One of the hot topics of conversation when I get together with my mummy-mates is food. What will the kids eat, what won’t they eat? Are they eating enough, what will stop them and us getting stinking colds, all of that and more. So when Nurture Drinks gave me the opportunity to have a chat with top nutritionist Dr Sarah Brewer, I saw my chance to answer all our questions and more.
What are the main concerns about family nutrition at the moment?
Lack of vitamin D is a concern, a study in Southampton found that a third of children seen in an orthopaedic clinic had low levels of vitamin D and were at risk of developing rickets, 15 minutes of sensible sun exposure is a healthy way to top up vitamin D levels.
Are supplements for children worth it?
Up to the age of 5 the government currently recommend children take supplements of vitamins A, C and D, a good children’s multivitamin should cover it. Over the age of 5 it depends on how well they eat and how good their diet is. The Imune Nurture drink is a great way for children to top up their vitamin levels too.
Does vitamin C help with colds?
If you’re stressed or have an active lifestyle then it can help, but a balanced, healthy diet is key. Zinc lozenges can reduce the length of cold symptoms too. Olbas oil is excellent to helping with snuffly noses.
What can we do to look after ourselves as parents and boost our immune health?
Take a good multivitamin, don’t skip meals. Taking a rhodiola supplement may help reduce stress. Getting plenty of sleep is the key, but it’s not always easy as a parent. Try meditating before bed, aroma baths and power naps can help too.
How important are Omega 3 oils?
Omega 3 fish oils are really important and key for brain and eye function. There is evidence that omega 3 deficiency can contribute to ADHD, poor attention and behavioural problems. If you can incorporate oily fish in to your families’ diet that will help, so eating homemade salmon fish fingers and nuts are a great way to add omega 3 to diets. Two to four servings of oily fish a week is the current recommendation, though this is less if you are pregnant or trying to conceive.
Omega 3 is now added to some follow on milks and if you’re concerned about your family getting enough omega 3, then fish oil supplements are available and there’s an algae supplement for vegetarians. Omega 3 is a brilliant brain booster, and if you take it with evening primrose it can also reduce wrinkles and scaly skin.
We like cooking together as a family. What’s good to make together?
Things like homemade chicken nuggets or fish fingers are good, dip in egg and roll in breadcrumbs; make your fish fingers from salmon and that’s a great way to get some oily fish into your diet. Pizzas made with your own sauce and fresh toppings are fun to make too.
Should you hide veg in food, or it best to be upfront?
I hide veg, when I make a bolognaise for example I grate veg into the sauce and cook it out, chopped mushrooms are good because they can taste quite meaty, maybe add some soy protein or lentils too. All veg, hidden or not is good.
How should we deal with picky eating phases?
Keep offering healthy options and they’ll eventually eat them, try saying eat half and leave half, some is better than none. Kids won’t go hungry so keep offering them good things.
Fruit and veg. Is it 5 or 7 a day now?
It’s still 5 a day as a minimum, most people average about 4 a day, in America they recommend 10 portions a day. I have an “open fruit” policy at home, I have a large fruit bowl and the family can eat as much fruit from it as they want, variety is important.
Is diluted squash better than pure juices?
Squash is a good option for getting then to drink water, it’s best to dilute more than the bottle recommends, dilute as far as you can get away with. I prefer squash with natural sweeteners. Again with pure juices you should dilute them down, so half juice, half water. Like the Nurture drinks which are half juice and half water.
Is it true you shouldn’t eat after 8pm?
If you do it regularly it’s not great for you, but every so often won’t hurt. It can slow down your metabolism if you consistently eat late at night.
What’s good for strengthening hair and nails?
Nail strength is largely genetic, but biotin, silica and fish oils can help with your nails. Poor hair strength and condition can be a sign that your diet is poor or you’re under stress, a good multivitamin can help, as can eating more protein and taking a protein supplement. Stress causes constriction to the scalp so stimulating the scalp can help as can caffeine shampoo. Nourkrin supplements and treatments are expensive, but can help with hair growth too.
Are there any links between diet and asthma?
I’ve written a book about that subject, Overcoming Asthma: The Complete Complementary Health Program. Sensitivity to certain foods can trigger asthma, for example sulphites such as those found in wine and tartrazine in drinks can have an impact. Coffee, an apple a day, oily fish and a whole food diet can help.
Why do you recommend Nurture drinks?
It’s an exciting new development, Nurture have no added sugar and the no spill cap is great. The flavours are interesting and they can really help boost immune health. They contain beta glucans which can help reduce the chance of catching a cold and can reduce the length of the cold too.