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The Bare Truth of Earthing

Earthing

The Bare Truth of Earthing

The Many Happy Benefits of Going Barefoot

EarthingWe all know it feels good. But is going barefoot beneficial to the whole body? Yes! A new phenomenon – actually an ancient tradition – called “earthing” or “grounding,” transfers the electromagnetic energy of the earth into your body. And that means your time on the ground will ripple through your cardiovascular system – and beyond – for better health.

We’ll show you exactly how doffing your shoes, and walking barefoot outside, can increase
your circulation, reduce your inflammation, and even reduce the effects of aging.

What is Earthing?

“The concept of earthing, also known as grounding, was initially developed by Clint Ober. Stated in the simplest terms possible, ‘earthing’ is simply walking barefoot; grounding your body to the Earth.” writes Dr. Joseph Mercola in his article, “Caution: Wearing These Can Sabotage Your Health.”

(Does this sound a little too woo-woo for you? Dr. Mercola, trained in both traditional and alternative medicine, is a board certified family practitioner, served as the chairman of the family medicine department at St. Alexius Medical Center, and was named the Top Ultimate Wellness Game Changer by the Huffington Post.)

How Does Earthing Work?

“Basically, the theory is that our bodies are meant to come into contact with the Earth (a ‘grounding’ force) on a regular basis. Positive electrons in the form of freeEarthing radicals can build up in our bodies and direct contact with the ground balances this out, as it is a negative grounding charge,” reports Katie, The Wellness Mama.

“It looks to me, from my study of biophysics and cell biology, like the body is designed with a semi-conductive fabric that connects everything in the body, including inside of every cell,” says Dr. Oschman in, “An interview with Biophysicist James Oschman PhD on the benefits of Earthing,” from Quantum Health.

[quote]In short: We are naturally wired to be helped and healed by the Earth’s electromagnetic energy. All that is asked of us is our willingness, that we trust enough to try “earthing” and let the energy flow into us, right down to the cellular level.[/quote] Click to Tweet

The Benefits of Going Barefoot

Earthing “Your skin in general is a very good conductor, reports Dr. Mercola. “You can connect any part of your skin to the Earth, but if you compare various parts there is one that is especially potent, and that’s right in the middle of the ball of your foot; a point known to acupuncturists as Kidney 1 (K1). It’s a well-known point that conductively connects to all of the acupuncture meridians and essentially connects to every nook and cranny of your body. Interestingly, grounding—or rather the lack thereof—has a lot to do with the rise of modern diseases.

“Chronic inflammation is a primary cause of virtually all disease, from diabetes to cancer… When you’re grounded there’s a transfer of free electrons from the Earth into your body. And these free electrons are probably the most potent antioxidants known to man… These antioxidants are responsible for the clinical observations from grounding experiments, such as:

  • Beneficial changes in heart rate
  • Decreased skin resistance
  • Decreased levels of inflammation

And there’s more …

Go Bare, Be Younger

“One of dominant theories on aging is the free radical theory,” reports Dr. Mercola. “Which is that aging occurs because of accumulative damage to your body caused by free radicals. You get free radicals when you have an injury or chronic inflammation, from breathing, and from the food you eat, among other things. While you don’t want to completely eliminate ALL free radicals, you do want to maintain a healthy balance of antioxidant electrons in your body to ensure the damage from free radicals doesn’t’ get out of hand.”Earthing

Earthing can help accomplish this delicate balance. There are three kinds of sub-models of the aging process caused by free radicals.

  1. DNA damage and mutation due to free radical damage
  2. The mitochondrial theory. Mitochondria in every cell in your body carry out oxidative metabolism and a byproduct is free radicals. Eventually the mitochondria wear out or self-destruct due to excess free radicals
  3. The protein cross linking theory, which explains why you get wrinkles in your skin. The proteins stick to each other, reducing the efficiency of enzymes

The Effects of Earthing on the Blood

Scientific research demonstrates startling proof that profound changes occur in your blood cells after grounding barefoot with the earth, according to the Groundology website. Microscopic images of blood taken from three individuals just before – and forty minutes after – grounding, clearly show a dramatic thinning and decoupling of the blood cells. So what? This result dramatically reduces blood viscosity—a major factor in cardiovascular disease.

Where to Go Earthing?

The #1 best place to ground yourself to the earth, and reap the many health benefits of this simple process, is the ocean, as close to the energy-conducting salt water as possible. The next best place is in the grass, in the morning dew.

Earthing#5When and How Often to Go Earthing?

Research shows that a person should ground/earth for 30-60 minutes to reap the most benefits. Which means, if you’re walking barefoot in the cold morning hours you will find it difficult to maintain the length of time necessary to truly and extensively benefit from earthing. You will find it easier to make healing contact if you ground yourself to the earth when it’s relatively temperate out (70 degrees +).

It’s important to note, though, that you will still receive benefits from earthing for a short amount of time, but you won’t reap the long lasting and game changing benefits that 90 min – two hours will give you.

Can Anything Be Easier?

Feel better, hurt less, live longer and look younger. Just take off your shoes, walk on the earth’s healing surface, and feel the sweet force of gravity doing its work.

Resources:

Earthing: The Most Important Health Discovery Ever, Clinton Ober

• “Caution: Wearing These Can Sabotage Your Health,” Dr. Dean Merola

Groundology: Earthing for Health and EMF Protection, Seb Francis

Wellness Mama, Katie, The Wellness Mama

• “An interview with Biophysicist James Oschman PhD on the benefits of Earthing,” Dr. Oschman, Quantum Health:

photo credit: Lone Primate via photopin cc
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photo credit: SchultzLabs via photopin cc

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East Meets West in Restorative Health Care

taking your tempature is a good way to figure out if you need restorative healthcare

East Meets West in Restorative Health Care

5 Must-Dos for a Whole & Healthy Child

the beach offers great restorative health careIt’s hard to enough to meet your children’s daily needs, as well as their educational and recreational pursuits, but when a child falls ill, or operates consistently below his or her potential, everything changes. A child who isn’t healthy cannot fully participate in school, play, sports, or daily life.

As parents strive to nurture whole and healthy children in an increasingly stressful world, YesPhonics™ presents how the best of Eastern and Western restorative health care can come together to serve a better whole. The five non-traditional must-dos, below, will help parents empower their children to their greatest health and highest abilities.

1. Stick Your Tongue Out

Believe it or not, when kids stick their tongue out at you, they’ve just given you important indicators of their physical health. Internal elements of heat, fluids, and pathogens, for example, manifest in the shape, color, texture and coating of the tongue, according to licensed acupuncturist Lynn Jaffee.

