In wedges form. Rub and toss them in 1 tsp oil (or more) Sprinkle some salt. Good to use Epsom salt (why?) Spread them out on baking sheet on tray. Place on middle rack. Preheat oven for 5 min at 200 Celsius and Bake for 25-30 min. Sprinkle roasted cumin seeds powder seasoning or onion and garlic powder seasoning or any other on top and serve.

KIDS LOVE IT! so always make extra 🙂

Read more blogs:

5 AMAZING HOME REMEDIES FOR DRY SKIN IN CHILDREN

Dry skin is a common condition. There can be many reasons for dry skin in kids. At least one in 10 children have eczema an ongoing skin problem that causes dry, itchy, red skin (what category of foods can help eczema?). Children with eczema have more sensitive skin than other people. Babies with severe eczema may also have food allergies. The most common being allergy from cow’s milk. 

Common reasons causing Dry skin

Bathing too often and using soap can cause dry skin and if skin is already dry it makes it more worse. This happens because soap removes the layer of skin’s natural oil and makes it difficult for skin to keep moisture in.

Climate is also responsible of having dry skin. It’s especially common in winters. When the humidity level drops outside, it affects skin as water in your skin evaporates quickly. This makes your skin feel dry and tight and makes it look cracking.

Genetics also plays a role in dry skin. Researchers say that dry skin can be inherited. According to a study, mutations in genes that control the production of the protein filaggrin, which plays a role in forming and hydrating the skin barrier, can cause several skin conditions.

Chlorine protects from harmful bacteria that can form in swimming pools. But spending too long in swimming pool can be a cause for your kid’s dry skin. The chlorine in pool water can dry out kid’s skin and make it feel tight and itchy because chlorine strips hairs and skin of the natural lubricant (sebum). Dry skin is less common in teenagers than in younger kids as the oil glands are more active in teenage years.

Common cure for dry skin

There are many home remedies one can use to get rid of dry skin. Most common being oil. However, a study in 2013 found that olive oil actually damaged skin’s barrier, suggesting not all natural oils are suitable for use as moisturisers. Below are some nuts and fruits which can be applied or consumed to improve skin health.

  • COCONUT OIL: A study in 2019 explained that soothing properties of coconut oils have positive results on dermatitis and extremely dry skin. Coconut oil act as a sealant as it trap water into the skin and keep it moist. It also provides key essential fatty lipids. These lipids improve the function of the skin allowing it to feel hydrated as a result. (Is it beneficial to eat coconut oil too?). Other than applying the oil for dryness purposes, coconut also contains antibacterial properties, which help to heal a rash or allergy on the skin. This can also be mixed with aloe vera and kept.

ALOE VERA: Aloe Vera has healing and hydrating properties and is a great choice for dry skin. However, it absorbs easily, making it ideal for oily skin too. It helps to seal moisture into your skin. According to a 2015 systematic review study, aloe Vera has antioxidant, antimicrobial and wound healing properties that may help with the symptoms of eczema (What kind of food can help with allergies?).

  • COCOA BUTTER: Cocoa butter is mostly made up of fatty acids. People use cocoa butter to help relieve dry skin. It is a boon for people with dry and dull skin conditions. It has ability to nourish and hydrate the skin and develop elasticity. Mixing this with tea tree oil can give added acne solving benefits to the skin. It can also be a great butter replacement in baking goods. (A recipe for a super nutritious chocolatey bar)
  • ROSE WATER: It has been used as a natural product for thousands of years to reduce skin redness and hydrate the skin due to its anti-inflammatory properties (what kind of food can help with inflammation?) It works as an antibacterial spray to help reduce acne (How to treat acne?). Preparing it at home with all natural rose flowers is the best way to get a chemical free product.
  • SUNFLOWER SEEDS: Loaded with fatty acids like linolenic, oleic and palmitic acid and other vital nutrients it can be beneficial for skin. It can help you to get rid of acne, scars, dull and dry skin. It increases the production of collagen and gives a smooth glowing skin. Sunflower seeds also contain substantial amounts of zinc and vitamin E which helps to protect skin cells from ageing and decaying. (Does eating sunflower seeds help too?). Based on the age of the child, consuming the seed or its powder, or applying its oil on the skin, both benefit the skin dryness levels.

TOMATOES: Benefits of tomatoes for dry skin are plenty. It contains several skin friendly vitamins and nutrients that can give you beautiful and glowing skin such as lycopene and antioxidants. These can repair damaged skin cells and restore its natural, healthy glow. It also contains deep cleansing agents and corrects the skin pH levels (making it not too dry nor too oily), therefore can very well prevent dryness in skin and minimise acne. (What are other benefits of consuming a tomato everyday?) Juice of tomato also reduces the sun tan from the skin apart from providing it moisturising effect.

