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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!

Food for Thought: Back to School Tips for Boosting Kids’ Brain Health

With back-to-school time imminent, our resident Naturopath Stephanie Sarulidis delves deeper into what we can do to boost our kids’ brain health to help them excel at school this upcoming year. It’s about that time of year that we start ticking off the list to make sure we have everything ready for sending our kids


With back-to-school time imminent, our resident Naturopath Stephanie Sarulidis delves deeper into what we can do to boost our kids’ brain health to help them excel at school this upcoming year.

It’s about that time of year that we start ticking off the list to make sure we have everything ready for sending our kids back to school. Backpack. Books. Stationary. School uniform. Shoe polish…and the list goes on. And while all of these elements are important, there is one thing we can do to help make sure that this next year of school will be even more of a success; fuel our kids with foods that help to boost brain health, optimise cognition, and support memory and focus so they have everything they need to live, learn, grow and play.

Foods for Energy

Kids use up a lot of energy and not just on the playground. In fact, it is now well established that our brains account for up to 20% of our daily energy budget1, making it the most energy-consuming organ in the human body. But this also means that our kids need a decent amount of nutrient-dense fuel to get through a day at school. If your kid struggles to focus all day at school, it might simply be that they are not eating enough to sustain the energy they need to get through a day in the classroom.

Our top foods for kids’ brain energy are…

1. Wholegrains, Fruits and Vegetables

The brain consumes more than 50% of dietary carbohydrates, with approximately 80% of those being used for energy purposes alone2. As such, carbohydrates are an extremely important macronutrient to consume for brain energy. However, not all carbohydrates are created equal.

Low glycaemic index (GI) carbohydrates, referring to carbohydrates that are digested slower and have a reduced impact on post-prandial (post-meal) blood glucose (sugar) response, have been shown to be the preferential choice when it comes to supporting sustained energy release3. This means your littles one stay fuller for longer and don’t go through peaks and troughs throughout the day – better for mood, energy and focus.

Our favourite low GI carbohydrates include wholegrains (such as whole- or multigrain breads, cereals, legumes, rice), and fruits and vegetables (think berries, stone fruit, kiwis, carrots, celery, broccoli, zucchini and tomatoes).

Studies on children found that consuming low GI foods helps to improve the quality and duration of intellectual performance2. Furthermore, on studies across all ages, it was found that poorer glycaemic control (perpetuated by consuming high GI foods such as highly refined sugars and junk food) is associated with impaired cognitive function and lower performances on tests of memory2.

Interestingly, low GI foods tend to be higher in fibre than their high GI counterparts. In studies, the presence of dietary fibre has shown to be associated with higher alertness ratings and less perceived stress2.If you consider all the extra micronutrients you get from these foods on top of their low GI benefits, it is easy to see why wholegrains, fruits and vegetables are extremely important for kids’ energy at school2.

2. Legumes, Nuts and Dark Leafy Greens

The collective effect of the B vitamins are particularly important to numerous aspects of brain function including energy and neurotransmitter production, and the synthesis of numerous neurochemicals and signalling molecules4.And while most studies focus on the small sub-set of B9, B6 and B12, evidence suggests that adequate levels of all eight B vitamins, including B1, B2, B3, B5 and biotin (B7) as well, is essential for optimal physiological and neurological functioning.

This is in fact so much so, that observations from human research clearly shows that a significant proportion of the population of developed countries suffer from deficiencies or insufficiencies of the B vitamins, and that in the absence of an optimal diet, supplementation of the B vitamins is recommended for preserving brain health4. Foods that contain a variety of the B vitamins include legumes, mushrooms, nuts, wholegrain cereals, leafy vegetables, eggs and high quality meats and fish.

Foods for Brain Health: learning, concentration, memory and focus

Having enough energy to get through the day is the first of the fundamentals for a great day at school. Next on the list though, is ensuring your kids get enough of the good stuff to help support learning, concentration, memory and focus to help put that energy to good use.

Our top foods for kids’ concentration, memory and focus are…

1. Protein

Protein occurs in all living cells and is an important macronutrient for children’s growth and development5. And when it comes to brain health, high quality protein sources are required to allow your child’s brain to grow, develop and function adequately.

The central nervous system (CNS) where your brain lives, requires numerous amino acids found in protein foods for the production and function of various neurotransmitters (the connections between cells in your brain that help you learn and allow your body to follow your brains’ instructions), cognitive performance and balanced mood6.

Protein foods also tend to be good sources of B-vitamins, and help to balance blood sugar levels and provide long-lasting sustainable energy. Our top choices of protein include nuts, seeds and fatty fish (because these also include omega-3 fats), pulses, legumes and lean free-range meat and poultry.

