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Children’s Health

Try for 5 - national nutrition week HealthMint

National Nutrition Week: Try For 5

By Children's Health, Lifestyle, Nutrition No Comments

It’s national Nutrition week! Every year in October Nutrition Australia run their Try For 5 campaign to encourage and inform Australians to increase vegetable consumption to the recommended 5 serves per day. We all know vegetables are good for us; they are naturally packed full of vitamins and minerals, antioxidants to help fight off disease and fibre to help our gut stay happy. Eating more vegetables is one simple and easy thing that you can do to improve your overall health and wellbeing.

While we all may know that vegetables are good for us, surprisingly only 4% of Australian adults eat the recommended 5 servings!

So, what does a vegetable serve actually look like?

A serve of vegetable is 75g. This can look like:

  • 1/2 a medium size potato or other starchy vegetables,
  • 1 cup of raw leafy greens vegetables  e.g. spinach, salad leaves, kale
  • ½ cup cooked vegetables e.g. broccoli, carrot, pumpkin.

serves of different types of vegetablesWhat are the Health Benefits of having vegetables and Try for 5?

1. Bone Health:

many vegetables contain key vitamins such as vitamin K and C which helps your body keep your bones healthy. Vitamin C is essential in formation of your cartilage and joints

2. Brain and Nervous system:

Many nutrients are important for your brain and nervous system to function well. Some of the most significant ones include B-vitamins, Vitamin C and minerals such as iron, calcium and potassium. These nutrients are important in allowing our brain to send messages to the rest of the body.

3. Digestion:

In order to keep our gut health, we need fibre. Fibre from vegetables are key to help ensure your bowel movements are regular and keep your gut healthy and happy.

The vitamin and mineral found in vegetables are essential for the body to function. And an easy way to ensure we are getting enough of each nutrient is to Eat the Rainbow. Eating a variety of colours is an important part of a healthy lifestyle, and even more important if you are suffering chronic illness.

As mentioned earlier, There are many benefits of eating the rainbow, from improvements in inflammation, to fibre and gut health. And we can’t forget antioxidants…

Vegetables and antioxidants

Antioxidants are substances that can prevent or slow damage to cells caused by free radicals, unstable molecules that the body produces as a reaction to environmental and other pressures.

The sources of antioxidants can be artificial or natural – all fruits and vegetables have a variety of antioxidants (known as phytochemical), which give them their vibrant colours and with each carrying unique health benefits.

❤️Red –  full of antioxidants (particularly lycopene) including tomatoes, red berries, apple, red capsicum …

🧡Orange –  high in carotenoid which give us that bright orange colour in pumpkin, sweet potato and carrots.

💛Yellow – full of beta-carotene a great source of vitamin A. Enjoy, plenty of sweet corn, pineapple, lemon and yellow capsicum.

💚Green – the most nutrient dense food packed full of fibre, vitamins and minerals. From green leafy vegetables like spinach, silverbeet and kale to broccoli, zucchini and avocado.

💜 💙 Blue/Purple, containing powerful antioxidants. These can be found in blueberries, plum, purple carrot and eggplant

💟 White/Brown, Although low colour, they are packed full of nourishing goodness, showing benefits to every part of the body. From onions and garlic to mushrooms and potato.

So remember, to consider and enjoy the rainbow when you Try For 5! 

rainbow coloured vegetables and fruit all laying together

It’s all the colours of the rainbow!

Eating 5 serves of vegetables doesn’t have to be difficult. If you are aiming for 5 here are my top tips to help you achieve your goal.

  1. Eat vegetables that are seasonal. They are more affordable and also carry the essential vitamins needed to help you during that season.
  2. Frozen or Fresh? BOTH. Vegetable is a vegetable and if you are concerned about it not lasting long the frozen is just as good as fresh.
  3. Add more, and more.. if you have a dish aim to add more vegetables into it. It can be incorporated into the meal or added on the side. A fave is adding hidden vegetables to dishes such as spaghetti bolognese!

This year’s Try for 5 campaign presents an exclusive collection of vegetable-focused recipes, veg tips and information to inspire you to get more veg in your day. At this time, we need to look after our health, and the planet’s well-being too. With the Coronavirus pandemic we are making more meals at home than ever. It’s true that right now, we all want to feel connected with our family and our community.