AVOCADO: The natural oils in avocado deeply penetrate the skin to nourish, soften and hydrate. Avocado is packed with vitamin A which is responsible for ensuring effective cell repair. It is a great source of biotin, which is part of Vitamin B and helps to control dry skin issues. They are factory of healthy fats including vitamin E, which are essential to keep skin flexible and moisturised. Additionally, avocado also helps to slow the visible signs of ageing. (What is an easy recipe to use avocado?) Applying avocado on the skin is a great child moisturiser (can also mix along with aloe vera). Eating helps too!

WALNUTS: Walnuts have many characteristics that make them an excellent food for healthy skin. They are good source of essential fatty acids, which are fats that body cannot make itself. In fact they are richer than most other nuts in both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids that strengthen the membranes of skin cells, locking in moisture and nutrients that keep the skin plump and glowing and keeps out toxins that can damage skin cells. Walnuts have anti-inflammatory properties which help to boost vitamin B levels that are responsible for improving your skin health and preventing skin dryness. Depending on the age of the child, feeding the nut or using its oil are options to keep the skin healthy and plump.

Recipe for Cornflakes seed cookies

  • 1/3 cup each cornflakes (crushed), wheat flour, oats
  • Handful sunflower seeds or any nut crushed or powdered
  • Handful Choco chips (or more)
  • Honey (as per sweetness)
  • Pinch salt
  • ¼ tsp Cinnamon powder
  • 2 heaped tbsp ghee or unsalted butter
  • Milk as little as to make sticky dough
  • Take small scoop of dough and place on lined baking tray
  • Preheat oven for 5 min.
  • Bake at 200 celsius for 15 min. Once edges begin to brown, take it out.
  • Cool on rack. Once completely cool, eat right away.  

Read more blogs:

8 common causes of stomach pain in kids

Kids often complain of stomach pain, but it is difficult for parents to trace out the reason for their pain. There can be many reasons behind stomach pain in kids. It can range from mild discomfort to severe cramping, burning, nausea, fever and vomiting in some cases. Most of the time it is not caused by serious medical problem but some time abdominal pain can be a sign of something serious. Stomach pain in kids can be caused by a variety of common reasons such as eating too much, needing to go to the washroom, or anxiety or worry about an upcoming event. However, if your child complaints of stomach pain frequently, it can be difficult to know the best ways to help and when to call the doctor. It is important to figure out the type of pain a child is complaining of. Whether it is pain covering more than half of the belly due to gastric problem or it is a cramp like pain due to bloating or a colicky pain which comes in a wave.

Eight causes of stomach pain in kids:

Gas: Gastric pain or indigestion is common in kids of all ages. It is commonly used to describe pain or discomfort in the upper abdomen. Some main causes of gastric problems among kids are, gulping down meals at a rapid speed, intake of aerated drinks (soda), fried junk, consumption of high levels of insoluble fiber (part of food that doesn’t get digested but reaches the gut to become food for the good bacterias living there), imbalance of good bacterias in the gut which support digestion.

Constipation: Constipation is one of the causes for stomach pain in kids. Children most often get constipated by holding in their stool to avoid or delay in bowel movement. When stool stays in large intestine for too long, it absorbs fluids from stool and causes constipation. Encouraging your child to make simple dietary changes such as eating more fiber rich fruits and vegetable and drinking more water can help in constipation. This is the most prominent cause in todays time. Children prefer food that is easy to gulp or belongs to the junk-food category. Excess sugar consumption in food also causes constipation.

Food poisoning: It is a condition caused by eating food, or drinks which are contaminated by germs or toxins. These harmful organisms produce toxins that irritate the lining of kid’s stomach and intestines. This can result in pain in abdomen.

Overeating: Too much of anything is bad. Overeating of any food, healthy or junk both can cause abdominal pain. Kids often eat too much when it comes to their favourite foods like pizza, fries, soda, burger etc. In addition to that, eating too quickly which is also very common in kids can contribute to stomach discomforts.

Lactose Intolerant: Lactose intolerant is an inability to breakdown a type of natural sugar called lactose. Lactose commonly found in dairy products such as milk and yogurt. A kid can become lactose intolerant when the small intestine stops making enough of the enzymes to digest the lactose. This can cause cramps, abdominal pain, gas and sometimes diarrhea. This is quite common in kids nowadays. Some kids who don’t have this concern initially, can also develop with time as they grow.

Stress: When a child is stressed, the adrenal glands make and release the hormones cortisol into the bloodstream. This cause the fight –or –flight response, and also trigger abdominal discomfort , stomach cramps, constipation, diarrhea and nausea.

Appendicitis: Recognising appendicitis in your little one is tough as child can’t always speak in full or describe their symptoms. A blockage in the lining of the appendix that results in infection is a possible cause of appendicitis. The blockage may be caused by mucus or stool or parasites or by a bend or twist in the appendix itself. It is mostly becoming common in children between the ages of 9-15. Food can also be a reason for this. Fried fatty foods can irritate the digestive system which can lead to appendicitis.

