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Long-lasting Energy For Kids

To keep up with the demands of school, extracurricular activities, sports and friendships, kids often need a bit of an energy boost. Growing kids Children and adolescents are going through massive periods of growth and development, and this means they need plenty of food. In fact, young teens need more calories than any other stage


To keep up with the demands of school, extracurricular activities, sports and friendships, kids often need a bit of an energy boost.

Growing kids

Children and adolescents are going through massive periods of growth and development, and this means they need plenty of food. In fact, young teens need more calories than any other stage of life. Unfortunately, this is also a time when many girls intentionally diet to restrict calories. By age 15, over 75% of girls reported dieting at some point.1 Not only can this lead to low energy, but there is potential for nutritional deficiencies when total food and calories are insufficient. Remember, it’s not just growing boys that need to eat more, girls do too!

Rather than aiming for a specific calorie goal (as this changes based on things like height and activity levels), encourage your children to eat until they’re full, neither overeating nor undereating, and focus on a varied diet filled with complex carbohydrates (like whole grain bread, beans, sweet potato, quinoa and brown rice), a rainbow of fruits and veggies, fats and protein. Try my recipe for delicious overnight oats, full of complex carbohydrates to keep kids energised until lunchtime.

Adding a product like Kids Good Stuff (or even Good Green Vitality for adolescents) to their daily routine is a great way to ensure they are getting all the vitamins and minerals their bodies need to thrive.

Specific nutrients for energy

  • Carbohydrate is the body’s preferred energy source, and the only source that our brains can use. Simple carbohydrates (like white bread and sugar) are used quickly, while complex carbohydrates (like brown bread, wholemeal pasta, fruits and veggies and beans) give us longer lasting energy. Try to include complex carbs with each meal and snack to boost energy.
  • Protein takes longer for your body to break down and turn into energy so it is a longer lasting energy source that also provides satiety (minimising the risk of reaching for sugary snacks). Kids Good Stuff is a plant-based smoothie mix with 8g a protein in every serve.  
  • B vitamins help our bodies extract the energy from the food we’ve eaten,2 so it’s important to make sure your children’s diets have enough of them. This can be easy as B vitamins are found in a wide range of foods including meat, dairy, eggs, beans and lentils, and seeds (especially sunflower). If your child is vegan, however, they will need to eat food fortified with vitamin B12 or take a supplement like Kids Good Stuff (which is packed with a full spectrum of B vitamins), as this vitamin only occurs naturally in animal products.
  • Iron is needed to transport oxygen around the body and to the brain.2 If you’ve ever been in a closed room full of people with no open windows, you’re probably familiar with that dozy feeling that low oxygen produces. To avoid this, make sure your children are eating plenty of iron-rich foods, not just meat, but beans and red lentils, chia and hemp seeds, spinach and tofu can all help to boost iron. Having a source of vitamin C at the same time (from oranges, of course, but also capsicum, kiwi, tomatoes and broccoli) can help the body absorb more iron. Only give your child an iron supplement if their doctor has advised it; not everyone’s body can process excess iron, and it’s much easier for our bodies to regulate it from food sources.

Sleep hygiene

It might sound obvious, but helping your kids get a good night’s sleep is crucial for ensuring their energy lasts all day, and there are several ways to encourage this. The routines and activities we do before bed are labelled ‘sleep hygiene’; good sleep hygiene promotes good quality sleep, while poor sleep hygiene tends to disrupt sleep.

Good sleep hygiene tips include:

  • Make sure your children wake up and go to bed at the same time every day, even weekends. While it might not make you popular, it really helps set kids’ body clocks so they aren’t overtired come morning.
  • Make their bedroom restful. A comfy mattress, nice bedding and a dark, clutter-free room can all promote good sleep.
  • Stretching, yoga or meditating before bed can help to calm the mind if they are worriers. Get the family involved and do it together to promote restful sleep in everyone!
  • Enforce a ‘no screens’ rule an hour or so before bedtime. The blue light from screens can disrupt the hormones which make us sleepy; fast-paced, bright tv shows and social media can also be very stimulating for the brain making it harder to switch off at night.
  • Adding a couple of drops of lavender essential oil to a warm bath is a great way to relax before bedtime. For older children who prefer showers, a lavender body lotion or pillow spray are good options.

