If you and your children have experienced trauma, like abuse or neglect, then you understand what it’s like to live with toxic stress in your life. We can’t always shield our children from such negative experiences, but we can do things to help them recover. Today we’re going sharing some practical and easy ways nutrition helps children exposed to toxic stress.
Toxic Stress and Children’s Health
Childhood trauma, or adverse childhood experiences (ACES) are events involving abuse, neglect, addiction, and mental illness. Children who experienced these ACEs are risk for toxic stress. The earlier you recognize the symptoms and get help, the sooner your child can begin healing.
Toxic stress affects children in many ways, including the brain, heart, immune system, hormones, and development. You might notice your little having trouble concentrating or coping with emotionally. He or she may get colds, ear infections, and asthma more often. Long term stress creates a risk of high blood pressure and heart disease as adults. Stress can lead to obesity and change puberty’s time table.
If your child has had trouble coping, seems have trouble sleeping, his or her eating habits have changed, or symptoms that aren’t normal are signs your child needs some extra loving care to help them recover. And one of those ways you can help them is through nutrition.
Encourage Healthy Eating Habits
If your child has been through a trauma, it’s like you and your entire family has also been affected. Luckily, your whole family will benefit from these tips. The first is encouraging healthy eating habits. That means changing out junk food, take out meals, and processed foods for healthier choices. Children, follow the example of parents. Plan healthy meals together. Let the kids help find healthy meal ideas you all can enjoy. Have healthy snacks available like fruits and low sugar treats handy.
By decreasing the intake of sugar and refined foods, your child will be eating a more balanced, nutrient rich diet. They will be less at risk for obesity and a low immunity.
Encourage Vitamin Supplements
Like you read earlier the immune system takes a hit when the body tries to cope with toxic stress. It makes it even more important for a child to get enough vitamins and minerals to grow up healthy. Children are also often finicky making it hard for them to get a balanced amount of vitamins that foods can provide when you eat a larger variety. Help you child to fill in the gaps with a vitamin & mineral supplement.
Encourage Cooking Together
Cooking together is often one of the best memories you can give your children. They love being a part of baking or cooking a meals. It teaches them how food is prepared. Children feel proud by their accomplishments making food. And, they enjoy having a close and engaging time with you. It’s very therapeutic for all the family.
Some ways can include letting children be a part of the meal planning and shopping. They learn a life skill and it boosts their self-worth. Let them perform age appropriate tasks with your supervision. If you’re a super busy parent, you could adapt method of making meals ahead of time with your children’s help. Prepare dinners ahead of time and pop them in the freezer for later. Then it’s just a matter of picking one and putting in the crock pot. The kids will love being involved!
We sadly can’t always protect children from being exposed to situations that create toxic stress. But we can do our best to help them recover by using one the main parts of their lives: nutrition. It not only protects them from physical risks, but also gives them skills and happy memories.