Stomach pain and digestive issues in kids can be due to lack of fiber or pro-biotic (good bacterias) in the diet.

Food for a healthy stomach:

Banana: Bananas are easy to digest and are known to ease stomach pain. It is loaded with calcium, magnesium, iron, folate, vitamin B6, manganese. It also contain potassium which help in case of dehydration form vomiting and diarrhoea. It has natural sugar (fructose) so kid will be able to get calories even if he/she is not eating much.

Yogurt: Yogurt can be good for a kid’s stomach health. It is rich in probiotics (good bacterias) that helps to maintain gut health. Having a little yogurt during a upset stomach may help relieve diarrhea too. Presence of protein, calcium , Vitamin B2, vitamin B12, potassium and magnesium in it helps to boost up the immune system and promote healthy digestive track.

Asafoetida (Heeng): The secret of this ingredient is being shared for ages. Heeng is added to food preparations which are generally tough to digest like beans and whole pulses. It helps to boost digestion by increasing the activity of digestive enzymes. As per a study, it’s antibacterial, anti-fungal and antimicrobial properties are used to treat stomach disorders and cure gas, bloating, acidity, constipation and improve stomach health.

Coconut water: Coconut water is rich in nutrients and electrolytes such as potassium, magnesium, and vitamin C which makes it an excellent choice for keeping kids hydrated after sickness and improves digestion at the same time.

Apple: “An apple a day keeps the doctor away’ Kids favourite apple has 3.6grams of fiber. Apple contains pectin, a type of fiber that feeds the good bacterias in gut. Apples are loaded with antioxidant, vitamins and dietary fiber, which helps to keep your kid’s digestive tract moving, also prevents or even treats constipation.

Peppermint: This green herb is well known for its refreshing flavour and ability to sooth an upset stomach. It has anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal properties which positively impact the gastrointestinal tract. Peppermint oil is sometimes used to improve irritable bowel syndrome (an inflammatory condition that impacts the large intestine) stomach pain, bloating and gas.

Ginger: Ginger contains chemicals that have been found to relax and smooth muscles, especially those which are in intestinal track. Consuming ginger helps food to move more quickly and more easily in digestive track, helping to relieve stomach cramps.

Recipe for Veggie Pizza cups

  • 1 medium capsicum shredded
  • half broccoli
  • 2 handful corn kernels whole or shredded
  • 1 medium onion chopped finely
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Sauté the veggies- onion, brocolli, capsicum, corn.

  • 2 cups of flours (mix of any- whole wheat, ragi, sorghum, rye, amaranth, teff)
  • Add oregano seasoning and salt as per choice
  • Add 2 tbsp psyllium husk
  • Add water (to make sticky dough)
  • Leave dough to rest and rise for 2-3 hours covered with dry cloth and loose lid
  • Once done, take a small ball of dough and make into a cup and place in baking tray
  • Add veggies and cheddar cheese on top
  • Preheat for 5 min at 220 celsius. Bake for 15 min and serve!

Read more blogs:

BRUSHING TEETH SHOULD BE PART OF NIGHT TIME ROUTINE

Kids are so busy with school, family and co-curricular activities now days. They are learning numerous things every day. Among all these rush, one of the necessary life skills every child needs to learn is brushing his/her teeth properly. When you brush your teeth, you help remove food and plaque (a sticky white thing forms on your teeth) which contains bacteria. After you eat a meal or snacks, the bacteria in plaque produces acids that attack tooth enamel. It is best to brush teeth twice a day, in morning as you wake up and at night before going to bed. Brushing at night is actually more important than during the day. The food you eat leaves particles and residue on your teeth that feed bacteria while you sleep.

Why is taking care of your teeth so important?

Your teeth are important in many ways. Strong and healthy teeth helps to chew food properly, speak clearly and to look your best with that lovely smile. Taking care of your teeth and gums will help to prevent the formation of plaque and cavities which cause tooth decays, if left untreated. Plaque is a combination of bacteria, food particles, saliva and acid that sticks to your teeth. The bacteria in plaque cause tooth decay and gum disease if they are not removed regularly through brushing and flossing. So, taking care of your teeth is as important as taking care of any other part of your body.

What are the common dental problems faced by kids?

Most of the dental problems faced by kids are the same as faced by adults, but since young teeth are still developing and softer as compared to the adult’s teeth, adopting a healthy oral hygiene habit at this young age becomes more important to avoid serious problems as child grows up. Let’s understand the common dental problems that are affecting kids:

Tooth decay: Tooth decay is the most common dental problem faced by kids across the world which is caused by the accumulation of plaque on teeth. Carbohydrate (starchy, sugary kinds) rich foods help plaque to grow and eat away the teeth gradually. Cookies, candies, soda, fruit juice and other sugary foods are the preferred choice by kids these days and the main reason for the rise in the number of cavities in kids. Tooth decays can be prevented by following proper brushing routine.