References:

  1. Hohman EE, Balantekin KN, Birch LL, et al. Dieting is associated with reduced bone mineral accrual in a longitudinal cohort of girls. BMC Public Health 2018;18(1):1285.
  2. Tardy AL, Pouteau E, Marquez D, et al. Vitamins and minerals for energy, fatigue and cognition: A narrative review of the biochemical and clinical evidence. Nutrients 2020;12(1):pii:E228.

The Power of Kids Good Stuff

How diet and supplementation support hair regrowth in autoimmune hair-loss.


A recent paper has been published in the Cureus Journal of Medicine in which an eight-year-old patient achieved remission of Alopecia areata (AA) through the use of diet and supplementation including Nuzest’s Kids Good Stuff in the regimen. 

What is Alopecia areata (AA)?

AA is a common autoimmune condition targeting the hair follicles causing ‘spot baldness’ (or more extensive) hair loss in individuals. Autoimmune diseases are conditions that trigger the immune system to attack part of your own body; in the case of AA, the hair follicles are targeted, contributing to an individual’s presentation of hair loss. White blood cells attack healthy hair follicle cells, causing them to shrink and fall out. This is often present on the scalp in small patches, however, hair loss can occur over other parts of the body. 

Hair loss is a physical, external sign which may indicate that something is going on within the body. Nutrient deficiencies, hormonal imbalances, thyroid disorders and pharmaceutical drugs are just a few factors that may contribute to hair loss. 

The Case Study & Case Presentation

A case study by Cliff J. Harvey published in November 2020 reports the treatment of AA through the use of combined diet and supplementation.[1] The patient was an eight-year-old male who presented with AA.

Advice was provided to the patient’s parents to increase zinc, vitamin A and vitamin D-rich foods, to avoid gluten and dairy where possible, and to focus on a whole foods diet reducing intake of processed ‘packaged’ foods.[1]

The supplementation regimen consisted of our Kids Good Stuff multi-nutrient powder which is rich in vitamins A, D3, zinc and secondary antioxidant nutrients; paired with a zinc sulfate supplement and a fish oil with added vitamin D. Lifestyle advice was also given to spend 5-10 min outside daily. 

Key micronutrients including vitamin D, zinc and vitamin A were supplemented through a daily dose of Kids Good Stuff. Per 15g serve the following amount of key micronutrients were provided: 

  • Vitamin A – 400μg RE
  • Zinc – 6mg
  • Vitamin D3 – 10μg

The Results

After following the prescribed dietary and supplement regimen for two months, the patient’s hair was seen to grow back. After five months, it was reported the patient achieved complete remission, with evidence that the patient’s hair had completely recovered. Additional research suggests there is a relationship between the incidence and severity of AA and several micronutrients, including vitamin D, zinc and vitamin A.[2]

Read the full case report here.

The Benefits of Kids Good Stuff

Kids Good Stuff is an all-in-one nutritional support formula providing the right balance of vitamins and minerals to fill nutritional gaps in a child’s diet. It’s true that even as adults, many of us don’t get all the essential micronutrients that we need to thrive from diet alone and without vital nutrients we can’t perform and feel out best – this rings true for kids too! 

Insufficient intakes of nutrients increase rapidly from infancy. For example, from the age of 2-4 to 14-18, around 1/3 of males and over ¼ females don’t consume sufficient vitamin A and for boys and men, zinc insufficiency consistently rises from childhood to over 2/3 of the male population by adulthood.[3] The major reason being, we are not getting everything we need from diet alone as diets high in refined and processed foods are favoured. 

Kids Good Stuff is not a substitute for healthy, balanced meals, but is a daily supplementation to help support the health and growth of our kids. The nutrient rich formula includes microalgae, mushrooms, vegetables and high polyphenol fruit and berry extracts which provides an array of phytonutrients, trace and ultra-trace minerals necessary for proper absorption and utilisation of the vitamins, minerals and nutrients in kids. Each ingredient works together in a range of different functions, supporting all 11 systems of the body, including the integumentary system (hair, skin and nails). 