A strong proponent of Eastern and holistic medicine, YesPhonics™ President Cheyenne Joseph Adamson says, “Failing to look at your child’s tongue and recognizing unhealthy tongue symptoms, could lead to disastrous consequences for their future health, just as ignoring a physical bone injury would be very detrimental to a child’s health, in a Western sense,” he goes on to say, “recognizing an unhealthy tongue profile early on may be one of the most important things a parent can do for their child.”

Simply Supplements, one of the leading vitamin and mineral companies in the UK, writes that, “The connection between the appearance of the tongue and general health has been studied for thousands of restorative health care insures a healthy looking tongue years in Chinese medicine.” The health of one’s heart, liver, spleen, and kidneys can be indicated by these benchmarks of a healthy tongue: “…pink in colour, slightly moist, and smooth with no bumps or spots. The tongue should also be layered with visible taste buds that detect the five taste sensations – sweet, bitter, salty, sour, and savoury.” Simply Supplements also urges “… it is important to remember that this is not a definite diagnostic tool. If problems persist you should always consult a doctor.”

2. Pins & Needles

While traditional Western medicine offers tremendous advances in surgical care and pharmaceutical treatments, we still have much to learn from the East. Many of these non-traditional practices offer powerful restorative health benefits, and can often prevent the more radical treatments our Western society has so readily accepted.

According to the American Academy of Medical Acupuncture, “Acupuncture is a method of encouraging the body to promote natural healing and to improve functioning. This is done by inserting needles and applying heat or electrical stimulation at very precise acupuncture points.” Applications of acupuncture include treatment of digestive, respiratory, neurological and muscular disorders, insomnia, fibromyalgia, weight loss, stress, pain reduction, and urinary, menstrual, and reproductive problems.

acupuncture ensures effective and restorative health careProponents of acupuncture report treatments that are effective, restorative and free of many side effects common with pharmaceutical treatments. Because acupuncture has been practiced for over 3,000 years, it is deeply rooted in its information, wisdom and effectiveness.

While pharmaceutical companies – with more than 5 billion dollars in annual sales – can help keep people alive and alleviate symptoms, and traditional Western medicine offers healing for such things as broken bones and life saving surgeries, acupuncture can offer a wide array of restorative health benefits that a person simply can’t find in a traditional western medicine setting.

“Acupuncture is key for children,” says Caroline Burdulis, L.Ac. specialist in Women’s Health and Chronic Disease and co-founder of the Bitter Root Acupuncture and Wellness Center in Missoula, Montana. ”It can literally set their health profile in the right direction for the rest of their life.”

The ideal time to bring your child into a local acupuncturist in your area is at age five. At this age, it doesn’t take much acupuncture at all to cure any symptoms that may be ailing them and/or affect them later in life. By doing this you help set a solid foundation for your child’s health. This is likely to be one of the most important and beneficial things a parent can do for their child at this age.

3. A Rainbow on Your Plate

What to eat? What to eat? One of the basic principles in Chinese dietary therapy recommends putting a rainbow of color on your plate. “Studies have shown that a lot of colour on your plate not only looks good and perks you up but also keeps you fighting fit,” says Dr. Anjana Maitra on BoloKids.com. “Include a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet and reap rich dividends. Most of the fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamins and other essential minerals.”a rainbow on your plate is great utilization of restorative health care.

So … What to eat? “Some vegetables like yam, potato, sweet potato and tapioca, and fruits like mango and banana contribute energy to our diet,” says Dr. Maitra. What does color have to do with diet anyway? Dr. Maitra responds in one word: Phytochemicals. “These substances occur naturally only in plants and may provide health benefits beyond those that essential nutrients provide. Color, such as what makes a blueberry so blue, can indicate some of these substances, which are thought to work synergistically with vitamins, minerals, and fiber (all present in fruits and vegetables) in whole foods to promote good health and lower disease risk.”

4. Running Hot & Cold

How great does an ice-cold drink sound on a hot day?  We, in the Western world, have a love affair with ice.  We drink iced water, iced tea, iced coffee and iced pop.  Yet, if you travel to the European countries you are hard pressed to find an icy cold drink.  What do they know that we don’t?

The internal temperature of your body, influenced by what you eat – and most particularly drink – affects your ability to digest food and absorb nutrients. If your body temperature is below 97.3, your body cannot properly digest food, which leads to loss of nutrients from your food, which in turn creates sludge in your body, which can then lead to chronic disease.

Drinking an ice-cold beverage, especially with your meal, is the same as if you stood outside naked in the middle of winter and dowsed your body with cold water. This is the same thing people are doing to their digestion, which is one of the reasons Americans are so unhealthy.

taking your tempature is a good way to figure out if you need restorative health careThe solution is to have a cup of hot tea with or after your meal, so that you’re heating up your digestive system, allowing it to function properly. Dr. Susan E. Brown, founder of BetterBones.com advises, “Drink hot water and hot herbal teas, particularly those that promote digestion. Hot water is an excellent way to detoxify the body and build digestive strength. Simmering a few slices of ginger root in boiling water makes a ginger root tea that stimulates digestion.

A great addition to this solution is to add warming spices such as dry ginger, curry powder, clove, cardamom, etc. to your meal. These spices enhance the warming effect and give your body additional health benefits.

You can also purchase a digital thermometer and check your temperature. This will show you whether or not you are properly digesting your food. Ideally, your body temperature should be at 98.6.

5.  Your Own Health Profile

Your child’s good health begins with you. If you are a prospective parent reading this article, good for you for getting a jump-start. Your habits, philosophies, diet, exercise, and embrace of restorative health care will strongly influence the health of your child, from birth throughout their lives. If both parents have their health profiles in good shape before conceiving a child, these healthy traits will be transferred directly to their soon-to-be born child. Conversely, if prospective parents’ health is in poor shape, those unhealthy traits will be absorbed into your childs’ health profile.

Taking good care of yourself is the foundation for a healthy, happy family. If you already have children, making healthy well considered choices in what you eat and drink, and how you exercise, can influence and improve the health and well being of your child. The Center for Disease Control & Prevention offers planning tools, advice, and other resources to increase your chances of having a healthy Find out if you need to give your child restorative health care by looking at their tongue. baby.

One of the most amazing (and little known) things about acupuncture is that pregnant women who are receiving acupuncture reap the benefits not only for themselves but they also reap the benefits for their baby as well. It’s like getting a two for one deal for you and your child!

Soon-to-be mothers also receive great health benefits when pregnant while being treated with  acupuncture. Some of the things that are addressed and remedied include; Psychological issues, Physical problems, Fatigue, Morning Sickness, Heartburn, Constipation, Hemorrhoids, Back Pain and Sciatica, Edema, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and Rhinitis of pregnancy.

As more and more parents embrace the best of both Western and Chinese medicine, these two worlds have the chance to come together as person-by-person we co-create a universally better, restorative health care system.

