July 18, 2014 in Quotes
As part of our newest series of blogs, we are going to address some of the misconceptions people have about asthma. When people are misinformed about the concrete facts when it comes to their health, the decisions they make can have a negative impact on their overall quality of life. Our mission is to inform readers about how to take care of their bodies so that healthy living can be incorporated into everyday routine.
Despite the persistent rumours that asthma is a childhood disease that most people grow out of in adulthood, the reality is that asthma is chronic treatable health condition. This myth originates from the tendency for asthma symptoms to become better as a person enters adolescence and adulthood. However, there remains no cure for asthma and even though the symptoms may lessen in intensity, the condition will not completely disappear.
The key to not allowing your asthma to control your life is to seek out immediate diagnosis and treatment if you believe you are suffering with symptoms. For concerned parents, it is important to also consider the possibility that the products you introduce into your home may contain chemicals that may cause asthma and allergies. According to the Environmental Working Group and the University of Birmingham, there are 45 studies that propose a link between certain plastics chemicals found in consumer products and asthma. Be sure to check out the links in the resource section for a detailed account of what substances are under question.
Environmental Working Group – Phthalate-Induced Asthma: Gasping For Breath
Public Health Agency of Canada – Asthma
Asthma Society of Canada – The Top 10 Asthma Myths
We all know that a balanced diet is good for children and adults alike. A nutritious diet full of vitamins and minerals is important because it helps promote healthy growth and development. Other nutrients like protein that helps build healthy muscle and tissue; fat for energy; calcium that supports bone and teeth structure; fiber that keeps the body’s digestive system smooth are also key and essential in a child’s daily diet.
Here are the five types of food that are proven to be great for a child’s growth and development:
Fruits with Peel
Even though organic produce costs a bit more, it is well worth investing in for the health of you and your child. Eating organic fruits means you do not have to avoid the peel of grapes, apples, nectarines and so on when you feed your child these fruits. The peel of fruits contain a significant amount of nutrients and fiber that you do not want to miss out on. Non-organic fruits are most likely contaminated by systemic pesticides or waxing. Just remember to wash fruits because bacteria will still be present, even fruits where you do not eat the peel (e.g. bananas) because your child will handle the fruit skin, spreading the bacterial to the fruit and his/her mouth.
Brown rice is much superior to white rice in terms of its nutritional ingredients. It contains three times more fiber, two times more Vitamin E, B6 and magnesium. Being the ‘unrefined’ version of white rice, it is easier to digest and puts a lighter burden on our stomachs. Brown rice is rich in protein, thiamine, calcium, fiber and
potassium. It also has a low glycemic rating which helps reduce insulin spikes and risk of diabetes.
Bread is made out of flour that originates from grain kernels, usually from wheat. Whole grains contain all parts of the grain kernel, unlike refined grains used to make white bread, where the fiber-dense bran and nutrient-rich germ is processed out, leaving only the starchy endosperm. Refined grains used to make white bread is not as rich in essential fatty acids, vitamin E, magnesium and zinc. The rich content of fiber in whole-grain breads helps us feel full longer, and helps prevent overeating.
Maybe you have heard of the rule that the more colourful a fruit or vegetable is, the healthier it is. Chemicals called phytochemicals give fruits and vegetables their vibrant hues of green, orange, red and purple that are responsible for fighting diseases. Sweet potatoes in particular, are very rich in beta carotene, vitamin E, vitamin B6, potassium and iron. Vitamin A in the vegetable makes your children’s eyes strong, vitamin C in it helps keep their immune system healthy, potassium improves the health of their hearts and muscles. Again, choose the organic type of sweet potatoes because it guarantees that no chemical fertilizers, pesticides were used on it and that it was not genetically modified.
Instead of smearing peanut butters loaded with artificial sugars and partially hydrogenated fat on your children’s toasts, why not reap the essential fats that natural nuts offer? Look for packs of nuts like pistachios,
peanuts, cashews or almonds. Packed with protein, cashews satisfy hunger and provide energy. Almonds are rich in vitamin E, calcium, phosphorous, iron and magnesium. Almonds have been connected to a higher intellectual level and the overall health of the nervous system. Even though a lot of children have nut allergies, it is important to introduce them to the food gradually and in small quantities to make sure if they indeed have the allergy.
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Special needs children seem to have a harder time finding extracurricular activities. Not only are there fewer activities catered to them, they also constantly face seclusion or discrimination from their peers even at after-school activities.
We set out to find suitable extracurricular activities for children with special needs. There are in fact many that would encourage and empower special needs children specifically
Children faced with learning disabilities have a harder time participating in mainstream athletics. Sports such as baseball, football, basketball and soccer are team sports where children have to be chosen to play. Having to stay on the bench all the time defeats self-esteem and emotional health.
However, gymnastics is a sport free for all children; coaches also tend to spend time with the children one-on-one. The Discover Fitness Foundation in Houston, Texas offers gymnastics classes for children with special needs.
Other than gymnastics, music therapy is also an established and proven-successful therapy that helps children with special needs physically, emotionally, cognitively and socially. It is also a lot of fun! Music therapy can improve children’s motor skills, balance, social skills, self-expression, stress management and memory. Music intervention could be especially helpful for children’s growth from six months to six years of age. The American Association of Music Therapy offers list of music therapists in the United States.
Other types of art, such as drama, is a great emotional outlet for creative children with special needs. Given the chance to creatively express themselves in different characters could help children communicate better. There are also opportunities for children in drama to cooperate in completing a production. It encourages children to work together and to develop friendships.
Drawing also helps children who are still learning to express themselves. Children’s art should not be judged upon their skills, but upon their efforts. There is a lot of satisfaction that comes from completing a piece of artwork, which could be proudly displayed in the child’s own home. The city of Ottawa, Canada has a Special Needs Arts Initiative where hands-on visual arts programs are offered to anyone with physical, developmental and mental disabilities.
One more activity that children with special needs could try out is dance. Through dance, children discover what they can do with their body’s movements. Children interact with each other and express themselves with dance moves. The vibrant spirit of dance keeps children constantly active and having fun. Dance allows children to discover their potential and creativity. If you are in Canada, check out Halifax Dance that started a Special Needs Inclusive Movement, which embraces each child’s unique needs and creates a community for children with disabilities.
Could you think of any other after-school programs that are great for special needs children? Share with us in the COMMENTS section below!