Kids Good Stuff was designed specifically with children’s needs in mind. It’s packed full of vitamins, minerals and other great stuff to set kids up for a good day and to support and nourish their growing bodies.


References:

[1] https://www.cureus.com/articles/42894-combined-diet-and-supplementation-therapy-resolves-alopecia-areata-in-a-paediatric-patient-a-case-study

[2]ABS. Australian Health Survey: Nutrition First Results‐Foods and Nutrients, 2011‐12. Australian Bureau of Statistics Canberra; 2014.  

[3]https://www.researchgate.net/publication/316992207_The_Role_of_Micronutrients_in_Alopecia_Areata_A_Review

Alex Hamlin

Better Nutrition for Better Behaviour

The most important meal of the day That’s right, breakfast! If you’ve ever run out of the door without breakfast on a workday, you’re probably familiar with the distraction that hunger can cause. This is no different in children – attention and memory are improved in children that have breakfast compared to those who don’t,


The most important meal of the day

That’s right, breakfast! If you’ve ever run out of the door without breakfast on a workday, you’re probably familiar with the distraction that hunger can cause. This is no different in children – attention and memory are improved in children that have breakfast compared to those who don’t, and some types of breakfast seem to improve attention more than others. For example, children who ate low GI (or glycaemic index – a measure of how quickly your blood sugar rises after a meal) breakfasts saw greater improvement in attention than those who had high GI breakfasts.1 Common high GI breakfast foods are white bread, high-sugar cereal and baked goods like muffins and pastries, whereas low GI options include oatmeal, eggs and wholemeal toast.

Examples of how to turn a high GI breakfast into a low GI one below:

Of course, it’s a little reductive to say that it’s only breakfast that is important when thinking about attention and behaviour in children. Making sure children eat regularly through the day and focussing on low GI foods ensures they have sustainable energy to focus and helps to reduce the poor behaviour that often arises from hunger.

Specific nutrients to help

As well as ensuring that children eat regularly, it can be helpful to ensure adequate intake of a few key nutrients.

  • Magnesium, in concert with Calcium, helps calm the nervous system by regulating nerve firing and reducing over-excitation of the nervous system. For diets low in magnesium, supplementation might help to reduce anxiety. Check out this anxiety supplements which might help you a lot.
  • B Vitamins support all areas of health and mood; in particular B6 supplementation (with magnesium) has demonstrated improvements in symptoms of hyperactivity and aggressiveness in children.3
  • Iron deficiency in children has several symptoms, one of which is poor behaviour, and treatment with supplemental iron can reverse the behavioural symptoms.4 There’s no harm in increasing iron-rich foods in the diet (for example spinach, beans, lentils, tofu and red meat) as our bodies are very good at regulating iron from food sources; however you should only ever give children iron supplements if your doctor has identified an iron deficiency.
  • Zinc insufficiency is associated with a number of behaviour problems including anxiety/depression, withdrawal, emotional reactivity, attention problems and aggressive behaviour.5 Including more beans and lentils, seeds like hemp or pumpkin, nuts like cashews or almonds and dark chocolate can give your kids a boost of zinc in their diets.
  • Omega-3s have been found to improve problems like inattention, hyperactivity and oppositional behaviour in children, both with and without a diagnosis of ADHD (attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder).6 [Hibbeln] As well as oily fish, omega-3s can be found in seaweed, chia seeds, hemp seeds, flax, walnuts and beans.
  • Protein keeps them fuller for longer, helping to avoid afternoon ‘hanger’ tantrums!

To help achieve the levels of nutrients kids needs to thrive, try adding a Kids Good Stuff multivitamin smoothie to their daily routine. It contains over 50 ingredients including magnesium, calcium, B vitamins, naturally occurring iron, zinc and protein.

Things to avoid

Experiment with removing artificial colours, flavour enhancers and preservatives to see if this makes a difference in your child’s behaviour (some children are more sensitive than others); these include:

This can be an overwhelming task and it’s best to work with a professional (like a dietician, nutritionist or naturopath) when making restrictions to a child’s diet.

