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Food That Prevents and Heals Childhood Illnesses

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Food That Prevents and Heals Childhood Illnesses

The power of some foods to prevent and even heal childhood illnesses is nigh unto a miracle. If Americans ate better, it’s pretty likely that you wouldn’t find, as you do today, that one out of three American children suffers from a chronic illness –asthma, birth defects, cancer, lead poisoning and mental-behavioral disorders. Mostly those children are sick because of their exposure to the massive load of toxics while in their mothers’ womb or early in infancy.  Because their defenses weren’t strong enough, they lost the battle against these toxics.

So it’s a major problem that, in too many families, neither the children nor their pregnant mothers eat the food that defends against toxic assaults.  Of course, there’s a toxic point in all people, no matter how well nourished they are, and some children are more genetically more susceptible than others.   But the threshold for resistance will usually be lower in poorly-nourished children and children with specific nutritional weak spots.

This is more than just ‘eat an apple a day.’ Today a lot is known about which foods will protect against which specific illness, drawn from recent discoveries about how our body’s systems work.

One field of battle takes place in our immune system, where, as in all mammals, we generally can generate an army of antioxidants whose mission is to fight “oxidative stress.” Oxidative stress is the ordinary result of our body’s perpetual struggle to rid itself of the by-products of normal cellular metabolism.  Normally, our bodies win these daily battles.

But then, along come manmade contaminants.  Such as PCBs, found in trace amounts in all of us, though those chemicals (once widely used in electrical equipment) were banned decades ago.  Many types of PCBs cause a huge amount of oxidative stress, far more than many people’s antioxidant powers can cope with; the stress ends up inflaming the cells that line blood vessels and, in that way, damages the cardiovascular system as well as the brain and nervous system.  A child exposed in the womb to a dose that’s the equivalent of one single drop of PCBs in a bathtub can suffer a lowered IQ and a rise in attention disorder, and cardiovascular diseases later in life.

Manmade contaminants especially threaten children because their bodies produce lower levels than adults of the master detoxifying antioxidant, glutathione.  And some children make even lower levels, probably because of inherited genetic variations (see my article To Vaccinate Your Child or Not),  These children are often the ones with learning and behavioral disorders.

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Read more: Children, Diet & Nutrition, Eating for Health, Family, Health

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Alice Shabecoff

Alice Shabecoff is a freelance journalist focusing on family and consumer topics, and co-author of the recently published book Poisoned for Profit (Chelsea Green). Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Washington Post, Christian Science Monitor, and International Herald Tribune, among other publications. She was executive director of the National Consumers League, the country’s oldest consumer organization, and executive director of the national nonprofit Community Information Exchange.


+ add your own
9:17PM PDT on Jun 4, 2011

thanks-- forwarded to daughters.

6:37PM PDT on May 6, 2011

Real whole foods!

6:11PM PDT on May 5, 2011


9:45PM PDT on Apr 23, 2011


12:52PM PDT on Apr 4, 2011


2:54PM PDT on Apr 2, 2011

Good info thank you!

1:09AM PDT on Mar 23, 2011

Good info. Thanks.

10:16PM PDT on Mar 22, 2011

Fascinating info. It seems more and more that we get back to the good old-fashioned basics.

8:46PM PDT on Mar 20, 2011

Our great grandmothers were home chefs, and our grandmothers knew what they were talking about when they told us to eat our veggies picked from the garden.

That's why people need to get off the PC and get cooking some real food. Don't buy those lunchables, here comes REAL food.

11:13AM PDT on Mar 19, 2011

Feeding kids fresh, preferably organic foods with an emphasis on the veggies is a good way to spare them from a lot of health issues not only in childhood/adolescence, but for the rest of their lives. There's no better investment than in your health.


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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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