HEALTH / NUTRITION
Ask our experts
We invite our readers to ask a natural therapist their burning questions. Naturopath, Gemma Hurditch, is our expert for this issue, for the College of Naturopathic Medicine
QI want to help my daughter develop healthy teeth and gums. She’s six months old and starting to teethe. What are the best foods to support good dental health?
AProcessed sugar is the enemy of healthy teeth and gums. Beware of all sugary foods and drinks, including the “tooth-kind” or “lite” varieties. Whole foods and breast milk are still the best for health, including dental health. Be mindful of cereals and carbohydrates like bread, rice porridge and rusks which can stick to the teeth. No fruit juices, cordials, etc. - pure water is best to rinse the mouth and drink. Offer steamed broccoli to chew on and naturally scrub teeth with the fibrous stalks. Cauliflower and other fruit and sweeter vegetables like carrots are fine to eat but rinse or drink some water at the end of a meal. Probiotic foods like live yoghurt and kefir can be beneficial for oral health. Breast milk on its own does not cause dental caries and may even prevent it, according to large population studies which have shown no relationship between breastfeeding and tooth decay. Formula milk may contribute to tooth decay - if formula fed, encourage a little plain water after a bottle and never leave an unfinished bottle in baby’s mouth if asleep.
QMy twelve-year old son is big for his age and a nurse at school suggested he should lose weight. What do you recommend for someone so young who is clearly going through hormonal changes, in terms of losing weight? He eats fairly healthily at home but does have a big appetite.
A‘Dieting’ for one so young is not appropriate. A focus on whole family healthy eating,
which will facilitate healthy weight, is the best approach. Some things to keep in mind: Foods with high fibre content offer satiety, blood sugar control and support the gut microbiome; a poor microbiome is one of the factors implicated in rising obesity. Let him fill up on vegetables and fruit, offer plenty of fresh, minimally processed dishes and raw salads in the summer - phytonutrients and vitamins/minerals support healthy hormone balance. Zinc (pumpkin seeds, ginger, meat, poultry) is beneficial for hormone production in men. Chromium (broccoli, brewer's yeast, potatoes, whole grains) helps support blood sugar control and reduces sweet cravings. Encourage participation in home cooking: promotes healthy eating and introduction of new foods. Make sure he is well hydrated
- thirst can be mistaken for hunger, so offer plain, filtered water. Banish ‘junk’ foods, transfats, processed sugars, sweeteners, low-sugar, diet, ‘tooth-kind’ and fizzy drinks. Cultivate a love for outdoor pursuits, family hikes, sports clubs, swimming... Walking and using a pushbike instead of driving are activities you can easily built into the day.
QAs a vegan, what is the best way for me to ensure I get enough calcium as I get older please?
ADaily must haves: green leafy veg - as these, alongside fortified soy or dairy-alternative products, will be your richest sources - spring greens (exceptional levels), kale, bok choy, mustard greens, Chinese cabbage and broccoli. Blackstrap molasses: contains plenty of magnesium as well as calcium necessary for healthy bones Almonds, tahini and nut butters. Fortified foods such as non-dairy milks, organic tofu: particularly those that are ‘calcium set’. Check the label; most mainstream brands use calcium sulphate as the setting agent. Adequate vitamin D: get plenty of sunshine on bare skin. Have blood levels tested for optimum amounts supplementation very likely to be required, particularly in the winter months and as we age, due the body’s reduced ability to produce vitamin D. Consider your vitamin K for bone health - again leafy green veg are an excellent source of this nutrient - Brussels sprouts, spinach and kiwi fruit as well as all the other leafy greens described above.
MORE INSPIRATION: CNM (College of Naturopathic Medicine) trains students for successful careers in natural therapies in class and online: naturopathy-uk.com
OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2019 thegreenparent.co.uk