Allergies and intolerances

Allergies and intolerances don’t always show up as the classic symptoms of rash, itchy throat, bloating or diarrhoea. Behavioural problems can also be a sign of an undiagnosed allergy or intolerance. Speak to your doctor if you suspect this and they can arrange an allergy test for you.


References

  1. Adolphus K, Lawton CL, Champ CL, et al. The effects of breakfast and breakfast composition on cognition in children and adolescents: A systematic review. Adv Nutr 2016;7(3):590S-612S.
  2. Boyle NB, Lawton C, Dye L. The Effects of Magnesium Supplementation on Subjective Anxiety and Stress—A Systematic Review. Nutrients. 2017;9(5):429. 
  3. Mousain-Bosc M, Roche M, Polge A, Pradal-Prat D, Rapin J, Bali JP. Improvement of neurobehavioral dis-orders in children supplemented with magnesium-vitamin B6. I. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorders. Magnes Res. 2006;19(1):46-52.
  4. Mahajan G, Sikka M, Rusia U, et al. Iron profile in children with behavioural disorders: A prospective study in a tertiary care hospital in North India. Indian J Hematol Blood Tranfus 2011;27(2):75-80.
  5. Liu J, Hanlon A, Ma C, et al. Low blood zinc, iron, and other sociodemographic factors associated with behaviour problems in preschoolers. Nutr 2014;6:530-545.
  6. Hibbeln JR, Gow RV. Omega-3 fatty acid and nutrient deficits in adverse neurodevelopment and childhood behaviours. Child Adolesc Psychiatr Clin N Am 2014;23(3):555-590.
  1. Adolphus K, Lawton CL, Champ CL, et al. The effects of breakfast and breakfast composition on cognition in children and adolescents: A systematic review. Adv Nutr 2016;7(3):590S-612S.
  2. Boyle NB, Lawton C, Dye L. The Effects of Magnesium Supplementation on Subjective Anxiety and Stress—A Systematic Review. Nutrients. 2017;9(5):429. 
  3. Mousain-Bosc M, Roche M, Polge A, Pradal-Prat D, Rapin J, Bali JP. Improvement of neurobehavioral dis-orders in children supplemented with magnesium-vitamin B6. I. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorders. Magnes Res. 2006;19(1):46-52.
  4. Mahajan G, Sikka M, Rusia U, et al. Iron profile in children with behavioural disorders: A prospective study in a tertiary care hospital in North India. Indian J Hematol Blood Tranfus 2011;27(2):75-80.
  5. Liu J, Hanlon A, Ma C, et al. Low blood zinc, iron, and other sociodemographic factors associated with behaviour problems in preschoolers. Nutr 2014;6:530-545.
  6. Hibbeln JR, Gow RV. Omega-3 fatty acid and nutrient deficits in adverse neurodevelopment and childhood behaviours. Child Adolesc Psychiatr Clin N Am 2014;23(3):555-590.

Kids Good Stuff – a Parent’s Best Friend

By Nicola Miethke, Clinical Naturopath and Nutritionist  Despite our best efforts as parents to give our children a wholesome, balanced diet filled with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, quality protein and healthy fats, it’s never quite that simple! Perhaps your child is a picky eater and you’re worried that their diet of sausages and


By Nicola Miethke, Clinical Naturopath and Nutritionist 

Despite our best efforts as parents to give our children a wholesome, balanced diet filled with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, quality protein and healthy fats, it’s never quite that simple! Perhaps your child is a picky eater and you’re worried that their diet of sausages and potato every night just isn’t cutting it. Maybe their schedule is so busy or they are so active that it’s hard for them to find the time to eat enough whilst on the go. Or maybe your child has a sensory processing disorder or food allergy/intolerance which limits the variety of foods they are able or willing to eat. Whatever it is, most of children won’t eat everything we give them.

So how we can be sure that our children are getting everything they need for healthy growth and development whilst still having the energy to just be kids?