Resources:

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Diet Changes That Will Help Your Children Thrive in School

Eating healthy by cutting down on sugar

Eating healthy by cutting down on sugar and improving diet through super foods

Diet Changes That Will Help Your Children Thrive in School

We’ve all heard the adage, “You are what you eat.” Which would turn some of us into Nacho Cheese Doritos. Notwithstanding, our bodies are not only what we eat, but our brains are, too. That’s why our diet is so important to consider when trying to excel in the field of learning.

Take sugar for example. Sugar hypes up our bodies and our brains, and it’s in everything from candy to ketchup. High fructose corn syrup is as bad as sugar, and can be loaded into bread, cereal, and snack bars, to name just a few. When we (children especially) are buzzing on a sugar high, it’s extremely difficult to focus our brains, concentrate our thoughts, and sit still long enough to learn something.

Sugar is just the tip of the brain-squashing iceberg of products we put into our own, and our children’s, bodies. Dedicated to holistic learning, YesPhonics™ offers five brain-feeding, grade boosting, school loving things you can do now as a parent, to help your child thrive in school. (No books required.) Read on for the details and research that explains why these five dietary changes are so important to your child’s education.

1. Cut Down On the Processed and Refined Sugar

2. Add Organics

3. Get Juiced Up the Healthy Way

4. Probiotics and Aromatic Spices

5. Super Charge with Super foods

 

1. Cut Down On the Processed and Refined Sugar

Period. No kidding. This prolific, toxic substance is very, very bad for your children. The good news is that there are healthy replacement sweeteners. Stevia, for one, comes from a South African plant that has been used for a ages to promote healthy teeth, lower blood sugar and build strong bones.

Honey offers another sweetening option that is completely natural in its raw form and has many health benefits when used in moderation, including as many antioxidants as spinach, according to health advisor, Dr. Joseph Mercola.

Sugar wreaks havoc in young minds. It alters their dopamine pleasure response, and is particularly disruptive to their ability to concentrate. According to a report in the Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, a 1986 study took a look at the effects of sucrose on preschool children. Researchers discovered that in all subjects, there was a decrease in learning performance after children were given a sugary drink. This was most notable within 45 to 60 minutes following ingestion of the sugar. These findings seem to suggest that learning performance may be affected by the dietary intake of sugar.

A study conducted by the University of South Carolina concluded that the more sugar hyperactive children consumed, the more destructive and restless they became. A study conducted at Yale University indicates that high-sugar diets may increase inattention in some ADHD kids.

Aspartame: If you haven’t heard about aspartame, you’ll want to know that this is the ingredient that sweetens all diet soft drinks. Aspartame has been linked to a mind boggling list of bad physiological issues, including headaches, nausea, numbness, muscle spasms, depression, fatigue, irritability, insomnia, vision problems, heart palpitations, breathing difficulties, anxiety attacks, memory loss, and joint pain. (These are just a few of the 90 different documented symptoms of aspartame.) Aspartame also parades around in pretty pink, yellow and blue disguises labeled, Equal, Splenda, and Sweet-n-Low.

High Fructose Corn Syrup: Call it liquid sugar, concentrated fructose, a thickening agent, or whatever else you want, but please try not to purchase products that contain high fructose Improving you and your child's diet health by cutting back on sweetscorn syrup. The fact that we live in an increasingly overweight society has been thoroughly documented, and high fructose corn syrup is one of the leading culprits in this disturbing trend. Often termed a poison worse than sugar, high fructose corn syrup addicts our brains, increases weight, causes liver damage, and adversely affects as many as 600 different functions in our bodies.

Please don’t take all the blame if you’ve been letting your children eat unhealthy foods. Much of this trend in our culture can be traced straight back to the doorsteps of fast food restaurants and their highly-effective marketing campaigns. A recent study conducted by researchers from the University of Missouri-Kansas City and the University of Kansas Medical Center, shows that children overwhelmingly gravitate to products with highly-recognizable packaging, such as the McDonald’s logo. Such fast-food logos are branded into the minds of children from an early age, long before they develop self-control. Dr. Amanda Bruce, who led the study, says, “Without the necessary inhibitory processes to aid in decision-making, youth are particularly susceptible to making poor choices about what to eat.”

The bitter truth about sugar is that is not only trashes your body and brain, it is largely considered an addictive, gateway drug, that can lead to violence [American Association for the Advancement of Science], and a predilection towards cocaine, by altering the dopamine-related reward pathways in the brain.

What to Do About it:

Avoid chemical sweeteners at all costs, and substitute with Stevia or honey. Always have a bowl of fruit available on the kitchen counter and grapes in the refrigerator. (Eat fruit in moderation, though, as it contains natural fructose). Also, without a consistent stream of candy, frosted cereal and fruit juice, you might be surprised at how sweet a carrot can taste. Pretty soon your sweet little student will have an easier time concentrating in school.

2. Don’t Panic It’s Organic!

There is only one reason to feed your children organic food: it’s better for their bodies and brains than conventional foods. You might find many reasons not to go organic, such as, organics can be harder to find, and are often more expensive than conventional choices. All true. But – seriously – organic food is not only better for your children, some of the conventional foods you are feeding them are actually detrimental to their health.

If you think the price of organic food is too high, consider this: conventional food is “a delivery device for artificial colors, additives, preservatives, added growth hormones, antibiotics, pesticides, insecticides and so much more,” according to Robyn O’Brien, author of The Unhealthy Truth: How Our Food Is Making Us Sick and What We Can Do About It.

“Making healthy choices today can go along way in saving you from expensive medical bills later on,” says Michelle NAME, medical herbalist and lifestyle educator.
O’Brien documents the increase in organic choices from stores such as Wal-Mart, Costco, Kroger and Safeway and food producers “from Kraft to Nestle … because they have kids battling conditions like asthma, allergies, diabetes and cancer, too.”

“Food, clean from antibiotics, added growth hormones and excessive pesticide residue, should be a basic human right, afforded to all Americans, regardless of socioeconomic status,” says Robyn O’Brien.

Mislabeling food is a federal offense, but labels can still be misleading. According to the Mayo Clinic, “natural” and “organic” are not interchangeable terms. You may see “natural” and other terms such as “all natural,” “free-range” or “hormone-free” on food labels. These descriptions must be truthful, but don’t confuse them with the term “organic.” Only foods that are grown and processed according to USDA organic standards can be labeled organic.  Widely misconstrued, “natural” products are often considered better than “organic,” although exactly the opposite is true: Only certified organic foods are guaranteed by the FDA to have been produced without synthetic pesticides, chemical fertilizers, irradiation, industrial solvents, or chemical food additives.

This brings us to the really nasty element: genetically modified or genetically engineered foods (GM/GE). Jeffrey Smith, executive director of the Institute for Responsible Technology
says we’re playing “genetic roulette” with genetically modified food, that can lead to many potential health problems. “Studies observing the effects of GMOs [genetically modified organisms] on mice and rats,” says Smith, “linked genetically modified products to allergic reactions, liver problems, sterility, disease, reproductive problems, infant mortality and excessive cell growth, which can lead to cancer.”