Let’s celebrate and try for 5 serves of fresh, frozen, canned, dried or juiced veggies!

If you would like guidance or assistance with your diet and nutrition, our very own Dietitian Saabira Wazeer is here to help! To book an appointment just click below!

 

Saabira Wazeer HealthMint Medical Centre DietitianThis article was written by

Saabira Wazeer

Accredited Practicing Dietitian, Accredited Nutritionist and Counsellor.

Saabira is a friendly and motivational dietitian who practices the very unique non-diet approach. This means that instead of giving you a strict diet, Saabira will work with you on your relationship with food, in order to help you make meaningful changes that will last a lifetime. Saabira is extremely understanding and easy to work with, and knows how important it is to eat and enjoy a delicious range of foods.

Areas of interest:

  • Disordered eating behaviours for adults and children
  • Hormonal issues
  • Non-diet approach
  • Gut health
  • PCOS
You can find out more about the Dietitian services at HealthMint here
back to school health tips healthmint

Back to School

By Children's Health, Family Planning & Parenting, General Wellbeing, Lifestyle No Comments

Back to school!

Whether you’re sending your teenager off to their final year of schooling, or you have a little one beginning prep, it’s a busy and exciting time for families across the country over the next couple of weeks.

Here are some tips to help ease the transition and make for a happy and healthy year!

Master the art of the lunchbox

Bento style lunchboxes are all the rage. Keep it simple by adding cut fruit, sandwiches, vegetable sticks and their favourite yoghurt.

Walk to school

it doesn’t have to be every day, but if you can include this into you and your child’s routine, your health will thank you. Getting out in the early morning fresh air is great for your mental health too!

Stick to the same bed times

Make sure your child is getting enough (quality) sleep by enforcing a bed routine. Kids of any age need upwards of 10 hours of sleep a night. It’s also crucial to wind down before bed time- this means no iPads and TV at least a half hour before they hit the hay.

Handle the dreaded head lice 

Keep long hair tied up, don’t wash your kids hair too frequently (they love fresh hair!) and keep ‘butting heads’ to a minimum 😂

Ease those nerves

Starting school can be an exciting but daunting time for kids. Help ease any anxieties they may have by talking about all the positive and wonderful adventures and opportunities the new school year is going to bring. In the first few weeks back, give your kids something to look forward to after school like an evening at the beach, and ice cream, or dinner at their favourite cafe

Make sure their health is in check

Start the school year on the right foot with a visit to the doctors to make sure everything is in tip top shape. Be proactive with their health and ask your GP how you can help keep your kids (and yourself!) happy and healthy this year.

Book an appointment here or click the link below!

Want more information?

Call (03) 5611 3365 to speak to a friendly patient concierge

or book an appointment here
skin-series-eczema-healthmint

Eczema: What is it? HealthMint Skin Series

By Children's Health, Family Planning & Parenting, Men's Health, Skin, Women's Health No Comments

Skin Series – All About Eczema

Skin is the largest organ in the body, and it works as a barrier to keep the body safe. When that barrier is broken, eczema can occur. Let’s look at what eczema is, how it occurs and steps you can take to avoid an eczema flareup.

What is Eczema?

Eczema is also known as atopic dermatitis. It’s an irritating, and sometimes painful skin condition that occurs when the skins barrier becomes compromised. The skin becomes red, dry and itchy, and over time rough patches might develop. The most common areas to have an eczema flare-up include the creases of the elbows, behind the knees, across the ankles and sometimes on the face, ears and neck. There are many triggers that might cause eczema to flare up, and with careful observation most people are able to identify them to help manage their condition.

Who is Affected by Eczema?

Eczema can occur in people of any age, but it is most common in children. Around one in five children under 2 years old will have the condition. It can also occur in older children and adults, but for most people it improves with age. Even adult eczema normally goes away by middle age, although a small number of people might need to manage the condition for the rest of their lives.

What Causes Eczema?

We don’t really know why some people get eczema. Eczema seems to go along with other issues like allergies, hayfever and asthma, which appears to show that genetics influence the risk of someone developing eczema.

When the skin barrier is damaged, it allows moisture to evaporate and lets irritants and allergens past the skin. In turn, the skin releases chemicals that make the skin itchy, and scratching makes the skin release even more. That creates an irritating and painful cycle that makes the problem worse.