First and foremost, the priority is continuing your best efforts to help your child get the nutrients they need from a predominantly wholefood, unprocessed diet. But, with various issues affecting our children’s food intake (as mentioned above) and the following statistics to prove it, there are a lot of gaps that need to be filled:

  • 95% of children eat insufficient serves of vegetables
  • 40% of children eat insufficient serves of fruit
  • 40% of our children’s energy intake is from discretionary foods
  • On average, only boys aged 4-11 and girls aged 9-11 meet the recommended daily intake for grains
  • Almost all children aged 4-18 do not meet the recommended serves of dairy products, meat and alternatives1,2,3

In short, almost all children are missing the mark in at least three of the five primary food groups (fruits, vegetables, grains, meats and alternatives, dairy and alternatives) making it very difficult for them to get all the essential vitamins and minerals they need to thrive. “Thrive” being the key word here. The recommended daily intake (RDI) of vitamins and minerals set out by government guidelines are purely a baseline for survival. They do not take into consideration individual needs, activity levels or requirements for optimal wellbeing.

It doesn’t help that we are busier and more time poor than ever, and packaged convenience foods are so readily available. Unfortunately, it’s these foods (biscuits, crackers, muffins, potato and corn chips, snack bars) that children tend to love because they are the highest in sugar, salt and saturated fats, providing them with little other than high levels of kilojoules or what we call “empty calories”. They’re great at keeping them quiet but far from nourishing.

Some of the most common nutritional deficiencies we see in children are vitamin D, vitamin B12, calcium, magnesium, iodine, iron and zinc.4 Approximately 85% of girls aged 12-18 have inadequate calcium intake, 70% have inadequate magnesium levels and 40% are low in iron.2,5  Whilst 60% of boys aged 12-18 have inadequate magnesium levels and 70% don’t get enough calcium.5 It’s also very common for children, particularly teenagers, to show signs of low levels of B group vitamins (such as fatigue, difficulty concentrating and irritability) when the pressures of school life start to create additional stress. The reason why we see these deficiencies creep up as our children get older is because the period between the age of 4 and 14 is characterised by rapid growth, and cognitive and emotional development. Therefore, giving them a strong nutritional foundation during these years is the best strategy for avoiding problems later on.

Is there is an easy solution?

Thank goodness, YES! Nuzest’s Kids Good Stuff (KGS) is the nutritional insurance for our kids that we have all been looking for to put our minds at ease. Adding it to your child’s normal daily diet it will not only fill the gaps to help them reach their RDIs, it will help to ensure they are going above and beyond these recommendations for optimal health, growth and development.  

For example, every serve of KGS contains 200% of the RDI for Vitamin D for children aged 4-14, 261% of Vitamin C, 278% of Vitamin B12, 83% of zinc, 63% of iodine and 21% of calcium. Not to mention a host of other essential vitamins, minerals, fruits, vegetables, herbs, protein and probiotics to support all 11 body systems through this time of rapid growth.

Is Kids Good Stuff easy to take?

One of the things that kids love the most about Kids Good Stuff is that it tastes too good to be healthy. So good that even the fussiest of eaters will be happy to take it. With 8g of the highest quality pea protein per serve, Kids Good Stuff makes the perfect addition to breakfast or is a healthy and satisfying snack all on its own. Alternatively, it can be blended with your children’s favourite smoothie ingredients or added to raw snacks and treats for a nutrient boost.

As a parent, knowing that just one scoop a day can be the difference between your child not getting the nutrients they need to grow and develop properly and your child thriving, it’s an absolute must! It will make you feel confident that you are giving our children the best start in life.  

Why is it better than a regular multivitamin?

If you ask me, Kids Good Stuff is a clear winner over any multivitamin capsule or gummy. Not only do children associate gummies with candy, deeming all varieties of chewy confectionary to be “healthy” to them, but it’s impossible to get all the nutritional support children need in just one small chew or capsule. Because Kids Good Stuff comes in a concentrated powder form with no fillers, it’s able to deliver over 50 ingredients in quantities that will actually have a beneficial effect.

Even more importantly than the quantity though is the quality of the ingredients. And Nuzest have absolutely assured this. Every vitamin, mineral, herb and probiotic in Kids Good Stuff has been selected based on maximum bioavailability, meaning that the body can recognise and absorb every ingredient and none of it goes to waste.