Unfortunately, the genetically engineered wolf is guarding the hen house, and the FDA is not protecting our country from genetically engineered food. According to Smith, “The same biotech companies that engineered GMOs are in charge of determining whether these foods are safe, Smith says. He also noted that the FDA official who was originally in charge of the GMO-friendly policy, Michael Taylor, was the former attorney and later the vice president of Monsanto, a large biotech company.” Even worse, big biotech companies like Monsanto andOrganic vegetables for a healthy diet Cargill, which have invested millions of dollars in research and development, refuse to label their genetically modified foods, preventing the people from knowing what’s in their food supply.

Monsanto, in fact, has invested $4.3 million to defeat California’s Proposition 37, which would require manufacturers to label all GMOs, according to Medical Daily. This cannot help but beg the question: Why? If GMO’s aren’t harmful to us, why not label them for everyone to see?

If you’re still wondering why labeling is important, link here for 3 Reasons to Label Genetically Engineered Foods, from the political action committee, “Label Genetically Engineered Foods 2012.”

The only way to know for sure that the food you’re giving your children is free of synthetic pesticides, chemical fertilizers, irradiation, industrial solvents, and chemical food additives – and has not been genetically engineered – is to look for the USDA Organic food label.

What to Do About it:

Labels to look for: 100% organic, organic (contains 95-99% organic ingredients), made with organic ingredients (contains 70-94% organics). Look for milk labeled “RbGH-free” or look for products without high fructose corn syrup or artificial colors. Strictly avoid processed foods. You know without being told all this that your children will be healthier and more attentive, and will miss less school days when fed a wholesome, organic diet.

3. Get Juiced Up the Healthy Way

Eat your vegetables! We’ve heard it – and said it – over and over and over. But the truth is, many kids don’t like most vegetables, the vegetables we eat have been cooked or processed past the point of nutrition, and our digestive systems – weakened from poor diets – can’t absorb all the nutrients anyway.

So what’s the point? Why force down unpleasant food that isn’t doing us as much good as it should in the first place?

This is where juicing comes in. Throw a tomato, several stalks of celery, one or two carrots, a big bunch of leafy greens such as spinach, some broccoli or cucumber and a clove of garlic into a juicer. Add some raw honey, Stevia, Xylitol, or cranberries for sweetening, and you’ve actually created a powerful, efficient, super concentrated, and easily absorbed food that (albeit green) tastes fantastic.

The upswing in your child’s education: juiced vegetables provide energy, detox sluggish body functions, builds immune systems, and hydrates our cells, among many other health benefits. This means sharper brains, active bodies, and less sick days spent absent from school.

And it happens fast. “In fact, studies have shown that the nutrients from juiced vegetables are within our bloodstream within 30 minutes of consumption,” according to “Juicing for Health,”from Energise for Life.

What to Do About it:

Drink your vegetables!

Get mega nutrients in your diet by juicing vegetablesThe amount of vegetables to consume each day varies slightly on your age and gender, and range from 1 cup per day (for children aged 2 to 3 years) to 3 cups per day (for boys over the age of 14 and men). Calculate your personal recommended vegetable intake by linking to the Vegetable Calculator from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Most people find it difficult to incorporate their fresh vegetables in today’s western diet where much of our food is prepackaged, processed and “already done for you” convenience foods. But a glass or two of fresh juice per day would incorporate all the vegetables you need into your diet, according to “Food and Cancer – Juicing Benefits – The Simple Key to a Long Disease Free Life,” from squidoo.

The best vegetables to juice, according to Energise for Life, include:
– Lettuce
– Endive
– Cucumber
– Celery
– Kale
– Spinach
– Broccoli (stalk/stem)
– Herbs
– Chard
– Spinach
– Cabbage
– Bok Choi
– Garlic
– Sprouts
– Fresh ginger
– Essential oils (such as Udo’s Choice and Flax Seed Oil)
– Wheat grass
– Watercress

“It is very important to listen to your body when juicing. Your stomach should feel good all morning long,” says health advisor Dr Joseph Mercola. In his article, “Juicing, Your Key to Radiant Health,” Dr. Mercola has outlined great suggestions on which vegetables to start with, and which ones to add as you become more and more accustomed to drinking freshly juiced vegetables.

Choosing your juicer is almost as important as what you put in it. YesPhonics recommends using a slow juicer that will press the items, preserving nutrients and excreting more juice. (Centrifugal juicers cut vegetables into a thousand pieces, destroying the nutrients.) Good juicers range from $200 – $500. The Joyful Juicer offers a chart of recommended juicing products, a as well as juicing benefits, tips, and recipes. If you’re overwhelmed already, YesPhonics confidently (and without paid endorsement) recommends the Hurom Juicer.

One last very important note: Juicing is fun. You and your kids get to stick a bunch of whole foods, such as carrots, celery and lettuce, into a juicer and watch a rich, healthy ambrosia flow into your glass. How fun is that?

4. Probiotics & Aromatic Spices

You’ve got guts!

Your guts – stomach, intestines and colon – play an important role in a your behavior and mood, believe it or not. As it happens your “gut” is full of busy, healthy microbes, doing their jobs to prevent bad bacteria from growing, as well as producing various vitamins and hormones – at least they’re supposed to be. Many modern lifestyle choices – including antibiotics, chlorinated water, fluoridated water, aspartame (see above) and processed foods – can compromise a thriving gut flora, as it is called.

It turns out that our stomachs and our brains were developed in utero from the same type of tissue. Brain cells morphed into your central nervous system and your gastrointestinal cells into your intrinsic nervous system. So when you get a “gut feeling,” it just may be your brain talking.

According to renowned health advisor Dr. Joseph Mercola, “… scientific evidence shows that nourishing your gut flora with the beneficial bacteria found in traditionally fermented foods (or a probiotic supplement) is extremely important for proper brain function, and that includes psychological well-being and mood control.”

Aromatic Spices

Surprise: Smells enhance your health.

Aromatic spices are probably one of the biggest overlooked aspects to living a healthful life.Aromatic spices help fight disease and improve overall health diet health

Spices are absolutely essential to healthy living, as they provide important health benefits that you can’t find anywhere else. In fact, Dr. Bharat B. Aggarwal, PhD, at the Department of Experimental Therapeutics at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, has some very eye opening things to say about aromatic spices:

”…researchers have discovered that spices contain compounds that fight oxidation and inflammation, the two processes underlying most chronic disease. Countless studies have linked culinary spices to the prevention and treatment of more than 150 health problems.”

Now That’s Spicy!

