Monday, October 5, 2015

Parenting Pointers: Key to Academic Success

By Dr. Chad Larson
Once again fall is nearly upon us and that means a season change and a change of life for parents and kids alike. As children head back to school and begin the 2015-2016 school year, parents everywhere are devising ways to give their children every advantage in order to achieve academic success.  
Kids are sent off armed with pens, pencils, crayons, notebooks, calculators and lined paper. We check in with them daily to ensure they are and stay on top of homework.  We call and email teachers to make sure our children are paying attention in class and not causing trouble. If we sense our children need extra help, we’re on it, researching the best and brightest tutors in order to help our little ones catch-up and master that difficult phase of geometry.
We do everything we can to give our children the opportunity to succeed academically and to thrive.  But even though most parents are “all over it” when it comes to providing our children with the academic supplies and support that they need, many parents fail to provide their kids with one of the most important and integral facets to academic success--a diet that is rich in the nutrients needed for optimum brain function.  
It’s not the school supplies or tutors, it’s what your children eat that will give your kids the most opportunity to succeed from an academic standpoint. Every student has the potential to do well in school. Failing to provide good nutrition puts them at risk for missing out on meeting that potential.
With that said, here are some of the things parents can do to ensure their children’s diets are not inhibiting academic success:
  • Make sure your kids eat a balanced and nutritious diet, full of vitamins and minerals from fruits and vegetables.
  • Limit the amount of sugar in your kids’ diets—the biggest source of sugar for most kids is sugary drinks.
  • Deficiencies in other vitamins and minerals, specifically thiamine, vitamin E, vitamin B, iodine, and zinc, are shown to inhibit cognitive abilities and mental concentration in school-age children.
Another piece of advice is to limit the amount of sugar given to your children.  Studies have shown that after the consumption of 100 milligrams of sugar, the immune system of children is suppressed for up to 5 hours.  No wonder children get sick so often! Keep in mind that even the Center for Disease Control (CDC) has given issued reports about the consequences of poor diet on children.  According to the Healthy Youth report, children deficient in certain nutrients have lower grades and higher instances of tardiness and absenteeism. These effects can be counteracted when children consume a balanced diet that includes protein, fat, complex carbohydrates, and fiber. Keep your eye open for the affects of food sensitivities and allergies. If you notice your children are having any resulting symptoms after consuming certain types of foods, make note.  They may need to be tested for food sensitivities or allergies. Not all tests for food sensitivities are equal. Check out for what I believe is the best testing on the market.
As we settle in to the school year, remember that a healthy diet leads to healthy students. Healthy students will spend more time in class having fewer interruptions in learning over the course of the school year. Taking action today to provide healthier diet choices will help to set students up for a successful future full of academic success.
Dr. Chad Larson, CCN, CSCS, Advisor and Consultant to Cyrex Laboratories
Dr. Larson holds a Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine degree from Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine and a Doctor of Chiropractic degree from Southern California University of Health Sciences. He is a Certified Clinical Nutritionist and a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. He particularly pursues advanced developments in the fields of endocrinology, orthopedics, sports medicine, and environmentally-induced chronic disease.

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