In summary, if you are looking for nutritional insurance to give you peace of mind that your child is getting all the nutrients they need to grow and thrive then there is nothing like Kids Good Stuff. With everything they need for healthy development, strong immunity, good digestion and gut support, healthy bones and long-lasting energy without any of the bad stuff, it’s the best way to keep them happy and healthy from the inside out.

Please note that vitamin and mineral supplements can interact with medications. If your child has been prescribed medication by a GP or specialist, it’s important to consult them before taking a nutritional supplement.

References:

AIHW (2018). Australia’s Health 2018. Retrieved 13 October 2010 from https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/australias-health/australias-health-2018/contents/indicators-of-australias-health/fruit-and-vegetable-intake

AIHW (2018). Nutrition Across the Life Stages. Retrieved 13 October 2020 fromhttps://www.aihw.gov.au/getmedia/fc5ad42e-08f5-4f9a-9ca4-723cacaa510d/aihw-phe-227.pdf.aspx?inline=true

AIHW (2019). Poor Diet in Children. Retrieved 13 October 2020 https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/food-nutrition/poor-diet/contents/poor-diet-in-children

Raising Children Network (2020). Vitamins and Minerals. Retrieved 12 October 2020 from https://raisingchildren.net.au/teens/healthy-lifestyle/nutrients/vitamins-minerals#vitamin-and-mineral-deficiencies-nav-title

ABS (2015). Australian Health Survey: Usual Nutrient Intakes. Retrieved 12 October 2020 from https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/health/health-conditions-and-risks/australian-health-survey-usual-nutrient-intakes/latest-release

Maximising mood in your minis

In the most recent surveys looking at mental health in Australia, almost 1 in 7 children and adults aged 4-17 had been diagnosed with a mental health disorder; nearly half (45%) of adults had been.1 [aihw] As parents, we want to do everything we can to protect our children and try to prevent these illnesses


In the most recent surveys looking at mental health in Australia, almost 1 in 7 children and adults aged 4-17 had been diagnosed with a mental health disorder; nearly half (45%) of adults had been.1 [aihw] As parents, we want to do everything we can to protect our children and try to prevent these illnesses manifesting. Of course, this advice isn’t a cure-all. Sometimes, no matter what we’ve tried, our children will end up with a diagnosis of this kind, but by focussing on good nutrition and lifestyle modifications, we can help to reduce the risk.

Good food for good mood

Like most health states, people of all ages who have, or are at risk for, mental health disorders should aim for a varied diet including a range of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, meat or beans and tofu, nuts and seeds and a few treats. Try to keep sugary, fatty treats as a ‘sometimes’ food – there is some evidence suggesting that diets high in both saturated fat and sugar can affect a substance made in the brain called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (or BDNF); BDNF is often low in people with depression, and when levels increase symptoms of depression can improve.2 [O’Neil] There are a few nutrients we can make extra effort to include which have been shown to be protective against mental health disorders:

  • Omega-3 fats: there are a number of ways that these fats might help to protect against depression. It might be that they protect the brain and its processes, or perhaps that they reduce inflammation (which is commonly seen in people with depression). [Grosso] Science isn’t sure yet, but we do recommend including them in the diet. Oily fish is an excellent source of omega-3s, but seeds like flax and chia, walnuts and soybeans are great vegan sources of omega-3s.
  • Tryptophan: a necessary component of serotonin, the ‘happy hormone’ (low levels of this hormone contribute to both anxiety and depression), tryptophan cannot be made in the body and must be present in adequate amounts in the diet to ensure enough serotonin can be made. Higher intake of tryptophan has been shown to lead to lower rates of depression, irritability and anxiety.3 [Lindseth] Tryptophan is an amino acid – the building blocks of protein – so is usually found in high protein foods like poultry, eggs, dairy, peanuts and pumpkin and sesame seeds. If you prefer a protein powder or shake, look for one that is a ‘complete protein’ like Nuzest’s Clean Lean Protein, this means all the amino acids (and therefore tryptophan) are present.
  • Pre and Probiotics: there is a reason our stomachs are sometimes called our “little brain”. We’ve long known that our brain controls our gut, but we now know that the gut can influence the brain, too. Remember serotonin that we talked about above? About 95% of serotonin is made in the gut,5 [banskota] so it’s important to keep our guts healthy. Taking pre and probiotics can improve the microbiota (the mix of bacteria living in our stomach and intestines), and can reduce anxiety and depression symptoms.6 [liang].