Known irritants that can trigger eczema include:

  • Dry skin
  • Infections
  • Chlorine from swimming pools
  • Sand (especially in sandpits)
  • Scratching
  • Sitting on grass
  • Chemical irritants like soap and perfumes
  • Changes in temperature
  • Pollen sensitivity

If a person has allergies, then coming into contact with allergens can cause eczema to occur. Constant exposure to water, soap, grease, food or chemicals can also damage the protective barrier function of the skin, which often causes eczema.

Sometimes because an allergic reaction to food and an eczema flare-up can happen around the same time, people assume that the food has caused the eczema, causing them to remove the food from their diet. In some cases, removing foods can help with eczema management but it should only be attempted under the supervision of a doctor.  More often, food issues are unrelated to eczema flare-ups and don’t need to be removed from the diet.

What Treatments are Available?

Unfortunately, eczema can’t be cured. However, it can be treated and managed. Staying away from allergens can help avoid flare-ups, and keeping the skin moisturised and protected can help stop the skin barrier from breaking. People with eczema need to work together with their doctor to identify triggers for their eczema, and work on minimising flare-ups.

People can help manage their own symptoms by:

  • Keeping baths and showers lukewarm
  • Moisturising every day, preferably within a few minutes of bathing
  • Wearing soft, natural fabrics
  • Using mild cleansers, preferably non-soap
  • Gently drying skin after bathing by patting or air-drying
  • Avoiding sudden changes of temperature
  • Using a humidifier when the weather is dry

Your doctor might prescribe:

  • Corticosteroid creams and ointments
  • Systemic corticosteroids
  • Antibiotics, antivirals and antifungals if a skin infection has occurred
  • Barrier repair moisturisers
  • Phototherapy – UV A or B light can be used to treat moderate dermatitis.

Managing eczema is an ongoing battle. Even adults who have outgrown childhood eczema can find their skin is easily irritated. Once an area of skin has healed, it still needs ongoing care to ensure the barrier stays intact. People who struggle with eczema need to be proactive, and work with their doctor to identify their triggers, alleviate their symptoms and prevent further breakouts. A cure isn’t currently available, but good skin management can free eczema sufferers from irritation and discomfort.

 

ASCIA Guide to eczema (atopic dermatitis) management:

Click Here

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Want more information?

Call (03) 5611 3365 to speak to a friendly patient concierge

or book an appointment here

Keeping Up To Date for World Immunisation Week

By Children's Health, Immunisation

Keeping Up To Date for World Immunisation Week

 

A baby being kissed by his mother

World Immunisation Week is here, and it’s time to focus on vaccinations.  Around the world, more than 19 million children are unvaccinated or under-vaccinated. Australia has relatively high rates of vaccination, but there is still a minority of people who do not follow the recommended vaccination schedule.

In Australia, we’ve largely eliminated many once-common diseases through immunisation – but that doesn’t mean they can’t come back. Vaccines work, but we shouldn’t get complacent about illness. Let’s look at why it’s important to keep up-to-date.

Do Vaccines Work?

Vaccines are extremely effective at reducing disease, and are the safest and most cost-effective way to do so. Vaccines use our own immune systems to protect us. A weakened, dead or part of a virus or bacteria is introduced to the immune system. It’s too weak to actually infect us, but enough for our immune system to “learn” to fight it with specialised antibodies. If we encounter the real disease, our bodies will quickly recognise and destroy it, resulting in a mild version of the sickness or no infection at all.

It’s easy to feel like certain vaccines are unnecessary because we are used to living in a country that has spent decades attempting to eradicate serious diseases. However, just because there are fewer visible cases in the community doesn’t mean the disease has gone.

Are all Vaccines Really Necessary?

Some people avoid certain vaccines, believing them to be unnecessary. Measles is a good example of a sickness that people underestimate, and might avoid being immunised against. While for most people measles is a relatively mild (although unpleasant) illness, around 1 in 5,000 who get the virus will die. Other complications are hepatitis, meningitis, loss of vision, and complications for unborn children if a pregnant mother gets the disease.

In 2014, the WHO announced that measles was eliminated in Australia. Surely now we can stop vaccinating against it? Unfortunately not. As the recent measles outbreaks in various parts of Australia show, just because the disease has been eliminated in the Australian population does not mean it can’t be brought in from outside the country. When it is, a vaccinated population will make it much harder for an epidemic to spread.