Bad breath or Halitosis: The bacteria in our mouth feeds on leftover food, fluid and plaque and produce hydrogen sulfide, which leads to a bad smell in the mouth. In children, it is most common in the morning when they wake up. Brushing your teeth before going to bed at night can prevent this problem to a large extent. Other than that, cleaning your tongue and using an antibacterial mouthwash can also help.

Sensitivity: If your child complains of irritation or discomfort after having hot or cold foods/fluids, it is a sign of sensitive teeth. Children’s enamels are thinner than that of adults and are easily eroded by plaque and acids which may cause receding gums and developing of cracks on the tooth surface thereby exposing the nerve endings and causing the pain. A soft- bristled toothbrush can help your child to combat this pain.

Gum disease or Gingivitis: Gingivitis is the inflammation of gum tissue which is caused by poor oral hygiene and plaque buildup resulting in gum bleeding, bone damage & sometimes tooth loss too. The best way to prevent it is to brush twice daily.

Why nighttime brushing is so important for kids?

Nighttime brushing can prevent bad breath caused by the food which is left in your mouth overnight. It will help to get rid of the acidic waste created by the bacteria that leads to tooth decay. While you are sleeping, production of saliva in your mouth decreases and the damage caused to the teeth and gums caused by bacteria increases. Whatever food you have been eating throughout the day, ends up sitting in your mouth and acts as the feed for the bacteria. Brushing at nighttime can also prevent the formation of plaque and tartar on the teeth thereby preventing tooth & gum diseases.

Food choices that can improve your a child’s dental health

Calcium: Calcium is one of the most important nutrients for healthy teeth. It strengthens the hard outer shell of tooth called enamel, which is the defence against erosion and cavities. Calcium rich food like milk, cheese, broccoli and other milk products are the best food sources for kid’s healthy teeth development.

Magnesium: This is a vital vitamin for the body. Not only is it deficient in most of the kids, its deficiency can result in the calcium deficiency too. Magnesium helps too absorb calcium in the body and hence has a role to play in building teeth strong and teeth enamel. (What are some easy food sources of magnesium?)

Foods with fluoride: It helps prevent tooth decay by making the tooth more resistant to acid attacks from plaque bacteria and sugar in the mouth. Grapes, spinach, raisin are good source of fluoride.

Fiber rich fruits and vegetables: Foods with fiber help keep teeth and gums clean, says research. Next to good home dental care, this is the best natural defence against cavities and gum disease. In traditional times, people never used toothbrushes but rather used their teeth to cut and chew on hard, fibrous veggies to keep their teeth clean and gums strong. Orange, carrots, apricots and dark leafy vegetables are rich sources of vitamin A, which is most important for teeth enamel formation and also to keep gums healthy. (How to cook foods with Vitamin-A)

Neem: Traditionally neem sticks were used as toothbrushes. Neem has a high place in the traditional medicine world. Due to its antibacterial properties, neem is considered to treat bacterias and heal. It is quite useful in dentistry for curing gingival (tissues which provide a seal around teeth) problems and maintain oral health in a natural way. Neem is an additive in some branded toothpastes nowadays.

Peppermint: It is a widely used herb for dental health as it acts as a breath freshener and teeth whitener. Recent scientific studies have found that peppermint fights bacteria inside your mouth which causes gum disease. Peppermint oil is an effective way to reduce plaque (a combination of bacteria, food particles, saliva and acid that sticks to the teeth). Rinsing with diluted peppermint oil can solve bad breath also. (What are some ayurvedic herbs to build immunity?)

Recipe for Veggie Cheese Dough

  • 1 medium capsicum shredded
  • half broccoli
  • 1 long carrot pureed
  • 2 handful corn kernels whole or shredded
  • 1 medium onion chopped finely
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 200gm cottage cheese/ paneer grated
  • 1 bowl sprouts pureed
  • 1 bowl oats or oats flour
  • 1 bowl sorghum flour or wheat flour or any other

Sauté the veggies- onion, brocolli, capsicum, corn, carrot. Add them to the wheat flour and oats. Add salt and pepper. Add cottage cheese. Add carrot puree and sprout puree. Mix well to make a soft dough. Add more flour if required. Roll a small ball into a paratha or wrap or tortilla. Serve with any curry to yogurt or plain.

Super yummy and nutritious!

Read more blogs:

COUGH, KIDS AND WHEN TO WORRY

As a parent, hearing your child cough may make you feel uncomfortable. Cough is one of the most common complaints for which parents bring their children to a doctor. Yet an occasional cough doesn’t always mean there is a problem. In fact coughing is a healthy and important reflex that helps protect the airways in the throat and chest. Children can cough several times a day or have coughing episodes lasting up to a couple of weeks if they have viral infections. However, coughing that last for more than 2-3 weeks is a matter of concern and a valid reason to visit your physician. Coughing occurs when something other than air gets into the airway below the vocal cords. Because the airway prefers air only instead of anything else (like mucus), as soon as something get into the lower airway, it is quickly expelled. Cough and sore throat, is a problem that can strike kids any time of the year. However, chances increases during winters. In winters, the cold air can dry out the tissues in the throat and can cause severe irritation.