Along with a variety of fruits and vegetables and a full spectrum of vitamins and minerals, Nuzest’s Kids Good Stuff contains 3billion CFU probiotics plus prebiotics from flaxseed, psyllium husk and apple pectin to help protect all aspects of children’s health.

Other lifestyle tips

It’s usually best to approach any illness with a holistic approach – that means not just focussing on symptoms but looking at the body and mind as a whole, and trying more than one treatment. So while you make small tweaks to the diet, you could also encourage some of the following:

  • Meditation and mindfulness can be a great practice for those with anxiety, depression and stress.
  • Sleep can be disturbed in those with poor mental health, aim for good sleep hygiene .
  • Exercise releases endorphins which can boost mood, even a short walk can be beneficial!
  • Socialising can be hard when suffering with depression or anxiety; encourage your children not to isolate themselves and continue seeing friends.

Medical help

This advice is intended to help your children boost their mood and reduce their risk of developing more serious mental health problems like depression and anxiety. If you suspect your child has a problem beyond low mood, it’s best to talk to your GP. Medication shouldn’t be feared! Work with your child’s doctor to find the best medication, if it’s necessary; your GP can also refer your child to a suitable therapist if needed.


References

  1. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Mental health services in Australia. Prevalence, impact and burden. 2020. Canberra: Commonwealth of Australia.
  2. O’Neil A, Quirk SE, Housden S, et al. Relationship between diet and mental health in children and adolescents: A systematic review. Am J Public Health 2014;104(10):e31-e42.
  3. Grosso G, Galvano F, Marventano S, et al. Omega-3 fatty acids and depression: Scientific evidence and biological mechanisms. Oxid Med Cell Longev 2014;2014:313570.
  4. Lindseth G, Helland B, Caspers J.  The effects of dietary tryptophan on affective disorders. Arch Psychiatr Nurs 2015;29(2):102-107.
  5. Banskota S, Ghia JE, Khan WI. Serotonin in the gut: Blessing or a curse. Biochimie 2019;161:56-64.
  6. Liang S, Wu X, Jin F. Gut-brain psychology: Rethinking psychology from the microbiota-gut-brain-axis. Front Integr Neurosci 2018;12:33.

Do Kids Need Multivitamins? An experts opinion

Clinical Nutritionist and Researcher Cliff Harvey explores the research and reveals whether or not kids need multivitamins below. The simple answer to this question is no. Much like adults, kids do not need to take a multivitamin. As a species, humans survived for hundreds of thousands of years without digestive enzyme supplements, and we can


Clinical Nutritionist and Researcher Cliff Harvey explores the research and reveals whether or not kids need multivitamins below.

The simple answer to this question is no.

Much like adults, kids do not need to take a multivitamin. As a species, humans survived for hundreds of thousands of years without digestive enzyme supplements, and we can get all that we need from food, given the right food, lifestyle and environment.

However, there can be compelling reasons to consider a supplement to help support optimal growth and performance.

Do we get the nutrients we need from diet alone?

As adults, many of us don’t get all the essential micronutrients that we need to thrive from diet alone. This is especially true of vitamin A, B1, B6, B12, iron, magnesium, zinc and selenium1,2. Without all of these vital nutrients, we are unable to perform well or have robust good health and this is true for kids too!

Insufficient intakes of nutrients rise rapidly from infancy. From the age of two to four and 14-18, around one third of males and over one quarter of females do not consume sufficient vitamin A. Around one in 10 young women don’t have sufficient vitamin B1 and folate; one in 20 sufficient B12, and one in five sufficient B6. Inadequacy of essential minerals is even more pronounced, with around 80% consuming inadequate amounts of calcium by the age of 18 and over 60% consuming inadequate amounts of magnesium. Iodine, iron, and phosphorus intakes are also particularly concerning in young women, while for boys zinc is reported to be the mineral of concern, with rates of zinc insufficiency rising from almost none at two to four years to over two thirds by older adulthood2.