2. Avocados, Walnuts, Flaxseeds and Chia Seeds

About 60% of your brain is made up of fat, half of which is comprised of omega-3 fatty acids7. Omega-3s are utilised to build brain and nerve cells, and are essential for learning and memory7,8. In particular, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA – one of the fatty acids that make up omega-3) is vital for normal brain function, and optimal visual and cognitive development. However, it’s a nutrient that usually has low intake amongst children, thus impacting their cognitive capacity9.

One systematic review, published in Nutrients journal, confirmed the importance of DHA in cognition, behaviour and school performance in healthy school-age children, and in particular the benefit of supplementing with DHA to combat the low intake amongst this age group9.  Foods such as avocados, walnuts, flaxseeds, chia seeds and fatty fish are all great, natural sources of omega-3 and DHA.

3. Cruciferous Vegetables, Nuts, Seeds and Wholegrains

Choline is an essential nutrient for normal brain development and function, cognitive processes and memory10. Thankfully, many common foods contain choline, such as quinoa, almonds, walnuts, mushrooms, broccoli, peas, carrots, oranges, bananas, apples, kiwifruit and eggs.

More than half of dietary choline is consumed as phosphatidylcholine, with one of the richest source of phosphatidylcholine being found in lecithin11. In fact, lecithin, a component of sunflowers and their seeds, has been used to help support the management of cognitive decline and impairment due to its concentration of phosphatidycholine11.

4. Water

Water is essential for life. Not only is it the major contributing factor to our body’s build, it is also an essential component for carrying nutrient to cells. In other words, without water, none of the nutrients on this page would be able to get to where they need to go, to do what they need to do.

In terms of brain health specifically, studies show that water plays an important part in brain function and cognitive performance. So much so that a 1% or more body water deficit can impair focus, attention and short-term memory12.

The longest time we go without water is during the eight hours that we sleep overnight, so it is important for children to have a glass of water in the morning to help prep their brain for the big day ahead. It is also important that kids have frequent water throughout the day to help maintain proper hydration.

Foods for Protection

Being a kid can be taxing. And while we yearn for our younger years where we were vibrant, full of energy and free of taxes, it’s important to remember that kids do experience stress, especially due to changing societal expectations and the impact of learning, playing and growing day-in and day-out.

While stress is a normal part of everyday life, too much stress can be detrimental to a child’s brain health, cognitive and emotional development13. And while we can’t avoid stress entirely, there are ways you can help to reduce the impact of, and protect against, normal stress on your child’s body and brain.

Our top foods for protecting kids’ brain health are…

1. Berries

Antioxidants are elements that protect your brain against oxidative stress, which you can otherwise think about as protecting your brain against wear and tear14. Fruits that are brightly coloured, such as berries, are high in antioxidants, and as a general rule of thumb, the more brightly coloured, the more nutrient dense they are.

Blueberries in particularly are renowned for being one of the most potent sources of antioxidants, and are known to support brain function, reduce inflammation and display neuroprotective (brain protective) properties14. All berries, however, do contain antioxidant properties, plus they’re colourful and delicious and kids love them! So, don’t forget about strawberries, cranberries, raspberries, goji or acai berries.

2. Dark Leafy Greens

True to the rule of vibrantly coloured health, dark leafy greens, including spinach and kale, are a potent vegetable source of vitamin C, which is known to be a vital antioxidant molecule in the brain15. They are also a great source of vitamin K, which is essential in healthy bone development16.

3. Nuts and Seeds

Not only are they full of protein and essential fatty acids, nuts and seeds are also great natural sources of vitamin E and selenium, which are two of the key nutritional antioxidants. While nuts may not be allowed at schools, sunflower seeds (whether whole or in a spread) are a great option for nut-free zones. They contain all the goodness listed above plus have the added benefits of being one of the most well-known sources of lecithin. They’re a tiny powerhouse packed with so much nutrition18.

While all of these foods are at the top of our list for kids’ brain health, we understand that eating all of these in the right amounts every day can be challenging for even the most diligent of households.

Thankfully, multinutrient formulas such as Nuzest Kids Good Stuff helps to provide your kids with all the important nutrients they need, including those listed above, in a delicious formula that can simply be mixed with water and enjoyed. Formulated specifically with kids’ needs in mind, made with real fruit and veg, and designed to help fill nutritional gaps in their daily diets, Nuzest Kids Good Stuff provides the perfect balance to give your kid everything they need to live, learn, grow and play – all in one daily serve.

See our article How to Pack a Healthy Lunchbox for lunchbox packing tips from our in-house dietitian Rachel Hawkins!