Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Guest Post: What's A Whole Food

I recently discovered Dr. Heather Manley's series of audio stories called Human Body Detectives, and my kids have been hooked ever since. At four years old, they are a bit young for the very clever workbooks (aimed at kids ages 6 - 10), but they LOVE the stories and have learned so much already about what it takes to keep your body healthy! One of the best part of the CDs is that the main characters are kids, too. Dr. Manley’s "kids teaching kids" approach empowers children to embrace healthy choices and increase their mind, body and nutrition consciousness. I was very excited when Dr. Heather offered to write a guest post here. I hope you enjoy it too.

By guest blogger Dr. Heather Manley

Dr. Heather
I am very fortunate to be able to go into second through fifth grade classes and teach my Dr. Heather’s Healthy Kids series to them. I go in four times a year, for about an hour each time, and we talk (and do) a lot of great things. One topic that brings in more discussions than I would have anticipated is whole foods and processed foods. At first, I thought it would be a simple talk but I soon realized that kids had no idea what the difference was. However, once they grasp the difference they were literally on fire about it. My favorite line was, “Ohhh, I get it. It is something you can pick off a tree or bush!” Children completely inspire me. 

We continue the talk by categorizing different colors of whole foods and what these foods do in the body. As you can imagine, it is always a lively chat! Here is more of an adult version, but go ahead and bring this topic up with your kids. It will make for a great dinner conversation!

Red:  Folate, lycopene, flavonoids…..oh my!
Lycopene has been linked to fight cancer cells, folate to prevent birth defects, depression and irritability and certain types of flavanoids (or bioflavonoids) are known for their antioxidant activity (defending us from those free radicals!).
Also, think red = heart because red foods may help fight heart disease.

Green: Lutein to the rescue!
Green foods are full of nutrients,  fiber and there are so many to choose from: avocados, spinach, broccoli, kale, kiwi – YUM! Lutein is  an antioxidant, and found in high concentrations in the eye (and associated with the ability to see). Bring on lutein rich foods to decrease your risk of blindness…which can occur in the aging process.

Yellow and Orange: Vitamin A or beta-carotene?
Yellow foods are packed with beta-carotene and the body does its magic by converting the beta-carotene into vitamin A. The importance of vitamin a, besides seeing in the dark, is keeping the tissues of the respiratory, urinary and intestinal tracts healthy. By doing this, it makes it difficult for germs to attach to the linings of these tracts. Therefore a great help for the immune system.

Purple and Blue: Blood vessels, memory and what?
Back to flavonoids, but this type of flavonoid found in the blue purple foods, helps to maintain strong healthy blood vessel walls. This means a decrease in heart disease! Eating blueberries may also help with your memory, which, I am admitting, I could use some help with in my aging years! Lucky for me, this is one of my favorite fruit.

All in all, colorful foods are packed with all types on nutrients that do all sorts of things in the body to help us function optimally everyday. Next time you are at the market, think about filling your cart with some color (easier if you stay in the periphery of the store), make that dinner plate like a rainbow and make up stories  about what certain foods do in the body. Kids love this! They will, I guarantee, think about these stories next time they are up to bat or running a race.

Be well,
Dr. Heather

Human Body Detectives workbooks
Dr. Heather Manley, who in 2001 received her medical degree from the National College of Naturopathic Medicine in Portland, Oregon, is a practicing physician whose primary interest is preventative healthcare for families. She is the author of Human Body Detectives, her educational series of story-telling audiobooks and accompanying activity workbooks. She also promotes wellness and naturopathic healthcare on her website She lives on the Big Island of Hawaii with her husband and two daughters, and is currently at work on the next Human Body Detectives adventure.

Take some time to look through Dr. Heather's website as she has some great video features like cooking tips and healthy food talk with her daughters, Merrin and Pearl (the original Human Body Detectives), free downloadable coloring pages and trailers for all three adventures. If you want to get your kids excited about health, nutrition, science and creative problem solving, this is a great series to check out!

HBD Stories and Workbooks:
 • Engage kids in a fun way to learn about how their bodies work
 • Encourage kids to make healthy food and lifestyle choices
 • Inspire kids to take charge of their own health
 • Support parents and teachers by enhancing science/health curricula

HBD Mission Statement
Human Body Detectives (HBD), offers fun, educational adventure stories and activities focused on specific body systems and the nutritional needs of each system. In doing so, HBD inspires children to be proactive and confident in striving for optimal health and taking ownership of their own physical beings.
twitter: @drheathernd   Become a fan of HBD on facebook!

Thanks for reading!
The Twin Coach
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2 Great Comments Made By Clicking Here!:

Christina Simon said...

This would make a GREAT gift item for my kids some of their friends. Thanks!!!

The Twin Coach said...

I totally thought of you when I posted this since you have kids in the perfect age range. The workbooks are cool - lots of things like crosswords, anagrams, memory games etc. kids can't stop talking about lymphocytes and macrophages. It's hilarious.

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