Could Improved Hygiene Explain Disease Reduction?

Some people believe that reduction in serious diseases is not a result of vaccinating, but rather just because we as a society have become cleaner and more aware of diseases. Chicken pox is the best example of why this is not the case.

The vaccine for varicella (which causes chicken pox) has only been available since the mid-1990s. In the early 1990s, before the vaccine became available, the U.S. had about four million cases of chicken pox per year. By 2004, cases of chicken pox had dropped by 85%. Hygiene practices had not changed significantly in that time – only immunisation could explain such a drastic improvement.

What You Can Do

The most important job is to make sure that you and your family are up-to-date on their vaccinations. The Australian Childhood Immunisation Register has information on what your child has already had, and what they might need. If you have fallen behind, you can talk to your doctor about a catch-up schedule.

Getting vaccinated is absolutely vital for the health of your family and the wider community. If you have questions, your GP can answer them and point you in the right direction for accurate, trustworthy information. Vaccines work, and it’s up to each individual to keep ourselves and vulnerable people around us protected.

 

Click here to book an appointment with a GP to discuss immunisation –>

Stay Safer This Flu Season

By Children's Health, General Wellbeing, Immunisation

 Stay Safer This Flu Season

Flu season is coming! The influenza virus is always around, but the colder months of the year make us all huddle in together and makes it easier for the virus to spread. From April to October, the number of cases of influenza rise dramatically in Australia. Sometimes when people get a cold they call it “the flu”, but influenza is more than just a nasty cold – last year alone it was responsible for the deaths of 1,000 Australians.

There are a few safeguards we can put into place to help reduce the chances of getting the flu this flu season.

Basic Hygiene

Let’s start with the basics – one of the best ways of protecting yourself is the things we already know. Without becoming a “germaphobe”, it’s important to be aware of how we can pick up and transfer germs from one place to another – and how to break the cycle.

  • You’ve been washing your hands since you were little, but it might be time to revisit your technique. Make sure you’re washing each part of your hands (backs, palms, in between your fingers) with plenty of soap and hot water for at least the length of time it takes to sing “happy birthday” under your breath.
  • Use disposable tissues wherever possible and bin them straight away, and cover your whole mouth and nose whenever you cough or sneeze.
  • Try to keep your hands away from your face as much as possible – including rubbing your nose, eyes and mouth.
  • Clean surfaces regularly, especially when they’re high use such as door knobs, telephones and keyboards.
  • Lastly, flu season is not the time to share – make sure you wash cups, plates and cutlery thoroughly before using them.Stay

Get Vaccinated.

There is a whole lot of misinformation that circulates about the flu vaccine – with some people saying it can give you the flu, or that it doesn’t work. The truth is, while it’s not perfect, the flu vaccine is one of the best defences we have to protect ourselves against the flu.

The flu vaccine is less effective than other vaccines because of the nature of influenza. The virus mutates and changes regularly, and there are a number of viruses responsible. In your flu vaccine is protection against the 3 or 4 most likely strains to be around based on evidence from past seasons and from other countries. It’s not perfect, but it’s much better than nothing.

Not only does your flu vaccine help protect you from getting infected with an influenza virus, if you do get the virus your symptoms are likely to be less severe and go away quicker, with less risk of extra complications. That’s well worth the small investment in getting the vaccine.

Many people confuse a bad cold with the flu, but influenza can be much more serious, causing hospitalisation and even death in sometimes otherwise healthy people. If you come down with an illness, it’s important to do everything you can to avoid spreading it and to see a doctor if your symptoms don’t improve over a few days. Through this flu season, keep yourself safe and do your part to protect others from this nasty strain of viruses.

 

Click here to book an appointment with a GP to discuss the flu ->

Supporting International Childhood Cancer Day

By Cancer, Children's Health

Supporting International Childhood Cancer Day

 

 

While childhood cancer is a topic many people avoid, avoidance can mean that the people who experience it feel forgotten. Whether childhood cancer is a horrific hypothetical situation, or a diagnosis that has been experienced personally or through someone else, it’s good to take time to remember the children who are diagnosed every week. International Childhood Cancer Day raises awareness of the disease and is a call to support cancer patients, survivors and their families.