Here is a short list of these excellent spices; cinnamon, coriander, cardamom, ginger, turmeric, fennel seeds. Incorporating even a couple of these spices into your daily diet will help increase overall health and well being. Research has shown that smelling aromatic spices stimulates different parts of the brain that may, until this point, never have been used before. Not only do they stimulate the brain, they also promote special healing properties. Cinnamon, for example, has been shown to help balance blood sugar and fight cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors.

Turmeric has long been a staple in Indian cooking and culture not only because of its delicious flavor but also because of its intrinsic ability to fight cancer. Studies show that curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, fights 80% of all cancers when used on a daily basis. This is because of the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory actions that this amazing spice wields by reducing inflammation, the number one culprit to most all chronic disease, it’s preventive and curative characteristics makes it number one on YesPhonics’™ recommendation list.

Coriander is another spice that is worth mentioning, as it aids in digestion because it acts as an antispasmodic drug helping relax and sooth the contracted digestive muscles. Two of the volatile oils that you’ll find in coriander seed (linalool and geranyl acetate) are powerful, cell-protecting antioxidants, which are the main elements in this wonderful spice for preventing disease. Many benefits of this spice include: fighting cancer, helping ease irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) as well as, bloating, cholesterol problems, colic, colon cancer, Type 2 diabetes, diarrhea, eczema, flatulence, high blood pressure, indigestion, insomnia, lead poisoning, liver disease, psoriasis, rosacea, stomachache, ulcer, and vaginal yeast infection.

What to Do About it:

Probiotics: Every day you should get – and give to your children – a probiotic that has more than 4 strains (10 or more is ideal). Probiotics come naturally in some yogurts – but be sure Eat probiotics to increase longevity and improve diet healthyou are purchasing organic yogurt specifically labeled and made with probiotics. Probiotics also come in acidophiles, or capsule form. Make sure the products you buy come from pure, wholesome ingredients that don’t have the caching agent ‘magnesium stearate‘ in them.

Spices: We’ve highlighted just a few spices out of many. The best way get a wide variety of these spices is by indulging in a hot, delicious chai tea, this tea will have anywhere from 5-10 aromatic spices ready to nourish you and your child from the inside out. You can find any number of good chai tea brands at your local supermarket or health food store, the important thing to remember here is that you’ll want to look for a tea that is ‘fair trade certified’ or an organic tea, as most conventional teas are over processed and have been farmed with pesticides reducing their inherent ability to fight disease.

Confused? Do what your gut tells you.

5. Super Foods

The best foods on Earth!

You’ll get more bang per forkful if you incorporate super foods into your and your children’s diets. These foods are packed with good stuff and can help prevent – and even reverse – disease. But do they make your child smarter? Consider the immune-boosting, super energizing factors of the following super foods, and you can easily imagine how your little super-star will be more attentive in school and less prone to sick days out of school.

But first, what is a super food? According to NaturalNews.com, “a superfood is generally recognized by a few characteristics: high nutritional density and low calories, high fiber, high in omega-3 fatty acids, lots of antioxidant activity, and rich with phytochemicals that have the potential to prevent or even reverse disease.”

According to Dr. Frank Lipman, Founder, Eleven Eleven Wellness Center, the seven most nutritionally-valuable foods you can buy are:
• Avocado
• Beans
• Blueberries
• Cruciferous Veggies (broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, kale and bok choy)
• Spinach
• Wild Salmon
• Walnuts
Dr. Lipman calls these “the building blocks of excellent nutrition and sustainable wellness.”

Super foods and the amazing health properties they possess when eaten as part of a healthy dietWebMD also recommends these additional superfoods, to “help ward off heart disease, cancer, cholesterol, and more:” oats, oranges, pumpkin, soy, spinach, tea (green or black), tomatoes and turkey.

Some other examples include: acia berries, gogi berries, chia seeds, keifer, and oats. Attention chocolate lovers! According to Frank Mangano,  NaturalNews.com author, health advocate, researcher and entrepreneur in the field of alternative health, dark chocolate (organic, non-gmo with 85% cacao) can help lower blood pressure and improve blood flow.

If you or your children like to eat cereal for breakfast, NaturalNews.com has some recommendations for cereals that are truly healthy, with these charateristics: sprouted, gluten free, dairy free, nut free, not genetically modified, and raw. Try finding that on your standard grocery store shelf, lined end-to-end, three rows high, with dead, processed foods and loads of sugar.

The top five super foods recommended by NaturalNews.com are:
• Chorella: Boosts the immune system and helps detoxify Read more
• Spirulina: Boosts the immune system and helps curb an overactive immune system, which is often responsible for autoimmune diseases Read more
• Aloe Vera: Potent immune booster that has been proven to cure AIDS and liver cancer Read more
• Barley Grass: Powerful antioxidant, improves digestion and promotes absorption of vital nutrients, lowers blood pressure, reduces cholesterol, eases inflammation, and more
Read more
• Pure Powdered Whey: Helps your body create abundant glutathione, the master anti-oxidant that creates and regenerates antioxidants Read more
These supplements are efficiently consumed in capsule form, flakes to spread on your food, and as powder to add to liquids, such as juice or protein shakes.

Dummies.com claims the following benefits from eating super foods:
• Improving your nutrition
• Strengthening your immune system
• Fighting free radicals
• Reducing the risk of cancer
• Keeping your heart healthy
• Feeling better
• Boosting metabolism and watching your weight
• Maintaining your youthful complexion
• Flooding you with flavor

What to Do About it:

Nobody eats perfectly in this modern, busy society! The point is to move you and your family in a healthier direction, at least some of the time. The sooner you shift these dietary pitfalls, the better, and easier, it will be to create good eating habits that support a lifetime of health and learning.

Many of the super foods discussed here can also be found as supplements in your natural health food store.

Alternative Meals and Snacks That Feed the Brain and Fuel the Body:
Organic/Non GMO Oatmeal with organic peanut butter
Organic/Non GMO Celery sticks with organic peanut butter
Organic/Non GMO apples sprinkled with cinnamon
Garden of Life’s Raw Meal; Beyond Organic Meal Replacement – A great alternative for someone who’s on the go!