Understanding the different types of cough can help you know when to handle them at home and when to call your doctor.

Dry cough: A dry cough refers to a cough that does not produce mucus. Kids may have a dry, hacking cough after inhaling a mild irritant, such as dust, smoke or powder. It also can be the result of a disorder, such as allergy. (How to treat an allergy?)

Whooping cough: Whooping cough is extremely contagious. It mainly affects babies younger than 6 months old who aren’t yet protected by immunization, and kids 11 to 18 whose immunity has started to fade. It causes severe coughing spells, which can sometimes end in a whooping sound when the child breathes in. It takes 7 -10 days for symptoms to appear. They are usually mild at first and resemble those of a common cold with runny nose, nasal congestion, watery eyes and cough. After a week, signs and symptoms worsen.

Cough with wheezing: Cough and wheezing are common when young children have cold and chest infection. Wheezing is a whistle sound made while breathing. Because a child’s airways are so small, any lower respiratory infection can cause wheezing in child. Wheezing happens during exhalation, when something blocks or narrows the lower airway passage into the lungs. (Easy ways to keep kids immunity high?)

Night time cough: Coughing at night can be caused by variety of conditions. Some are short term and disappear while in some cases it can be long term. Coughing often becomes worse at night. When you are lying down on bed, mucus will start pooling in the back of your throat, which causes irritation. Another reason is acid reflux. Acid is an irritant to the throat, much like mucus, germs or dust. Frequent vomiting, especially after meals, choking, wheezing are content of the reflux. (Foods to boost immunity in kids)

Cough with vomiting: Kids often cough so much that it triggers their gag reflex (contraction of throat when something touches area around tonsils), making them throw up. Also, a child who has cough with cold might vomit if lots of mucus drains into the stomach and causes nausea. (Home remedies to treat cold in kids)

HOME REMEDIES TO TREAT COUGH

Mint: Mint has a very strong odour, it helps open up the airways and allows relaxed breathing. It contains menthol, which soothes the throat and act as decongestant, helping to break down mucus. Drinking warm mint tea (mint brewed in water) or by inhaling peppermint vapours from steam bath can benefit (for older kids). Another option is to have chamomile flowers brewed in water (chamomile tea). It has the same effect on the child and also produces melatonin hormone for sleep. (Easy foods to make kids sleep)

Carom seeds (Ajwain): Carom seeds work as an expectorant (an agent that promotes the expulsion of mucus from respiratory track). It acts as a decongestant and helps in mucus removal to clear kid’s nasal passage and helps to breathe easily. Boiling water along with carom seeds and tulsi leaves and keeping it at a safe distance from the child in your supervision and helping the child to breathe it while sleeping or while active (for older kids), can help to keep cough in check and relieve chest congestion. This should best be done before sleeping as sleeping too helps heal.

Licorice (Mulethi): The benefit of this is plenty. It’s antioxidant property helps to protect from any virus or bacteria that attacks the body or fight the same when these unwanted guests enter the body. However, this perennial herb can be used to get relief from dry cough as well. For treating cough and cold in kids, mix a spoon of mulethi powder with spoonful of honey in a glass of lukewarm water and make your kids take this twice a day to get relief. (Some other super herbs of Ayurveda that kids can take)

Ginger: People have used ginger as a herbal remedy for centuries to treat many conditions. It has played a key role in lots of asian cultures- both Chinese and Ayurveda. It contains compounds called gingerols and shogaols. Researchers believe that these compounds give ginger its medicinal properties which may help ease a sore throat. Ginger may ease dry cough too, as it has anti-inflammatory properties which help to fight any infection in the body. It may also relieve nausea. Research shows certain purified compounds inside ginger roots can relax the muscles that tighten kid’s airways. Mixing ginger powder or freshly squeezed juice of ginger with honey and roasted Turmeric is a great cough syrup for kids.

Honey: Honey alone may be an effective cough suppressant too. It can’t cure coughs, but honey is believed to act as a demulcent- a substance that coats the throat and soothes it. Honey is also considered a humectant that keeps moisture in place, which prevents the throat from getting dry. This especially helps with night time coughing resulting in peaceful sleep. (How to make easy honey tablets for kids)

Home remedy for dry cough:

  • 7-8 tbsp Fresh Coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp Red Onion
  • 1 tbsp Poppy seeds or Khus-Khus
  • 1 tbsp Honey

Mix poppy seeds or khus-khus with onion pulp, fresh coconut milk and honey to make a syrup. Give it to kids twice a day, especially before bedtime to relive dry cough.

Read more blogs:

IS FAST FOOD OK FOR KIDS?