What is childhood cancer?

Any cancer diagnosed in a person aged 0-19 falls into this category. In Australia, over 950 children will be diagnosed with some form of cancer each year. 1/3 of those cancers will be found in children aged 0-4.

The most common cancers for adults, such as lung, rectal and breast cancers are very rare in children. Leukaemia, lymphoma and cancers of the central nervous system are the most common. Unlike adult cancers, childhood cancer isn’t linked to lifestyle and can’t be prevented. Other than some genetic links, there is no known cause for most childhood cancers.

Are children with cancer likely to survive?

It wasn’t so long ago that cancer in childhood was almost always fatal. These days, over 90% of Australian children survive. However, that number isn’t the same across all types of cancer. One type of cancer, acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, has a 90% survival rate, whereas the chances of surviving a brain tumour haven’t changed in decades from around 50%. Even when children’s bodies recover, cancer can take a huge toll on their mental and physical wellbeing, as well as putting a huge emotional and financial strain on families.

Circumstances can equal survival.

It’s a harsh reality, but according to the World Health Organisation up to 90% of childhood cancer deaths occur in areas that have low resources. People from low-income areas are less likely to detect cancer in time for early treatment, and they have less access to resources when parents or medical staff do suspect that something might be wrong. In Australia, there is a concerning survival gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous children, as well as for children who live in remote regions.

So what can be done?

Medical research into the various forms of childhood cancer is the only way to provide long-term solutions. Research breakthroughs can then be applied to the detection and treatment of cancer, which should eventually benefit children around the world. Other institutions provide support for children and their families as they undergo treatment.

If you wish to help financially, make sure you find a reputable charity where the assistance is guaranteed to go directly to the people who need it. Some other ideas might be fundraising, raising awareness, and taking the time to reach out if you know someone who has experienced a diagnosis of childhood cancer. If you are dealing with a diagnosis, make sure you have the support you need through this difficult time.

Click here to book an appointment with a GP to talk about childhood cancer –>

7 Tips to Ease Your Child Into School

By Children's Health, Family Planning & Parenting, Lifestyle

7 Tips to Ease Your Child Into School

 

 

Starting school is a big moment for children, but also for their parents too! Your family life will experience changes, and preparing your child to start school before the big day arrives makes the transition easier on everybody. Here are some tips to help your child feel ready for this next big step.

  1. Practice basic skills.

Using the toilet independently, reading letters and numbers, recognising their name when written and being able to follow basic instructions are just some skills you might want to think about before starting school.

  1. Do a trial run.

Make arrangements to visit the school together and meet the teacher. Try to think about areas of school life that your child might find confronting – knowing where the toilets are, where they can play at lunchtime, how to get to their classroom, where they can get a drink of water and where you’ll be picking them up is a good start.

  1. Use resources.

There is a huge range of books available that deal with the topic of starting school in a positive and uplifting way. Whether you buy them or borrow from the library, reading about the subject together can make it seem less threatening. Many children’s TV shows also feature episodes where the main characters go to school for the first time.

  1. Make it fun.

Instead of seeing uniform shopping and buying school supplies as a chore, turn it into a chance to spend some one-on-one time with your child and get them involved in the process. Depending on their personality they might want to do a fashion show in their uniform, show their new purchases to other members of the family, or help decorate their new belongings.

  1. Know their level.

If they have previously been attending kindy or day-care, have a chat to the educators to see what your child has been doing. Most states make available online a list of basic skills they expect school-aged children to have mastered, although don’t panic if your child isn’t quite there yet – children learn fast! If you do have any concerns, their future teacher is a good person to speak to.

  1. Stay calm.

Children do pick up on their parents’ emotions, so try to keep your approach upbeat but calm – at least in front of them! While you definitely don’t want to focus on the negatives, for some children there is such a thing as too much enthusiasm. For most children it helps to approach the day like a fun adventure instead of a huge, life-changing event (even though you know it is!).

  1. Encourage communication.

School encourages independence – which is a good thing, but you need to know that your child will talk to you or a trusted adult if they are experiencing a problem. Start to practice communicating before they go to school. Open communication looks different for each family, but setting time aside for one-on-one chat about their day is vital.