Why don’t we always get what we need from the diet?

1. We eat more processed food

The major reason for not getting all we need from diet alone is simple; we eat more refined and processed foods. In Australia, around one third or more of our daily energy intake comes from ‘discretionary foods’. Discretionary foods and drinks are “not necessary to provide the nutrients the body needs”. They are rich in energy (calories) and low in the essential and secondary nutrients that are beneficial to overall health2.

Research also indicates that overtime we are eating fewer nutrient-rich whole foods. In fact, it is reported that less than half of us eat the recommended amounts of vegetables and fruit that we should to optimise health3.  There have also been changes noted in our snacking behaviours, with snacking (identified as food consumed outside of meal times) contributing to 35% of total energy intake for over 95% of Australian children (aged 2-6 years).

You can learn more about changes in child snacking behaviours and the resulting health impact in this article.

2. Some foods may be lower in essential nutrients than in the past

US Department of Agriculture data shows that some fresh produce (some vegetables, fruits, and berries) may only provide around half the amounts of some vitamins and minerals that they did in the 1950s4. So, while we have been eating more over time, and taking in more than enough calories and ‘fuel’, we aren’t necessarily getting enough of the ‘little guys’ – the vitamins, minerals and secondary nutrients that help every system of the body run optimally.

There are additional reasons as to why our diets are becoming more insufficient:

  • Increasingly stressful lifestyles which increase our demand for micronutrients.
  • A longer ‘food chain’ (i.e. more time in transport and storage and less local, fresh produce) which can reduce the amounts of nutrients (especially fragile, water-soluble vitamins)
  • Lack of variety in food choices and fewer people choosing wild foods (like previously popular vegetable choices such as dandelion, sow thistle etc.)

How can a multivitamin help kids?

A multivitamin is never a substitute for healthy eating, and the focus should always be on working towards a diet mostly based on natural, unrefined foods. Multivitamins however, can help to ‘fill the gaps’ in nutrition and are considered a safe and effective way to ensure a healthy intake of essential and beneficial nutrients5. In a study of school-age children, memory test scores were improved in children taking a multivitamin6.

Additionally, supplementation to ensure the adequacy of various nutrients including vitamins B, C, D, and zinc and magnesium might help to:

  • Improve migraines7,8
  • Improve growth rates, muscle and blood markers of later health risks913
  • Improve behaviour and cognition1416
  • Reduce respiratory problems1720

Ensuring nutrient density

The shift towards more sugar and ‘ultra-refined’ processed foods has been detrimental to kids’ health, and our key focus should be on encouraging the receptive minds of young people to become reconnected to the REAL food that their growing bodies and active minds need.

  • Try to make at least 80% of what you put in your child’s lunchbox (or on their plate) natural, whole, unprocessed food. Check out our article ‘How to Pack a Healthy Lunchbox’ for healthy meal and snack ideas.
  • Choose natural, unrefined carbohydrate choices (such as sweet potato, yams, potato and some whole, unprocessed grains) over pasta, bread, crackers and other refined choices.
  • Choose water over fruit juices, cordials and soft drink.
  • Get kids eating vegetables early! Much of our food preferences are based on what we ‘learn’ to eat early in life. Kids love to copy what adults do as they like to feel like they have ‘grown up’ responsibility. Get kids involved in the kitchen by getting them to pick the vegetables they would like on their dinner plate or in their lunch box. This will increase the likelihood that they will eat their vegetables whilst teaching them how to make healthier food choices.
  • Use smoothies made with whole, unprocessed foods (such as vegetables, berries, nuts and nut butter, seeds and fruit) as an option in addition to meals to boost vegetable intake. Try this delicious Wild Strawberry Breakfast Smoothie recipe!

Consider a whole food based multinutrient supplement such as Nuzest Kids Good Stuff. Packed full of protein, vitamins and minerals, it has all the elements to set your child up for a good day!