Over the last two decades, so many fast food restaurant chains have emerged and are on a constant rise. Whether we are travelling, have guests, short on time, hanging around with friends or simply want to relax, pizza, burger and fries are an instant choice, both affordable and comfortable for parents and children. In reality, food with high sugar/ saturated fat/ salt (what does sugar do to kids?) and low nutrient value in terms of protein, fibre, vitamin and mineral is termed as Fast Food. Food that can be served ready to eat fast. Many of our children are fond of such ready-made food. But these foods have negative impact on kid’s health in the long run and some of the concerning outcomes are obesity, stress, hormonal imbalance in kids. A single fast food meal could add 300-500 calories instantly without much added nutrition, terming it as empty calories (Why should kids eat a balanced diet?).

Kids love to enjoy meals with high sugar content. 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. 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.

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

BEST SNACKS FOR CHILDREN:

  • Many packaged snacks for kids are extremely unhealthy. They are often full of refined flour, added sugars, and artificial ingredients like colours and flavours. Snack can act as great opportunity to sneak some extra nutrients into your child’s diet. Instead of highly processed fast foods, fill your child’s tummy with healthy whole food snacks that will provide energy and complete nutrition.
  • You may consider popcorn as junk food, but it’s really a nutritious whole grain. As long as you don’t drown it in unhealthy fat like margarine, popcorn can be a snack for kids. It is also love by them. Popcorn actually has 4 grams of fibre per 3-cup serving, which makes it a filling snack and good for digestion.
  • Amongst many minerals and vitamins that contribute towards Brain Health– Developement and Function, a few are Manganese, Vitamin B6 and B9. Just a cup of Makhana is enough to meet 50% of Manganese requirement for the day.
  • It is those rare snacks which is loaded with a good balance of Vitamin Bs. Not just Brain, Makhana also supports strong bone development of a growing child.
  • You can make them healthy when you use the right ingredients. Healthy cookies contain whole grain flour, which provide protein, vitamins, minerals, and fibre. It can be a favourite treat for kids and adults as well. Adding ground seeds like flax, chia or sunflower seeds to the cookie mix makes them more nutritious. By swapping out the added sugar and using other alternate like puree of dates or raisins or dried berries can make the cookie a healthier choice. (Recipe of cookies)
  • Bread is a staple food in many households. Healthy spreads for bread can be a good way to feed essential nutrition to children. It can not only calm down kid’s hunger pangs but also give a dose of good fat, protein and vitamins. Peanut butter mixed with cocoa and dates or honey is a bread spread which is loved by adults and kids alike. It is enough to provide with essential nutrients as well as antioxidants. (Recipe of spreads)
  • Mixed nut balls or laddoo are a great snack for kids to settle their sweet cravings. Peanut butter (or any other nut butter) mixed with almond flour, dipped in melted dark chocolate is just the perfect snack for anytime during the day. Consuming Nuts and seeds is among the best food with protein to meet the daily requirement of the body and also among the best foods for children in their developing years. (Recipe of nut balls)
  • Smoothies are a great way to pack fibre and vitamin rich fruits and vegetables, calcium, protein and good fats into drinkable meal or snack. They are really easy and fast to make at home, and you can create lots of flavour combinations using what you have. An addition of kefir instead of yogurt adds the necessary bacterias to the drink. (Recipe of kefir shake)
  • Cake or cupcake is undoubtedly a kid’s favourite. Using a whole wheat flour and mixing with seeds of Sunflower, Pumpkin and Melon together offer a great source of nourishment to the body. 1 tablespoon of this seed mix provides 5g of protein. A spread of this can easily blend with any dish and wont even get noticed by kids.(Recipe of cupcakes)
  • Recipe of Chocolate chip Oat Cookie with seeds
  • 1/3 cup each semolina, wheat flour, oats and melon seeds
  • Handful Chocolate drops (or more)
  • Honey (as per sweetness)
  • Pinch salt
  • ¼ tsp Cinnamon powder
  • 2 heaped tbsp ghee or unsalted butter
  • Milk as little as to make firm dough
  • Take a big ball of dough
  • Roll in between two baking/parchment papers.
  • Preheat oven for 5 min.
  • Place rolled cookie with baking sheet on the middle rack. Bake as a single piece at 200 for 15 min. Once edges begin to brown, take it out.
  • Cool on rack. Once completely cool, break the cookie as you like or just eat rightaway.  

Read more blogs:

HOW TO TREAT YOUR KID’S ACNE

Mostly kids and adults between ages 12 to 30 will have acne at some point. Acne often begins in puberty. But it can happen at any age. We have to understand first What is Acne?