It’s also important that you try to keep those talks as a safe space, where they don’t feel like they will get into trouble for sharing with you (within reason of course!). Setting up a habit of communicating about the small things will give them the opportunity to share any big things that might come up.

 

Gather people around you who can support you and your family during this time – join a parenting forum, speak to the teacher, try to meet other families going to the same school, or chat to people who have been through the process before. Soon the whole process will become routine, and you’ll be able to advise other parents in the same position.

Click here to book an appointment with a GP to discuss your child’s health or development ->

Keeping Abreast of all Things Breastfeeding – 7 Facts You May Not Know

By Children's Health, Family Planning & Parenting, Nutrition, Women's Health

Keeping Abreast of all Things Breastfeeding – 7 Facts You May Not Know

 

It’s World Breastfeeding Week, and the theme this year is “sustaining breastfeeding together”. Breastfeeding is actually a team effort – the research shows that mothers breastfeed more effectively and for longer when they feel supported. So, let’s get together and look at 7 interesting facts you might not know about breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding benefits mothers

It’s not just baby that benefits – exclusively breastfeeding can have a natural birth control effect for the first six months – but while it’s 98% effective, it’s not 100% failsafe! Breastfeeding also reduces the risk of breast and ovarian cancer, helps most mothers to lose baby weight, and reduces the risk of type II diabetes and postnatal depression.

Breastfeeding helps the budget

Breastfeeding can save a family hundreds of dollars a year. Even without the cost of formula, breastfeeding mothers avoid the cost of bottles, bottle warmers, sterilisers, and specialised equipment. Even mothers who pump their breast milk will not normally require as much additional cost.

Breast milk adapts to baby’s needs

Breast milk changes its nutritional profile as your baby’s needs change. Breast milk for a 1 month old is different to the milk a mother produces for a 6 month old. It can even be different from one day to the next – for example, the body will automatically add more water during hot weather to help baby stay hydrated.

Big breasts don’t mean better breastfeeding

Breast size has very little to do with how much milk is produced and stored. Breast size is usually determined by fat deposits, but it is the mammary glands in breasts that produce milk.

Breastfeeding helps with bonding

Babies are born with limited eyesight – in fact, they can only see 20 – 30 cm. That happens to be the perfect distance to see their mum’s face while breastfeeding. Breastfeeding also gives skin-to-skin contact, which is perfect for bonding with a new baby.

Don’t put the brakes on breastfeeding

Mums can still breastfeed during most sicknesses – in fact, it’s often better for baby. By the time you have symptoms, you have probably already passed on the infection, so it’s best to keep breastfeeding so your baby gets the benefits of your antibodies to help fight the sickness. You also don’t need to avoid a glass or two of alcohol – just wait at least 2 hours after each drink before feeding again.

Breastfeeding knowledge is built up over time

While many people think breastfeeding comes naturally, it can actually take some women time and effort to learn. It’s normal to need help. That’s why one of the major factors that determine whether a mother sticks with breastfeeding is how much support she has.

Not everyone can breastfeed exclusively, but the vast majority of women are able to when given support.  If you have any concerns or questions about breastfeeding or your baby, your GP can help or point you towards free specialist services.

You can click here to book in with a GP –>

5 Reasons to get outside and play with your kids!

By Children's Health, General Wellbeing, Lifestyle

5 Reasons to get outside and play with your kids! 

Kids love to get outside to play – and as parents know, they should get out in the fresh air as much as possible. The National Day of Real Play is a fantastic initiative to encourage parents to get their kids playing creatively. More than just play, getting out of the house has real health benefits for your children. Let’s look at some great reasons why you should take advantage of the National Day of Real Play and get your kids playing.

1. Helps to improve vision.

Studies by vision specialists have shown that when children play outside, it can help with their depth perception and distance vision. It makes sense that getting out of the four walls at home encourages their eyes to see further. You could take advantage of any scenic places in your area or hide things in your garden for them to find, to help them use their eyes at different ranges and depths.

2. Vitamin D.

Vitamin D is a vitamin our body can get for itself, but we need sunlight to be able to make it. Unfortunately, as children stay indoors for longer periods, vitamin D deficiency is becoming more common. Don’t throw your sun safety teaching out, but just a few minutes of direct sunlight each day will help your child to keep their vitamin D up at the levels they need to stay healthy and strong.