Resources for Parents
Sugar & Attention Deficit
How to Reverse the Damage of a Sugar Addiction, Livestrong, The Limitless Potential of You
This Addictive Commonly Used Food Feeds Cancer Cells, Triggers Weight Gain, and Promotes Premature Aging, Mercola.com
Aspartame is, by Far, the Most Dangerous Substance on the Market that is Added To Foods, Mercola.com
Sugar? Gateway Drug to Violence?, American Association for the Advancement of Science
The Sugar Wars: Using Diet to Treat ADHD Symptoms in Children, ADDitude: Living Well with Attention Deficit
Non-Drug Options are Highly Effective at Treating Behavioral Problems Like ADHD, Mercola.com
What Behavioral Problems Are Linked to a High Sugar Diet?, Livestrong, The Limitless Potential of You
I’m Lovin’ It: Fast-Food Logos Imprinted on Children’s Brains,” Medical Daily
A sweet problem: Princeton researchers find that high-fructose corn syrup prompts considerably more weight gain, Princeton University
HFCS: the poison that promotes obesity and liver damage,” NaturalNews.com

Organics
Organic foods: Are they safer? More nutritious?, Mayo Clinic
Organic Food vs. Conventional: What the Stanford Study Missed, Huffington Post
Organic Eating: A Much Healthier Choice, Natural Health Restored
GMO Health Risks, Institute for Responsible Technology
“I’m Lovin’ It”: Fast-Food Logos ‘Imprinted’ in Children’s Brains, Medical Daily
3 Reasons to Label Genetically Engineered Foods, from the political action committee, “Label Genetically Engineered Foods 2012”
• “Monsanto supported GMO labeling in Europe, but not in US,” NaturalNews.com

Juicing
Fruit and Vegetable Calculator, Center for Disease Control and Prevention
• “Nutrition for Everyone: Fruits and Vegetables,” Center for Disease Control and Prevention
• “Juicing for Health,” Energise for Life
• “Juicing, Your Key to Radiant Health,” Dr. Joseph Mercola
• “Food and Cancer – Juicing Benefits – The Simple Key to a Long Disease Free Life,” squidoo
The Joyful Juicer
Improving Health and Energy, B.B. Martin

Probiotics and Aromatic Spices
• “The Importance of Probiotics for Mental Health,” Mercola.com
“5 Healing Spices,” Experiencelife.com
• “Does Your Supplement Contain this Potentially Hazardous Ingredient?,” Mercola.com

Super Foods
• “The top five superfoods to always keep stocked in your pantry,” Natural News.com
• “The Super 7: Foods With Benefits,” Huffington Post, by Dr. Frank Lipman, Founder, Eleven Eleven Wellness Center
• “‘Superfoods’ Everyone Needs,” WebMD
• “Consume Super Foods for Super Health and Disease Prevention,” NaturalNews.com
• “Superfood Cereals: A review of the most delicious and nutritious superfoods for morning meals,” NaturalNews.com

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3 All Natural Ways to Boost Your Test Scores

study better for tests

study better for tests

3 All Natural Ways to Boost Your Test Scores

You’ve showed up for class, read the material, and turned in your homework. So why didn’t you get a good grade in the class? Ultimately, it all comes down to The Test.

To be fully prepared for a test you most certainly need to know the material. But do you also know that there are 3 simple things you can do out of the classroom that will help raise your test scores? Testing experts chime in on how to prepare your body, mind and spirit for better test results.

3 Out-of-the-Classroom Tools to Improve Test Scores

1. Eat to Test Well

Students perform consistently better in school and on tests when they’ve eaten strategically beforehand. Here are some great guidelines for pre-test meals:

• Nix the Sugar: Sugar, which is in everything from ketchup to Corn Flakes, wreaks havoc in young minds. It alters their dopamine pleasure response, and is particularly disruptive to their ability to concentrate. According to a report in the Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology,a 1986 study took a look at the effects of sucrose on preschool children. Researchers discovered that in all subjects, there was a decrease in learning performance after children were given a sugary drink. This was most notable within 45 to 60 minutes following ingestion of the sugar.

What to use instead of sugar or the dreaded high fructose corn syrup? Substitute healthy replacement sweeteners such as Stevia and honey. Satisfy the sweet tooth and enjoy a stable charge of energy – without the jittery highs and the crash-and-burn lows you get from refined sugar.

• Power Up on Protein: Eggs, beans, seeds and nuts are protein-rich foods that the body uses to manufacture amino acids. Amino acids are precursors to the neurotransmitters, or specialized brain cells, which help you to maintain mental acuity and motivation. Although eggs are generally considered a breakfast food, they can be eaten as part of a meal or snack anytime during the day.fish oils improve mental capacity for studying A half-cup of cottage cheese, 1 cup of yogurt or 1 oz. of hard cheese provide between 10 and 15 oz. of protein, approximately one third of your daily protein requirement, according to the National Institutes of Health. Source: “The Best Foods to Eat Before An Exam,” by Susan Brassard/Livestrong.com.

• Go Fish: Humans have referred to fish as brain food for more than 2,000 years. Omega-3 oils are fundamental to human development and survival. Fresh-water and wild fish are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids. Since the nutrient is necessary for learning, concentration and memory, it’s essential to provide your brain with an adequate supply. If salmon, sardines or trout don’t appeal to you, walnuts, hazelnuts or cashews are good alternatives. Omega-3 supplements are also available in capsule form. Source: “The Best Foods to Eat Before An Exam,” by Susan Brassard/Livestrong.com.

• Avoid Caffeine and Simple Carbs: Caffeine just adds to your jitters and your energy high will eventually crash from it, spiraling into weariness and maybe even a headache. Not good for test results. If you want a quick energy boost, eat a slice of whole grain toast before your test. Add some organic peanut butter to give your snack some heft and protein. Link to more information from YesPhonics™ about how to Eat Your Way Smarter, here.

2. Move Your Way Smarter

exercise boosts test scoresIt may sound silly to have a stationary bike, a treadmill, or exercise balls in the classroom, but the students at Chicago’s Naperville Central High School, are laughing all the way to the honor roll. Their experimental exercise program has doubled reading scores and boosted math scores by a factor of 20. After walking on the on the treadmill for 30 minutes, students were able to solve problems up to 10 percent more effectively. Read more at Mercola.com.

Studies all over the world are bearing out the same data: physical exercise helps reduce stress, connect brain synapses, and improve performance in school. Research released in the January 2012 issue of the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine,shows “strong evidence of a significant positive relationship between physical activity and academic performance.” Further to the point: “…being more physically active is positively related to improved academic performance in children. Exercise may help children’s thinking by increasing blood and oxygen flow to the brain. It may also help by increasing levels of norepinephrine and endorphins to decrease stress and improve mood….”

Physical exercise that helps reduce test anxiety can be as simple as walking, running, swimming, dancing, and event singing, according to advice from Bucks County Community College Newtown Pennsylvania. “At the very least, walk up and down stairs or raise your arms over your head.”

Researchers at George Washington University agree, stating “Aerobic exercise will help you to release anxiety and excess energy and, as a result, reduce body tension.”

Another idea: Throw some things into the air simultaneously. Juggling for 10-20 minutes before a test has been shown to raise SAT test scores by 10%.

3. Positive Visualization

Just like an NBA basketball player visualizes the ball swishing through the net before he shoots his free throw, you can visualize a successful test, swishing your way to a great grade.

positive mental visualization helps to get better test scoresThe Graduate Division of the University of California, Berkley offers this advice: On the night before your exam (right before you go to sleep works well), find a quiet place to relax. Close your eyes. Pull your eyes to the top part of your head, roll up and back, then take two slow, deep breaths. Do this a couple more times to get you more relaxed.

