Highly processed foods undermine children’s health in MULTIPLE ways, study warns
(NaturalHealth365) The argument that processed food isn’t good for us is not new. The excess sugar, sodium, chemicals, and non-food substances in these processed foods are well documented. Yet, millions of people don’t seem to understand the dangers.
A new study highlights just how harmful these foods are for children and how severely they impact their health in many ways. Hopefully, what you’re about to read will help to change the food buying habits of parents around the world.
Ultra-processed foods adversely affect kids’ cardiovascular fitness
There has been abundant research showing how highly processed foods affect adults, particularly regarding the increased risk of cardiovascular disease. However, little has been said about children – until now.
The study found that children in the 3 to 5 age group who consumed high amounts of ultra-processed foods experienced poor locomotor skills – significantly lower than children who did not consume those foods. Additionally, children in the 12 to 15 age group who consumed a high amount of ultra-processed foods exhibited markedly lower cardiovascular fitness than children who did not.
Teaching children healthy eating habits early on has long-term positive impact
We typically think of adults with chronic health conditions from unhealthy diets. Still, more and more researchers are bringing children into the picture and showing that healthy eating habits must be established early in childhood so that they are more apt to maintain healthy eating and exercise habits as adults.
What’s more, chronic conditions are becoming more prevalent in children, and much of that is due to diet. Therefore, it is important to instill healthy habits such as diet, exercise, and stress management early in life so that children are better equipped to navigate the ultra-processed world they live in and carry those good habits into adulthood.
What are ultra-processed foods?
Ultra-processed foods are those that have gone through processing and are prepackaged and ready to eat. These foods include soda, packaged snacks, sweetened juices, breakfast cereals, hotdogs, candies, chicken nuggets, yogurts, prepackaged pizza, and canned soups.
The frozen food aisle is riddled with these types of foods that have extensive ingredient lists and contain many chemicals and other substances that most people can’t even pronounce. Any of the prepackaged foods on store shelves typically fall under this category.
Basically, it’s all the convenience foods that people grab because they are too tired or too busy to cook or prepare a wholesome meal. Convenience is a wonderful thing, but not at the expense of our health – or our children’s health.
How to avoid ultra-processed foods?
You can avoid ultra-processed foods by selecting whole, natural (organic) foods. This includes lots of vegetables and fruits, grass fed meats, wild-caught fish, pasture-raised eggs, nuts, seeds, sea vegetables and sprouts. There are a number of quick and easy recipes out there that incorporate these fresh whole foods, and the result is a lot healthier.
You may also want to try your hand at meal prepping. You can prepare several meals beforehand and then grab them when needed. There’s a lot of information on the internet now about meal prep because it has become extremely popular. Of course, you can also add some juicing and smoothie recipes into your weekly routine.
Meal planning may take a little time and effort, but the rewards are really worth it. We must never forget: a child’s health is well worth the effort … making your family stronger than ever.
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