Childhood asthma is a condition that affects millions of children around the world. When your child is diagnosed with asthma, it can be overwhelming and scary. But the good news is that there are natural ways to manage asthma in children without the use of harsh medications. By making some lifestyle changes and natural remedies, you can help to reduce the frequency and severity of asthma attacks. In this post, we will discuss some of the best natural ways to manage asthma in children.
1. Maintain a Healthy Diet
A healthy diet is one of the best natural remedies for managing asthma in children. Studies have shown that a diet that is rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains can help reduce the incidence of asthma in children.
According to a paper published in the Journal of Asthma and Allergy Educators, a balanced, diverse diet that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables may decrease the risk for asthma among children and adolescents. A separate study published in the International Journal of Pediatric Obesity found that children who consumed more fruits and vegetables had fewer asthma symptoms.
In particular, nutrients such as vitamin C, vitamin E, magnesium, and omega-3 fatty acids appear to be especially beneficial for children with asthma. One review of several studies, published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, found that higher intakes of vitamin C, magnesium, and omega-3 fatty acids were associated with better lung function and fewer asthma symptoms in children.
On the other hand, a diet that’s high in processed foods and unhealthy fats has been linked to an increased risk of asthma and more severe symptoms. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that a diet high in saturated fats, trans fats, and refined sugars was associated with an increased risk of asthma in children.
2. Get Enough Sleep
Sleep is very important for a healthy immune system and body. Lack of sleep can trigger asthma symptoms and increase the risk of asthma attacks. Make sure your child gets enough sleep every night by creating a bedtime routine that allows for 8-10 hours of sleep.
Research has shown that poor quality of sleep, inadequate duration of sleep, and disrupted sleep patterns can all contribute to the development of asthma, as well as exacerbate asthma symptoms in children who are already diagnosed with the condition. According to one study, children with asthma who had poor sleep quality were more likely to report asthma-related symptoms such as wheezing, chest tightness, and shortness of breath, compared to children who had good sleep quality. Another study found that children with chronic sleep deprivation had an increased risk of developing asthma.
Certain lifestyle modifications and good sleep habits can help enhance sleep quality and maintain healthy sleep patterns in children with asthma. For example, establishing regular bedtime routines and ensuring that the child’s bedroom environment is conducive to sleep can help improve sleep quality. Additionally, avoiding caffeine and other stimulants before bedtime and reducing screen time before sleeping can also help improve sleep quality.
3. Stay Active
Regular physical activity has been shown to have a positive impact on childhood asthma. Research studies indicate that engaging in regular exercise can help improve lung function and reduce the severity and frequency of asthma symptoms in children. Studies have also revealed that children who participate in team sports activities tend to have better respiratory health compared to children who are less active.
Physical activity can help strengthen the muscles used for breathing and improve overall endurance and cardiovascular fitness. A study published in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology found that children with asthma who participated in a six-week physical activity program saw significant improvement in lung function and reduced the need for medication compared to those who did not participate in the program.
Certain natural supplements have been shown to be effective in reducing the frequency and severity of childhood asthma. Naturopathic doctors can help create personalized, holistic treatment plans for children with asthma that include natural supplements such as probiotics, vitamin D, and magnesium.
Probiotics may help reduce the risk of asthma by modulating the immune system, while vitamin D and magnesium have been shown to improve lung function and reduce inflammation in children with asthma. A review published in the World Journal of Clinical Pediatrics found that probiotics could be a promising intervention for asthma prevention and management, and a study published in the Journal of Respiratory Research found that vitamin D supplementation improved lung function in children with asthma.
Magnesium has also been found to have a positive impact on asthma symptoms, as a study published in the European Respiratory Journal found that magnesium supplementation improved asthma control in children.
5. Keep The Air Clean
Poor air quality can trigger asthma symptoms in children. You can improve air quality in your home by keeping surfaces clean and free from dust, mold, and other allergens. Keep windows and doors open to allow fresh air in. Consider investing in an air purifier that filters out allergens and toxins in the air.
Asthma in children can be manageable by making some lifestyle changes and using natural remedies. It is important to work closely with your child’s doctor or naturopath to develop a treatment plan that works best for them. Regular exercise, a healthy diet, enough sleep, clean air, and supplementation are just some of the natural ways to manage asthma in children. With proper management, your child can live an active and healthy life.