Now, visualize yourself in the classroom taking the test. See yourself receiving the test, then calmly, confidently taking the exam. You see many of the questions you had formulated while you pretended you were the professor. You are organized and alert. You are enjoying taking the test because you want to demonstrate just how much you know about the material.

Create this movie in your head. You are in command and in control. Repeat the positive visualization again in the morning, right before you get out of bed. When test time comes you will have already seen yourself confidently taking the test. Refer to this personal movie anytime during the test. This positive visualization will help you realize what you are capable of achieving.

• Don’t Forget to Breathe!
Those of us with test anxiety – including me – know how stressful testing can be. The trick to calming these nerves is right inside your own body.

Start with your breath, to calm the pounding heart and soothe your chattering brain. “…Many people, who have learned to perform well on tests, incorporate breathing exercises into their strategy,” according to the experts at The Complete Test Preparation Website.

These experts offer good breathing exercises that are perfect for the testing room because they’re done while sitting down (including sitting down at your classroom chair), and also because they’re designed to relax you quick enough to help you just moments before you start the exam. Read more in “Breathing Exercises to Relieve Test Anxiety.”

“The University of New Mexico Biomedical Research Programs report that, “you can do breathing exercises at anytime, before, during, and after the test. Breathing helps you stay emotionally grounded and rids the body of excess tension. It is also an effective way of reducing stress of any kind and only takes a moment to do.”

Their advice: “If you can, close your eyes. Inhale through your nose deeply and slowly. Exhale slowly through your mouth. Do this two to three times or whenever you feel excess anxiety building up. This is an easy and effective exercise to do throughout the test.”

More Resources:
San Diego’s Southwestern College reports that the anxiety we often feel before an exam is “normal and positive; it motivates us to want to perform at our best level.” But when anxiety “becomes problematic when this nervousness is so high that it interferes with test preparation and performance.”

Don’t let panic or anxiety detract you from applying your full attention to your test. Use the tools of diet, exercise, visualization and breathing to help you ace your next exam. No books required!

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5 Grade Boosting Activities that Have Nothing to Do With Books!

brain power children activities

5 great grade boosting activities

5 Grade Boosting Activities that Have Nothing to Do With Books!

Ask yourself the question: What do YOU do for fun?

It’s not always that easy to answer.

For kids, it can be particularly challenging, as they often feel powerless within the demands and momentum of daily life. (Unless of course they have a car. Then you have another set of problems on your hands.)

You’re more likely to be successful if you offer your child something they think will be fun to do.

Routine exercise is easy enough to say, and much harder to get kids to do (especially sedentary children). Exercise routines can be particularly important for home-schooled children, who may not have mandatory physical education classes, or a playground full of Jungle Jims to goof off on during recess.

So let’s explore the benefits of movement, and seven specific ways to motivate your little Couch Potatoes into brain-popping action.

First and most important, it has to be fun for your children!

1. Feed the Ducks

Find something unique and whimsical that will truly engage your child’s mind and body at the same time. Find a park in your area and bring that loaf of stale bread that nobody wants to eat. If you feed them, the ducks will come!

Other ideas for engaging mind/body activities include scavenger hunts and – for the more technologically inclined –  geo-caching. Another spin on the treasure hunt is to take your kids to a yard sale once in awhile. A few dollars go a very long way. Kids learn to interact with the sellers, maybe bargain a bit, and come away with a treasure that they found for themselves, and that wasn’t store-bought.

2. Go Outside

Studies in the new field of epigenetics show that people who get outdoors and into the woods reduce their stress level by 17%. This number goes up when they physically touch the ground in what’s called ‘earthing’ or ‘grounding.’ Read more from “Get Outside” about how the outdoors can improve your child’s concentration, reduce stress, boost creativity & critical thinking, improve vision and more.

Urban parks can be found in every city in America. Pack a knapsack with some apples and cheese, a bottle of water and a camera, and get out into the great outdoors. Give your child the camera and a challenge to take pictures of interesting shapes, or unique colors, or ten different kinds of leaves. Or just walk and talk. The possibilities are endless.

3. Turn Your Backyard into a Playground

You’ll find plenty of opportunities for moving around in your own backyard. (No chores allowed this time.) The easiest thing to do to change things up is to gather up a blanket, plates, knives, forks and spoons and head out the door for a family picnic. Do it up right, with lemonade, burgers, watermelon and all the fixins. (Don’t do all the preparations for them; your kids must help with this.)

Here’s another idea: plant a vegetable garden. It’s great fun to watch carrots and tomatoes grow, and the kids can harvest them for salads. If you don’t have a backyard, or the funds, to go “all out” on this, create an Italian herb garden in a big pot with basil, thyme, and oregano. When it comes time to make spaghetti sauce, the kids get to help by picking herbs from their very own garden.

Another, more ambitious, thing to do right out your backdoor: create an obstacle course with your kids, for them, yourselves or the family dog. This can be great fun. Materials will range in price, but some things you might find laying around the garage, such as old tires, big boxes, and rope.

4. Parks & Recreation

Municipalities all have park & recreation departments and you will want to familiarize yourself with this fantastic local resource. Not only do they manage area parks, most also host team sports, group hikes, and classes. This is a great way to get your kids involved in basketball, volleyball, snow sports, jogging, any any number of physical activities.

Quick fix: your local school or high school has tetherball, basketball and tennis courts just sitting there waiting to be used. Your child doesn’t need to be a super athlete. Sometimes they just want somebody to watch them play. Maybe you can’t tag along on every excursion to the playground, but whatever you can do to support their physical activities will encourage them as they start to change their sedentary lifestyle – particularly in the beginning. You’re aiming for good habits, new routines, and a lifelong commitment to movement.

5.   Martial Arts

Kids can get their kicks in a healthy way by practicing a martial art, such as taekwondo, kung fu, karate, judo, and aikido. Rather than promoting violence, martial arts develop discipline in children, as well as respect for themselves and others, self-control, socialization skills and mental focus.

In fact, Parenting Magazine reports that, “many parents whose children have attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) report great success with these programs because self-control and concentration are exactly the skills underdeveloped in ADHD kids.”  Further, “… it’s the respect kids learn, whether from bowing or standing still and waiting for the next command, that can be the most important benefit: It often carries over into school, helping to improve behavior and even grades, according to recent research.”

Resources for Parents
• The National Institutes of Health website offers advice, news, and other resources
• Find your local Park & Recreation Association
• “How Phys Ed Changed One School,” Mercola.com
• “Karate Kids: The Benefits of Martial Arts,” Parenting Magazine

Stay tuned for Part 4 of “The New Roadmap for Smarter, Happier, Healthier Kids,” where we’ll discuss the power of reading and its effects on children’s understanding of themselves and the world.