3. Increased attention span.

Many parents have already discovered for themselves the benefits of getting their kids to “burn excess energy” before they settle down. It seems this instinct has scientific backing – children who play outside and are encouraged to join in creative activities have been shown to have an increased attention span when it’s time for other activities. Being able to focus on tasks is a great life skill for later, and getting active helps children to concentrate.

4. Reduced stress.

Sadly, stress levels in children are on the rise, and even young children are being brought to their doctors for consultations. While you should always seek advice if you have any concerns, encouraging your children to be outside can help to reduce their stress levels. Practising mindfulness exercises outside can also help kids to reduce stress and feel more balanced.

5. Muscle strength and coordination.

One of the easiest ways that we can get our children to improve their muscle strength is to encourage kids to use them! Getting outdoors provides lots of opportunities to run, play and get involved with sports.
Movement is the best way to see your children improve their gross and fine motor skills, and helps them to develop their muscles and improve their coordination.

There are so many more great reasons to get your kids outside and active. Have a look online for some National Day of Real Play activities that are being held in your area, and you’ll also find some great tips for easy and fun ways to get creative at home. If you do have any concerns about your children, remember to discuss them with your GP. You can click here to book if you need.

Food Allergy Vs Food Intolerance

By Children's Health, Nutrition

Food Allergy Vs Food Intolerance – What’s the difference?

Food has become the center of everyone’s attention, be it about eating habits, taking pictures of daily meals or just trying to understand how what we eat affects our bodies. In the process of understanding the effects of food on our body, we can often find ourselves thinking that we have an allergy after reacting badly to something we have eaten.

Food allergies and intolerances are often confused, as their symptoms can seem very similar. Truth be told, the two are very different and it is important to be able to identify one from another.

What is a food allergy?

A food allergy involves our body’s immune system reacting badly to a food protein that is otherwise harmless. When food is eaten with a particular type of protein, the immune system releases a large amount of chemical rapidly, which triggers immediate symptoms that can affect a person’s skin, gastrointestinal tract, heart and breathing in no particular order.

Some of the most common food that the causes allergies include:

  • Egg
  • Peanuts
  • Soy
  • Cow’s milk
  • Wheat
  • Tree nuts
  • Sesame
  • Fish and Shellfish

While these foods cause 90% of allergic reactions in Australian, any food can cause an allergic reaction as well as other non-foods including dust, pollen, animals and medication.

Signs and symptoms of food allergies can range from mild reactions in the skin, to moderate and severe life threatening reactions. It is important to be aware of these signs and symptoms. An allergic reaction can cause:

  • Hives or rashes (eczema)
  • Swelling of the lips, face and eyes
  • Abdominal pain and vomiting
  • Difficulty breathing due to swelling of the throat
  • Persistent coughing and wheezing
  • Dizziness and collapse
  • Pale skin and floppiness (in children)

Allergies are very common in Australia affecting 1 in 5 people at some stage of their life. Food allergies occur in around 1 in 20 children and 2 in 100 adults. They can occur at any stage of life. Children with food allergies may outgrow them over time; conversely, adults who previously did not suffer any allergies could develop one later in life. The severity is often unpredictable, therefore taking appropriate care and caution for people with known food allergies is important.

What is food intolerance?

Food intolerance is generally a chemical reaction occurring in the body, that does not involve the immune system. This can occur in response to naturally occurring chemical in food and to common food additives such as preservatives, artificial colors and flavorings. Reactions are generally dose dependent with each individual having a different tolerance level.

The exact mechanism of how food intolerance affects our body is not fully understood and is an area of growing research. However, some common signs and symptoms include itchy rashes, gastrointestinal issues such as bowel irritability and migraines.

 

If you are experiencing a food allergy or food intolerance, it may mean that you have to eliminate certain foods from your diet. It is important to make sure that eliminated foods are replaced with other alternatives, so that you are not missing out on important nutrients.

It is essential that an allergy or food intolerance is appropriately diagnosed by your GP or allergy specialist and an Accredited Practising Dietitian is consulted to ensure nutritional adequacy, appropriate management of food allergy and growth monitoring in children.

 

If you would like to see a GP to discuss your concerns about food allergies or intolerances, you can click here to book. We also have an onsite dietitian who you can be referred to if necessary –> 

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