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More and more families are choosing to adopt a vegan or vegetarian diet. According to a recent study published by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, plant-based diets can meet all nutritional needs for infants and children. However, parents must be mindful about the potential nutritional deficiencies that may arise with these diets. In this blog post, I will discuss the most common nutrient deficiencies that vegan and vegetarian kids might experience and provide tips on how to ensure they get enough nutrients.
1. Vitamin B12
Vegan and vegetarian diets are often low in Vitamin B12 since it is most commonly found in animal products. This nutrient is necessary for healthy brain function, red blood cell production, and DNA synthesis. Fortunately, several vegan sources of B12 are available, including fortified foods such as plant-based milks, cereals, and nutritional yeast. Parents can also give their kids a B12 supplement or buy a vegan B12 supplement spray.
Some common symptoms of B12 deficiency in kids include:
Weakness and fatigue
Numbness or tingling in hands and feet
Difficulty walking and balancing
Mouth ulcers or sores
Anemia (low red blood cell count)
Recommendation: Active Chewable B12 from Genestra provides 1mg of Methyl-B12 in a cherry flavored chewable tablet. It is vegan, gluten, dairy and soy free.
Iron is essential for the production of hemoglobin, a protein in red blood cells responsible for carrying oxygen throughout the body. Iron deficiency is common in vegan and vegetarian kids because plant-based sources of iron (such as beans, lentils, and leafy greens) are not as easily absorbed as animal-derived iron. To increase iron absorption, parents should pair iron-rich foods with vitamin C foods such as citrus fruits. When iron deficiency is present it can be difficult to raise levels sufficiently with diet alone. Iron supplementation can be useful, however, it is important to do so under the care of a family physician or naturopathic doctor. Too much iron can be as problematic as too little.
Some common symptoms of iron deficiency in kids include:
Pale skin or lips
Fatigue or weakness
Irritability or fussiness
Decreased growth and development
Cold hands and feet
Recommendation: Floradix Liquid Iron is a great tasting vegetarian friendly iron supplement with synergistic B-vitamins.
Many people wonder whether a vegan diet can provide adequate protein for growing kids. The answer is undoubtedly yes! Plants like beans, lentils, tofu, and quinoa pack significant protein. However, it is essential to combine these protein sources with whole grains to create complete protein. It is also okay to offer plant-based protein sources throughout the day and not all at once. Edamame, nut butter, and vegan protein shakes are excellent options. Check out my article on Nutritional Requirements for kids to gain an idea of how much protein your child requires. If a protein deficiency in suspected, using a protein supplement can be an easy way to boost your child’s daily protein consumption.
Some signs and symptoms of protein deficiency in kids include:
Edema or swelling in the feet, hands, or belly
Slow growth or failure to thrive
Loss of muscle mass
Delayed wound healing
Weak or brittle hair and nails
Loss of appetite or difficulty eating
Irritability or mood changes
Lowered immunity, leading to increased infections
Calcium is critical for strong bones, muscles, and teeth. While dairy products are the most common source of calcium, vegan kids can get enough calcium from plant-based sources like fortified non-dairy milk, broccoli, bok choy, and kale. Parents can also offer vegan calcium supplements.
Some common signs and symptoms of calcium deficiency in kids include:
Delayed development and growth
Weak bones that are prone to fractures
Muscle cramps and spasms
Numbness and tingling in the fingers, toes, or face
Weak and brittle nails
Tooth decay and other dental problems
Fatigue or lethargy
Irritability or mood changes
Loss of appetite
Recommendation: Calcium Kids Chewable tablets from Progressive Nutritional’s provides calcium and other micronutrients in a great tasting sugar free and vegetarian format.
Zinc is essential for growth and development, immune system function, and wound healing. Zinc can be found in nuts, seeds, and legumes, and fortified cereals. Parents could also offer vegan supplements to ensure adequate zinc intake. it is important to note that long term zinc supplementation can cause copper deficiency. Therefore, it is important to supplement under the supervision of a physician, nutritionist or naturopathic doctor.
Some common signs and symptoms of zinc deficiency in kids include:
Delayed growth and development
Poor appetite and weight loss
Delayed wound healing
Diarrhea and other digestive issues
Skin rash or dry skin
Weakness and fatigue
Difficulty concentrating or memory problems
Mood changes, such as irritability or depression
Recommendation: Kids Liquid Zinc with Vitamin C from Organika is a product I have used with many patients. It provides 3.5mg of zinc with 200mg of vitamin C in a great tasting easy to use liquid format.