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4 Healing Properties of the Great Outdoors

 

Healing properties of the sun offer a wide array of health benefits. 4 Healing Properties of the Great Outdoors

1.Explore The Wild

Time spent in nature offers things you’ll never find on your couch, in front of the television, on a treadmill, or (note to parents) behind a cocktail. Mounting research shows that activities in the great outdoors offer deep, restorative, immune-system-boosting, stress-reducing relaxation. Something as simple as a long walk in the woods can lift your mood, cause you to think more positively, and feel more internal calm and greater harmony with the world around you, reports Tina Vinum, expert in exercise physiology.

In the classroom or home-school environment, this can translate to greater confidence and belief in one’s self and one’s abilities. The restorative experience of a lifestyle that includes outdoor activities can also aid in reducing stress about school, homework and test anxiety.

2. Be Positive

And this isn’t just woo-woo, nature-freak speak. The science behind behavior patterns show that levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that helps regulate our moods, rises when we are outside. Exposure to nature also reduces pain and illness and speeds recovery time. You also breathe better outside, as outdoor air is 75% less polluted than indoor air, according to a study by the Environmental Protection Agency.

“Positive mood produces broader attention, more creative thinking, and more holistic thinking,” according to researchers at the University of Pennsylvania. Students overall experience of school can shift to a very positive force, instead of what many children rank as “just slightly above going to the dentist.”

3. Get Moving

Even at the cellular level, “exercise encourages your brain to work at optimum capacity by causing nerve cells to multiply, strengthening their interconnections and protecting them from damage,” reports Dr. Joseph Mercola, M.D., NY Times best-selling author, and the Huffington Post’s 2009 “Ultimate Wellness Game Changer.”

Just as a healthy body functions at a more efficient rate, a mind working at full power – or even at a vibrant, engaged pace – will absorb, process and retain information better than a tired, sluggish and apathetic brain.

4. The Power of Light

Outdoor light (direct Vitamin D you can’t get by drinking milk) is vital to the immune system, makes us “feel better,” and increases academic learning and productivity, according to Rae Pica, a children’s physical actecialist and the author of 18 books for teachers and parents. Pica also reports that physical activity optimizes the brain’s performance by increasing the capacity of blood vessels, allowing for the delivery of oxygen, water, and glucose (brain food) to the brain.

Indoor activities, and particularly mind-numbing digital media, while touted as ‘relaxing’ are actually counterproductive to a child’s health, education and overall well-being.

See our resource list below to find specific, tangible things you can do now to help shape your children’s mental, physical and emotional well-being long into the future. Clearly the benefits of engaging your children in outdoor activities goes much deeper than getting good grades!

Resources for Parents
• The National Institutes of Health website offers advice, news, and other resources
• “Reduce Stress in the Great Outdoors,” Athleta Chi
• ”7 Reasons Why Kids Need Recess,” by Rae Pica

In Part 1 of the “New Roadmap for Smarter, Happier, Healthier Kids,” we discovered the truly damaging effects that television and video games can have on young minds (link).

Stay tuned for Part 3 of “The New Roadmap for Smarter, Happier, Healthier Kids,” where we’ll reveal 5 things you can do now to boost your children’s grades, confidence and well-being.

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The Damaging Effects of Digital Media

what parents can do about violent video games

what parents can do about violent digital media

The Damaging Effects of Digital Media

One of the simplest things you can do to make your child smarter is to get them off the couch. Studies show that children who put down their video games and get some exercise test higher in school, solve problems more effectively, and are less prone to depression and anxiety.

Getting your children off the couch sounds simple enough, but it’s not so easy.

They are watching television, texting, playing on their computers, and getting caught up in kids video games more than ever before. And this trend is dumbing down our students. The Nielsen Company recently revealed that kids spend almost 28 hours per week watching television. And that doesn’t count time spent on video games, cell phones, or computers, which bumps that number up to an astonishing 55 hours per week.

Do your children flop onto the couch after school and stay there until dinnertime? They are not just turning off their own brains, they may actually be doing themselves harm. Children who view as little as three hours of television per day could be at risk of behavioral problems, depression and increased aggression, according to a report published by the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. 

Media Violence 

The impact on children of all the drama and violence on television and in video games is tremendously disturbing. Study after study show that children naturally imitate what they see and hear, and when exposed to media aggression, they become desensitized to violence, fearful, and more aggressive themselves. Adding to the problem, violent characters in television and video games are often glamorized and portrayed as role models, and do not always suffer proper consequences for their violent behavior.

Since the 1950s, more than 1,000 studies have been done on the effects of violence in television and movies. The majority of these studies conclude that children who watch significant amounts of television and movie violence are more likely to exhibit aggressive behavior, attitudes and values (Senate Committee on the Judiciary, 1999).

When young children are exposed to something frightening in the media it can be traumatic for them. Telling young children what they see is not real may not help to console them as young children are not able to distinguish between reality and fantasy.

The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry reports that American children watch an average of four hours of television daily, and that “television can be a powerful influence in developing value systems and shaping behavior.”

AllPsych Journal reports that “Research has also shown heavy television viewers, watching four or more hours per day, put in less effort at school, have poorer reading skills, play less friendly with friends, have fewer hobbies and activities, and are more likely to be overweight.”

Interestly, building children’s language and reading skills can help them cope with what they view, and put it in its proper perspective.

“A well-developed language system gives the brain a well-developed mental function,” say Dave Grossman and Gloria DeGaetano, in their report, Stop Teaching Our Kids To Kill. “When a child is able to verbalize and think on higher levels the easier it will be to teach children about consequences of violence. A rich vocabulary enables a higher level of articulation of feelings, opinions, and ideas about media violence that a less literate child cannot [fully express].”

Experts encourage parents to limit the amount of time their children have access to television and video games. Setting rules and boundaries helps, such as requiring children to finish their homework and chores before watching television or playing video games. And when did we get to the point in our culture where there needs to be a television in every room? At the very least, take the TV out of your child’s bedroom.

Children are society’s most vulnerable and precious population. Every minute they spend in front of the television, computer, or video console, is an opportunity missed to be doing healthy things, such as playing outdoors, exercising, reading, or engaging with their family and friends.

Resources for Parents

• The National Institutes of Health website offers advice, news, and other resources

12 Tips to Control the Television, The Children’s Trust

Violence and Aging, Los Angeles Times

Understanding Violent Behavior in Children, American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry

Children & TV Violence, American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry

The Psychological Effects of Violent Media on Children,  AllPsych Online

Your Kids & the Media, The Children’s Trust

• “Stop Teaching Our Kids to Kill,” Dave Grossman and Gloria DeGaetano

Stay tuned for Part 2 of “The New Roadmap for Smarter, Happier, Healthier Kids,” where we’ll discuss the healing properties of the great outdoors.