  • Acne is a disorder of the hair follicles and sebaceous glands. It is a condition where hair follicles become plugged with oil and dead skin cells. Acne occurs when pores of your skin become blocked with oil, dead skin, or bacteria. It causes pimples, blackheads or whiteheads. It can be found almost anywhere on your body. It mostly develops on your face, back, neck, chest and shoulders. It is most common among teenagers, though it affects people of all ages. Researchers determine that hereditary plays a role in the ability of follicles becoming acne resistant in teenage years. Risk of having acne is higher if parents had it in their teens.

Acne in Babies: Newborn baby acne is a common condition which appears within the first few months of birth. It develops because of hormones that pass from the mother to the baby during pregnancy. Though new born baby acne is harmless and goes away on its own without any kind of treatment.

Acne in Teenagers: More than 80% of teenagers have this common skin problem known as acne. It’s important to know ‘how our skin works’ to understand acne. The pores in your skin have oil glands. When a child hits puberty, there is an increase in sex hormones called androgens. These excess hormones cause oil glands to become overactive, enlarge and produce too much oil or sebum which blocks the pores or hair follicles with skin cells (how does sugar cause acne?). Types of pimple in teens include: Whiteheads (small and under the skin), Blackheads (visible and black on surface), Pimples or cysts (seen clearly, painful, full of pus and cause scars if not treated carefully).

Acne in Adults: Adult acne is not much different from teen acne. It usually occurs after 25 years of age. There can be many reasons behind this sudden change including unhealthy diet- junk foods, deep fried eatables (how does sugar cause acne?), heavy make-up (which clogs the pores of the skin), hormonal imbalance (which enables production of excess sebum), release of stress hormones, bacterial infection and inflammation (what are some anti-inflammatory foods?). Applying a layer of cinnamon powder mixed with honey can help with treating the scars. Potato juice mixed with lemon juice also works similarly.

Studies suggest that following healthy diet can help to cure acne. Foods rich in complex carbohydrates, zinc, vitamin A and E, omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants are effective in reducing acne.

  • Complex Carbohydrates: Having whole grains and less of processed food and flours reduces risk of developing acne. Our modern diet is loaded with highly refined carbs like cookies, white bread, cake, pasta, pizza donuts, chips etc. (what happens when we eat such foods?) A quick look at the food label GI index can reduce chances of getting acne. High GI index indicates the food is processed. Rich source of complex carbs are whole grains, legumes and whole fruits and vegetables.

Zinc: Studies support the fact that eating foods rich in zinc may be useful in preventing and treating acne by decreasing the production of oil in the skin. Researchers believe that zinc shields the body cells from any external bacterial or viral attack on them. (what are other sources of good bacteria?)It is easy to include zinc as a part of a varied diet. Dairy products nuts, pumpkin seeds lentils etc are good sources of zinc.

  • Vitamin A: Vitamin A acts as antioxidant and fights free radicals (what are they?). This helps to slow down cell ageing and keeps skin looking younger. Vitamin A plays an important role in helping new cells grow and stay healthy by healing acne and scars. Food rich in vitamin A which can help in acne prevention are yellow/ orange pigment plants such as carrots, sweet potatoes and green pigment plant food like spinach, broccoli (how to keep the vitamin A in food safe during cooking?)
  • Vitamin E: This is also used as an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant (What are they?). As vitamin E oil is fat soluble vitamin, it allows for quick absorption into skin sebum to heal acne and scars. It also helps the skin to lock moisture and promotes the production of collagen which strengthens the skin and may help with skin elasticity and hydration. All nuts and seeds, especially walnuts and sunflower seeds, corn, olives, avocado, soybean, fortified cereals are considered as foods high in vitamin E.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids: They can regulate the skin oil production and improve balanced hydration. A diet rich in omega-3s may help to prevent or reduce the severity of acne. It reduces inflammation on the skin too, which research states, may positively result in reduction of acne. Flax seed, chia seeds, walnuts, soybeans and fish like salmon, tuna, sardines are rich source of this fat (Is fat good or bad for body?).

Recipe for Whole Grain Pizza cups

Dough:

  • Equal part Ragi flour or amaranth flour or Rye flour or Sorghum flour (any two)
  • Add salt and oregano
  • Add 2 tbsp psyllium husk (optional but good)
  • 1 boiled sweet potato
  • 1 tsp yeast (optional)
  • water or yogurt to knead
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast (optional but good)
  • Mix all this together into a sticky dough and leave to rise for 2-3 hours covered lightly with a cotton cloth and loose lid.

Stuffing:

  • Sprouts of any kind (pea sprout, alfaalfa etc)
  • Cheddar cheese or any
  • chopped onions
  • chopped tomato
  • basil, pine nut, sesame spread (blend basil, garlic, pine nuts and sesame seeds, nut milk in a thick smooth paste form) or just use any other nut spread blended with basil

Follow video instructions below

Read more blogs:

WHAT IS CAUSING MY CHILD’S HAIR TO FALL OUT AND HOW DO I TREAT IT?