If done right, a vegan or vegetarian diet can provide all the nutrients necessary for growing kids. However, it is essential to be mindful of potential nutrient deficiencies and incorporate nutrient-rich, plant-based foods into meals. If parents choose to offer supplements, it is best to talk to a healthcare professional first. With the right approach, vegan and vegetarian diets can be healthy and satisfying for kids.
FPIES (Food Protein-Induced Enterocolitis Syndrome) is a type of food allergy that affects the gastrointestinal system. It typically affects infants and young children and is characterized by severe vomiting, diarrhea, and dehydration.
The exact cause of FPIES (Food Protein-Induced Enterocolitis Syndrome) is not fully understood, but there are several theories behind its etiology. Here are some examples:
1. Immune system response:
FPIES is thought to be caused by an abnormal immune system response to certain food proteins. Specifically, it is believed that the immune system in children with FPIES overreacts to certain food proteins, leading to inflammation and damage to the gastrointestinal tract.
There may be a genetic component to FPIES. Studies have shown that children with a family history of food allergies, eczema, or asthma may be at increased risk for developing FPIES.
3. Delayed immune response:
Unlike other food allergies, FPIES does not involve an immediate allergic response. Instead, FPIES is characterized by a delayed immune response, which can make it difficult to diagnose.
4. Gut microbiome:
The gut microbiome, which is the collection of microorganisms that live in the digestive tract, may play a role in the development of FPIES. Some studies have suggested that an imbalance in the gut microbiome may contribute to the development of food allergies, including FPIES.
5. Environmental factors:
Exposure to certain environmental factors, such as pollution or toxins, may increase the risk of developing FPIES. However, more research is needed to fully understand the role of environmental factors in the development of FPIES.
It’s important to note that while these theories provide some insight into the development of FPIES, more research is needed to fully understand the underlying causes of this condition.
There are several non-pharmacological treatments that have been suggested for managing FPIES symptoms. Here are some evidence-based examples:
1. Elimination Diet:
The most effective non-pharmacological treatment for FPIES is an elimination diet. This involves identifying and eliminating the specific food(s) that trigger FPIES symptoms. Foods that are commonly associated with FPIES include cow’s milk, soy, and grains such as rice and oats.
2. Hydrolyzed Formula:
For infants who are unable to tolerate breast milk or traditional formula, a hydrolyzed formula may be recommended. This type of formula is easier to digest and less likely to trigger FPIES symptoms.
Some studies suggest that probiotics may be beneficial for managing FPIES symptoms. Probiotics can help promote healthy gut bacteria and reduce inflammation in the gut.
4. Hypoallergenic Diet:
In some cases, a hypoallergenic diet may be recommended. This involves eliminating all potential food allergens from the diet and gradually reintroducing them one at a time to identify the specific trigger(s) of FPIES symptoms.
5. Nutritional Support:
Infants and young children with FPIES may experience nutritional deficiencies due to vomiting and diarrhea. Nutritional support may include the use of oral rehydration solutions, intravenous fluids and vitamin/mineral supplementation. These help to manage dehydration, maintain electrolyte balance and nutrient deficiencies.
6. Food Sensitivity Testing:
Food sensitivity testing can be useful in identifying potential trigger foods that may be causing symptoms. While there is no specific test for FPIES, food sensitivity testing can help identify foods that your child may be reacting to. The two most common types of food sensitivity tests are IgE and IgG tests. IgE tests measure the body’s immediate immune response to specific foods, while IgG tests measure the body’s delayed immune response to specific foods. While food sensitivity testing is not a definitive diagnostic tool for FPIES, it can help guide an elimination diet and identify potential trigger foods. However, it’s important to note that food sensitivity testing should be interpreted in the context of a complete medical history and physical examination. It’s important to work with a healthcare professional to interpret the results and develop an appropriate treatment plan. Click here for more information on food sensitivity testing.
It’s important to note that these non-pharmacological treatments should be implemented under the guidance of a healthcare professional. If you suspect that your child has FPIES, it’s important to seek medical attention and receive a proper diagnosis and treatment plan. Click here to book an appointment.
As parents, our first priority is always to ensure the physical and emotional well-being of our children. However, with the fast-paced and demanding world that we live in, children, too, are often faced with stress and anxiety. Childhood anxiety can present itself in various ways, including excessive worrying, fear of separation, social anxiety, and panic attacks, among others. While medication is often prescribed for children diagnosed with anxiety disorders, more and more parents are seeking natural and holistic ways to manage their child’s anxiety. In this blog post, I will discuss natural solutions for childhood anxiety that parents can consider to ensure that their children thrive, grow, and develop into well-adjusted adults.