As you get older, you notice that your hair starts falling out. Losing hair can be upsetting for anyone, at any age. But seeing your child’s hair fall out could come as a real shock. Many of the causes aren’t serious. Still, losing hair can take a toll on a child’s emotional well-being at a certain age. There are many possible causes of hair fall in children, broadly categorized by infection, physical cause, autoimmune cause and reactive cause. Hair fall in children is commonly caused due to fungal or bacterial infections, the most common in kids being scalp ringworm, which is a treatable fungal infection.

Whether your child has thinning hair or distinct bald spots, the loss of hair can be frightening.

CAUSES OF HAIR FALL:

Tinea Capitis: It is the most common paediatric infection worldwide. It is a kind of contagious fungal infection and usually spread by coming in contact with infected hairs on comb, brushes, hats, or pillow cases. It is also possible to catch ringworm from infected animals such as dogs, cats, horses or farm animals.

Alopecia areata:- It is an autoimmune disease that causes hair loss in children. About 1 out of every 1,000 children has the localized version called alopecia areata. It happens when the body’s immune system, which normally fights infections, attacks the hair follicles. This disrupts hair growth. The hair loss that comes with alopecia areata can be upsetting, but it is not contagious.

Telogen effluvium:- Hair is an epidermal appendage. It has a regular cycle of phases where hair grows (anagen), rest (telogen) and has a transition phase (catagen). Telogen effluvium is one of the most common causes of diffuse hair loss. During this phase, hairs shed with more than normal amount of hair loss over a short period of time. Diffuse hairs are lost over weeks to months and more hairs are shed if pulled.

Nutritional deficiency:- Iron deficiency is world’s most common deficiency and is a well known cause of hair loss. Good nutrition is essential for a healthy body and for healthy hairs too. When kids don’t get enough vitamins, minerals, and protein, their hair can fall out. Nutritional deficiency may impact both hair structure and hair growth. Data from studies suggests that vitamin D plays a role in hair follicle cycling. A small trial from 2010 found that vitamin E improved hair growth in people with hair loss. It’s thought that the vitamin’s antioxidants properties help reduce oxidative stress in the scalp.

Blow and dry:- Blow and dry can also damage hair and cause it to hair fall out. Excess heat from blow-drying or straightening can harm hairs to a great extend. It’s not advisable to blow it and dry everyday to minimise heat exposure.

Hair ties:- Pulling your child’s hair back into a tight ponytail, braid or bun causes trauma to the hair follicles. Keep ponytails and braids loose to prevent hair loss. Hair can also fall out if child brushes or combs it too hard. Be gentle on hairs.

NUTRITIONAL SUPPLEMENTS TO CURE HAIR LOSS IN CHILDREN:

Mostly Vitamin Bs- Riboflavin (B2), biotin (b7), folate (B9) and B12 deficiencies have been associated with hair loss.

  • Riboflavin (vitamin B2) plays a crucial role in hair growth by activating vitamin B6 and B3; these two vitamins are key to hair development. Vitamin B6 also gives hair melanin and is known to prevent hair loss. You can get good amount of riboflavin by eating a variety of foods including: Dairy, yogurt, cheese, eggs, black/ wild rice, mushroom, brinjal.

Biotin (vitamin B7) plays an important role in the growth of healthier, thicker hair. It’s also one of the only natural hair loss treatments backed up by science, with study data showing that use of biotin can show a remarkable increase in hair growth in people with a deficiency. Foods that contain the most biotin includes almonds, walnuts, fruits like avocado, bananas and certain vegetables like sweet potatoes, tomato.

  • Folic acid (vitamin B9) deficiency may leads to thinning hairs and hair loss in kids and in adults as well. It is responsible for healthy cell growth. These cells are found inside skin tissues, hairs, and nails. Foods that contain high amount of folate include dark green leafy vegetables like asparagus, broccoli, avocado, beetroot, sunflower seeds, peanuts, beans, legumes.
  • Vitamin B12 promotes healthy hair growth by producing oxygen rich red blood cells, which feed hair follicles. Hair is made up of protein called keratin which is a dead substance that is why it doesn’t hurt when you get your hair cut. Cheese, milk, fortified cereals, mushrooms, eggs are great sources of vitamin B12.

Recipe for Raisin Cookie

  • Equal part semolina, wheat flour, oats and half part melon seeds and half sunflower seeds
  • One Handful raisins or dried berries or mix of both (puréed with little milk)
  • Honey (as per more sweetness)
  • Pinch salt
  • Cinnamon powder (¼ tsp)
  • 2 tbsp ghee or unsalted butter (heaped spoon)
  • Milk as little as to make firm dough (if needed)

Roll in between two baking/parchment papers. Preheat oven for 5 min. Place rolled cookie with baking sheet on the middle rack. Bake as a single piece at 200 for 15 min. Once edges begin to brown, take it out. Cool on rack. Once completely cool, spread melted dark chocolate on it. Break the cookie as you like or just eat rightaway.

Read more blogs: