Category

Food & Eating

thumb sucking solution

Why, when and how we should encourage our children to break the thumb sucking habit

By | family, Food & Eating, Health, teeth and dental care
by Dr Chaw-Su Kyi
Orthodontist

Thumb sucking is a natural and soothing habit that many babies start while they are in the womb. Studies have shown that foetuses can start thumb sucking as early as the 10th week of gestation! From birth, the habit often naturally continues, until the age of three or four. Most often, children will stop at around this age as a result of learning other ways of expressing themselves like speaking.

For older children who continue to be thumb suckers, peer pressure at school can often end the habit. However, according to the British Orthodontic Society one in every eight children (aged 7-11) have a prolonged digit sucking habit. Girls are more likely to be prolonged digit suckers than boys.

Why stop thumb sucking?
Thumb (or finger) sucking is probably one of the most common habits infants have, and for the majority of us, we often stop in our early years. However, it can prove to be a difficult habit to break. Research has shown that there can be a number of problems associated with thumb or finger sucking in children. If the act of digit sucking is performed vigorously over a prolonged period of time, this may cause issues with the growth of the mouth and the alignment of child’s teeth. Because thumb sucking affects the development of the teeth, jaw and palate, the habit can also change how children eat and speak. Thumb sucking may cause lisping and other speech impediments, including an inability to pronounce hard consonant sounds like ‘D’ and ‘T’.

If your child is still sucking their thumb once the permanent teeth begin to erupt, it can begin to impact the adult teeth. If the thumb (or finger) is placed in the mouth for prolonged periods of time, the thumb itself begins to act like a brace – pushing the upper front teeth forwards and the lower front teeth back. As the thumb is resting in-between the upper and lower teeth, it can also prevent the normal eruption of the front teeth, causing an open bite and the front teeth not to meet.

When we should look to stop the habit?
The sooner a child can be encouraged to stop thumb sucking, the greater the probability no lasting impact will be experienced to the teeth.

If your child’s teeth have begun to move as a result of thumb sucking, there is still a possibility, if the habit is stopped early enough, the teeth can start to return to their normal positions as children are going through their growth and development. This may mean they do not require orthodontic treatment to correct any misalignment of their teeth caused by their thumb sucking.

How to stop thumb or finger sucking?
Thumb sucking can be a tricky habit for children to break. It’s one of those things, as adults that we often shy away from encouraging our children to stop doing as we know it may be difficult and stressful to try and stop. We first have to start with the child – if he or she is determined to stop the habit, it will happen, but having a habit breaker has shown to aid in the cessation of the habit.

All habit breakers work by acting as a reminder – letting your child know that ‘their digits are in the mouth and to take it out’. There are varnishes which you can paint onto the nails which are designed to be extremely unpleasant tasting. Some parents turn to thumb or finger guards, that can be worn at all times, and prompt children to remove their digits as the feel of the fabric in the mouth is less pleasant or comforting.

If these remedies do not work, there are other options that have been shown to be effective at stopping thumb sucking. As well as straightening the teeth orthodontists, commonly see and treat patients to help stop thumb-sucking. They are able to fit a type of brace to act as a permanent habit-breaker. The brace is often fixed with a little ‘gate’ on the palate which acts as the ‘reminder’ to remove the thumb.

These devises tend to be fitted for around three months before they are removed, typically the habit is broken within a month, and the device is left in situ for at least two months after the habit has stopped to ensure it’s ceased.

It is important that the digit sucking habit is stopped at a young age to allow the teeth to ‘recover’. If the habit is continued through to adolescence, it may have severe consequences on the developing dentition – particularly their alignment. Often brace treatment with fixed braces will be needed and possibly removing teeth to allow space for the teeth to be moved back into their correct alignment to attain a
good overbite.

If you would like some advice on stopping a thumb-sucking habit from Dr Chaw-Su Kyi please visit

Can friendly bacteria help reduce the occurrence of allergies?

By | baby health, children's health, Education, family, Food & Eating, Green, Health
by Rebecca Traylen (ANutr)
Probio7

What is an allergy?
Allergy UK define an allergy as “the response of the body’s immune system to normally harmless substances, such as pollens, foods, and house dust mites. Whilst in most people these substances (allergens) pose no problem, in allergic individuals their immune system identifies them as a ‘threat’ and produces an inappropriate response.”

Allergies such as eczema, hay fever and certain foods are becoming increasingly common in children and are on the rise. They can have a major effect on children and their families lives and therefore, anything we can do to understand how they develop and where possible minimise their occurrence should be encouraged.

What is the link between your gut and allergies?
There are trillions of microbes including bacteria, fungi, archaea, viruses and protozoans which are present in and on our body. 95% of these microbes are found in our gastrointestinal tract, weighing a staggering 2kg! Our gut microbiome has several important roles including digesting food, ensuring proper digestive function and helping with the production of some vitamins (B and K).

Our gut microbiome can strengthen the integrity of our gut wall and helps reduce inflammation. It also helps teach our immune system to respond appropriately to substances and fight off harmful pathogens. This allows our immune system to react appropriately to substances and ensures it doesn’t overreact to substances, as typically seen in allergies.

70% of our immune system lies along our digestive tract which further highlights the significant role our gut microbiome can play in our immune system.

Rates of allergies have been increasing as we have moved towards more urban environments. This has meant the variety of foods we are eating have decreased, our use of antibiotics has increased, and we are spending less time outdoors. Subsequently, this has been thought to reduce the diversity of our gut microbiome.

Research has shown that having a healthy and diverse gut microbiome is associated with fewer allergic symptoms. Therefore, our move to urban environments is thought to play a role in the increased number of allergies, through changes in our gut microbiome.

Reducing the risk of allergies
Friendly bacteria are live beneficial bacteria that can be consumed in food or supplement form. Taking friendly bacteria has been suggested to reduce the occurrence of allergies by supporting the gut microbiome.

One way to reduce the risk of allergies in your infant starts in pregnancy. Research has shown that taking a friendly bacteria supplement during pregnancy may reduce the chances of their infant developing eczema by 22%.

In addition, taking fish oil supplements during pregnancy may also reduce the chance of children becoming sensitised to egg (a sign of a potential allergy) by 31% and also may reduce the chances of peanut allergy.

Therefore, supplementing with both friendly bacteria supplements and omega-3 during pregnancy could be of particular benefit for allergy prevention in the infant.

Friendly bacteria supplements during infancy have also been demonstrated in some cases to prevent atopic sensitisation (this is a positive test for eczema, hay fever and allergic asthma).

Should you try a friendly bacteria supplement?
Whilst the research is still relatively new around friendly bacteria supplements and allergies, so far, they are shown to be safe and well tolerable. If you have a family history of allergies, taking a friendly bacteria supplement might be worth considering, either during pregnancy or for your infant.

Most importantly you should be looking after your gut by eating plenty of fibre, having a diverse diet, getting outside and exercising for at least 20 minutes every day, staying hydrated and reducing stress whenever possible.

Make sure you check with your GP or health practitioner before introducing any supplements when pregnant, breastfeeding or on medication.

Probio7 have been supporting digestive and immune health in the UK since 1995 and we are dedicated to developing a unique range of the highest quality friendly bacteria supplements. Please visit www.probio7.com for more information.

Springtime learning

By | Education, environment, Food & Eating, Gardening, Green, Sprintime

There are lots that your preschooler can learn if you take them outside in the spring. It’s a season of change and there are many fun and engaging activities for little ones to enjoy while exploring the natural world around them. After what has probably felt like one of the longest winters, everyone will be keen to get out and enjoy the longer days and the feelings of optimism that spring brings.

It is an ideal time to see and understand the changes that take place in nature; an opportunity for children to become familiar with the joys and wonder of the new season.

In spring the weather usually turns warmer, trees begin to grow their leaves, plants start to flower and young animals such as chicks and lambs are born. Children’s farms are one of the best places to learn about spring. Many have nature trails to follow where you can spot the first signs of spring and of course there are also baby chicks and lambs to see. Some farms run special events during the lambing season and you may even be lucky enough to see a lamb being born.

On a rainy spring day, let your toddler put on their wellington boots and splash in the puddles. This can lead onto a discussion about how all the rain during spring is important for helping the plants, flowers, trees and animals grow. You can also look out for the early signs of spring as trees and the first flowers of the season begin to bud. Nurseries and preschools are also likely to be talking about these themes with the children so your toddler will probably have a lot to chat about!

As we know children generally wake up early, so take advantage of this and walk outside in the early morning. Encourage your toddler to listen out for the birds’ tweeting and singing; it’s a sure sign that spring is on its way. The sight of a carpet of bluebells is another sign that spring is here, so try to go for a woodland walk and see who can spot the bluebells first. You could take a magnifying glass and download a minibeast spotter to see what’s living on your doorstep – its’s a great way to make a walk more interesting for children and they will enjoy looking through the magnifying glass to discover what they can see and then try to find out what it’s called.

Finally, it is the perfect time to introduce children to gardening. Working in a garden, a child can experience the satisfaction that comes from caring for something over time, while observing the cycle of life. Do some research to find out what plants and vegetables give the quickest and most reliable results and get digging with your little one. Children are always much more likely to eat something that they have grown themselves, so this is a great way to get them to eat their vegetables!

Bump to bum shuffler – a vegan parent’s journey

By | children's health, Education, Food & Eating
by Siobhan Dolan
PR Manager, Viva!

From the moment I found out I was pregnant, I had no doubt I’d raise my child vegan. Good nutrition is the key to a healthy life and I knew that by feeding my baby a balanced healthy vegan diet they would thrive.

At that time I’d already been vegan for seven years, I worked for the vegan campaigning charity Viva! and had a good knowledge of vegan nutrition. Despite all of this, I was still confronted with questions from others about my decision. How will your baby get their protein? Is it right to force veganism on a child? Won’t they feel left out?

One of the first challenging situations I encountered was during my first appointment with a midwife. I explained I was vegan and was told straight away that I would be low in iron – before she had even taken a blood sample! It was time to put the record straight – I explained how it is a misconception that all vegans are low in iron and there are countless iron rich vegan foods including leafy greens, pulses, seeds and nuts. If a healthy balanced diet is followed vegans can even have higher levels of iron than meat-eaters! The EPIC-Oxford study, the largest single study of Western vegetarians and vegans to date, found vegans had the highest intake of iron, followed by vegetarians then fish-eaters with meat-eaters coming last.

In the same appointment I was given a long list of animal-based foods that were off limits during pregnancy such as mould-ripened cheeses (like brie and camembert), soft blue cheeses, raw eggs, pâté, undercooked and cold cured meats, liver and mercury-containing fish such as shark, swordfish or marlin. None of the foods were vegan, so I could still safely (and smugly) eat everything I enjoyed with the peace of mind that it was safe for my baby.

As the pregnancy progressed I felt healthy and strong. I continued to cycle to work and regularly practiced yoga. I took care to ensure my iron levels didn’t drop during pregnancy (they often do because the body produces more blood for the developing baby). To combat this I ate a variety of iron rich foods including dark leafy greens and a daily natural organic iron supplement. In addition to this I took vitamin B12, vitamin D, folic acid and omega-3 supplements. Viva!’s Mother and Baby guide was my go-to for nutritional information as it provides practical tips for pregnancy and beyond.

My baby was born a healthy 8.9lb and was full of beans! I breastfed him from birth and began to wean him at six months. Initially, I introduced soft nutrient-dense foods such a banana, avocado and sweet potato. Once he mastered the act of chewing I introduced high-protein foods such as lentils and tofu combined with vegetables and carbohydrates (rice, pasta and wholemeal bread). Nutrient-dense foods rich in healthy polyunsaturated fats are recommended for young children as the energy found in them is essential for growth and development. Nut butters, ground chia seeds, hummus, avocado and vegetable oils are all excellent sourced of healthy vegan fat.

For reference I use a set of Viva! wallcharts on my fridge which outline iron, calcium and protein rich foods. I find them really useful and they help me to plan nutritionally balanced meals for my family.

Before I knew it, my maternity leave was coming to an end and it was time to find a nursery place for my son. As a vegan, finding a nursery that offered good vegan food was a priority. Sadly, several nurseries I approached didn’t cater for vegans. Fortunately, I found a fabulous nursery with an in-house chef who was happy to accommodate us. My son is their first vegan child and we’ve been welcomed with positivity and a dash of intrigue!

I’ve provided the nursery with a few vegan cookbooks and suggested how their meat options could be made vegan by using pulses rather than expensive processed substitutes, which would result in cheaper and healthier food. They have provided us with oat milk for cereal and are in the process of sourcing soya yoghurt so my son can have the same dessert as the other children. Luckily the nursery doesn’t offer cake or chocolate so we haven’t had to find alternatives.

In summary, being a vegan parent can have its challenges. Sometimes outsiders can be quick to judge the vegan lifestyle. However, if you are prepared to be patient, explain veganism to others and encourage inclusivity, you may find a more welcoming reception from sceptics. Veganism is undoubtedly the most compassionate lifestyle choice for children and offers countless health benefits too, setting your baby up for a long and healthy life!

Useful links:
www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/vegetarian-vegan-children/
www.vivashop.org.uk/collections/materials/products/nutritional-poster-trio-deal
www.vivashop.org.uk/products/vegetarian-and-vegan-mother-and-baby-guide

Viva! is the UK’s leading vegan charity www.viva.org.uk

happy child

Protecting your precious little one’s palate

By | baby health, Education, family, Food & Eating, fun for children, Playing

How getting early feeding right can benefit your child’s future health and wellbeing.

Emily Day is Head of Food Development at Organix Brands Ltd, a purpose driven children’s food brand, founded in 1992, with a clear mission to ensure healthy nutritious food is a real choice for everyone. Emily recognises the importance and challenges of providing the appropriate early foods which will set babies on the right path for a lifetime of healthy eating.

“Eat your greens!” is a parental mantra that has persisted through countless generations of vegetable shy youngsters – with Popeye style threats if you don’t!

Start as you mean to go on! Introducing what is an essential part of all our diets, vital for the health of our bodies, should start from those first wonderful weaning moments. Like anything new or unfamiliar, this may not always elicit a thumbs up or gurgle from our little ones. So be patient – persist, because if you crack it early, you’ll avoid mentioning our favourite cartoon sailor.

How can you future proof your tiny tots’ precious palates, and help them be appreciative of the flavours, textures, shapes and tastes of fruits and vegetables so they have a lifelong loving relationship?

For starters, did you know that children learn about their likes and dislikes by being in direct contact with foods; through tasting smelling, touching, holding and also observing others and the way they eat. In fact, even before they start on solids, your baby’s taste buds will be responding to what they’re being fed on, even from inside the womb and if breastfed through the milk.

And don’t forget it’s not just about taste, meal time is also a key development time for children, so should be fun and engaging. To support parents, at what we know can often be a tricky time, we’ve put together some top tips to help:
• After six months of nothing but breast milk or formula, it’s understandable that new tastes come as a surprise to babies, especially when more challenging flavours such as vegetables are introduced. And after all, it’s natural for them to be somewhat suspicious, after only being accustomed to the sweet taste of milk. Our bodies, especially in childhood, do not need or want added salt, sugar or additives, which is why Organix only develop foods with our ‘No Junk Promise’, so parents can trust what they are giving to their children.

• Exposing babies to vegetables in the early weaning stage is a known means of gaining their early acceptance – but not for all! The taste and smell can lead to food refusal. But don’t give up! It might take up to 15 attempts on a regular basis to introduce a baby to a new taste, but research shows that repeated and frequent exposure to them is the most successful route to familiarity and their ultimate acceptance.

• Familiarising babies and toddlers with fruit and vegetables through listening, seeing, touching and smelling them can be a very effective way to win over little taste buds. Try the wonderful aromas of a banana or strawberry, or create a fun to make visual feast by making a fun food plate together.

• Don’t forget fruit and vegetables make wonderful baby finger foods or toddler snacks. Once your baby is past the 12 months stage, two to three snacks are recommended daily. This makes for an excellent opportunity to squeeze in a little extra, so why not choose a fruit or vegetable that is in season for two? Then if required for a third, give yourself a break and why not try Organix Melty Veggie Sticks made with organic corn and pea and flavoured with vegetables? These are baked into a chunky shape, making them easy to hold.

Organix weaning and finger foods help babies discover new shapes, tastes and textures, and our wide range of toddler snacks provide parents with healthier snacking options to fuel happy days.You can find heaps of further information in the Organix Baby & Toddler Cookbook which has over 70 quick and easy recipes from weaning purees to dinner time faves for the whole family to enjoy!

Top tips for sleepovers

By | dance & Art, family, Food & Eating, fun for children, Music and singing, parties, play
by Kitty Jones
The Dreamy Den Company

Sleepovers are a childhood staple but can be a daunting time for parents. Have no fear, we’ve put together some helpful tips and advice for a smooth sleepover experience.

1 Food
Hungry children are no fun so make sure you have plenty of food and snacks to keep them fuelled and happy. Self-serve stations are great fun and easy to prepare, try a burger bar, taco bar or a noodle/pasta bar with a selection of toppings and sides. Grab some recyclable ‘take-out’ boxes to minimise washing up.

2 Setting up camp
Living rooms are a good option due to size and TV access for movies but make sure pets can be relocated and the TV usage is monitored so they don’t stumble across any late night horrors by accident. And don’t forget to move any precious ornaments!

3 Midnight feast
This definitely doesn’t have to be at midnight – as hopefully everyone will be asleep by then! Consider having a break in the movie and doing a fruit fondue or a popcorn bar with a selection of toppings and sauces. Try some sugar alternatives to keep the sugar rush under control.

4 Entertainment
Garden games are great for summer and for burning off energy. For rainy days you can try DIY pamper packs or craft packs. Alternatively hire an external entertainer to come in and give you a few hours peace. Movies are great for later on and you can always have a pre-selected list to minimise arguments.

5 Nervous children
Be open and discuss action plans with parents beforehand, especially if a child has never been to a sleepover before. Make sure you know where each child’s parent will be and always get two contact numbers from parents.

6 The morning after
Choose your collection time as mid-morning giving the children a chance to have breakfast and, most importantly, don’t plan too much for the next day, you may all need a few impromptu naps to recover!

Keep on cooking

By | children's health, Education, Food & Eating, play
by Naomi Marks, Brighton & Hove Food Partnership

I have yet to come across the small child who doesn’t love to roll up their sleeves and get busy with biscuit dough and cutters. It’s all the tactile pleasure and creative fun of playdough with the bonus of a teatime treat at the end.

But once children get beyond infant school age, cooking can all too often play second fiddle to the lure of the screen as an indoor activity.

That’s such a shame when we all know how important eating good, home-cooked food is for children’s physical and mental health. Keeping the cooking habit going as children grow older will benefit their bodies and their brains – and arm them with a set of skills that will serve them well throughout life.

Besides, cooking is fun!potatoes pan

Here are some ideas to keep your school-age child engaged in the kitchen. You never know, you may end up with a future MasterChef in the family. At the very least, you can expect some tasty outputs from your young ones.

Your children’s learning in the kitchen will be incremental. Younger children love to construct so let them start out this way and only slowly build up to more advanced cookery techniques. For example, primary school-aged children have great fun building their own pizzas. Set some passata and mozzarella or grated cheddar on the side and fill bowls with a range of toppings, such as cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, ham slices, olives, red pepper, chorizo and spinach. Then let them get creative on a pizza base of their own.

Older kids, however, will also enjoy making their own pizza sauce: an easy one sees a tin of tomatoes, a teaspoon of mixed herbs, a clove of garlic and some salt and pepper whizzed up together, with enough tomato puree then added to make a good, thick sauce.

A real sense of achievement will come when children feel confident enough to tackle the dough. Find an easy recipe for pizza bases at www.bhfood.org.uk/recipes/basic-bread/

Top tip: pizza-making is a great children’s party activity.

Alternatively, the same approach can be brought to shop-bought falafels and hummus. Set alongside bowls of fillings such as tomatoes, avocados, spring onions and pickles for children to lay out on flat bread and roll into delicious and healthy Mediterranean wraps.

While younger children will be content with this, older children will be amazed at how easy it is to make their own tasty hummus: just whiz up chick peas, tahini (sesame seed paste, which is widely available), lemon juice and olive oil with some cumin and paprika to taste.

And your more ambitious child will enjoy actually making the falafels – though do be on hand for this as it involves hot oil. Check out the recipe at www.bhfood.org.uk/recipes/falafel/

If you’re stuck for cooking ideas, take inspiration from cuisines around the world. There’s a host of fun to be had home-rolling sushi with your child. Most supermarkets sell the rolling mats and special rice required – and few fridges and larders fail to yield enough to supply sushi fillings. A carrot, a chunk of cucumber, some cream cheese, a one-egg omelette and some leftover tinned tuna will go a long way.

avocado childOr use festivals as your excuse for experimentation. Make a simple curry with your children for Diwali or a chili for the Day of the Dead.

Finally, the lure of a cake is one sure way to bring children racing into the kitchen. But, why not up the stakes and appeal to their more competitive side?

Stage a mini Bake Off, inviting other family members or your children’s friends to join in the fun. Points can be awarded for artistic flair as well as taste – and maybe cleaning up skills too.

Just remember: keep it friendly, keep it fun!

Brighton & Hove Community Kitchen is running two World of Food Easter holiday cookery courses for children aged 7-11 and 12-16. Find out more at www.bhfood.org.uk/events/world-of-food-ii-school-holiday-cooking-with-jethro-for-young-cooks-aged-12-to-16/

Local non-profit organisation, the Food Partnership has just launched a new ‘Community Kitchen’ on Queens Road in central Brighton – a cookery school where classes with chefs and food experts help subsidise low-cost, accessible community cookery activities.
www.bhfood.org.uk/the-community-kitchen

How women can empower themselves with good health

By | beauty, Education, family, Food & Eating, Health, Relationships, sleep, Uncategorized
by Dr Mathi Woodhouse
GP at Your Doctor – www.your-doctor.co.uk

1 Being proactive about your health is vital both in terms of strengthening your body’s natural self-repair mechanisms and preventing future illness and disease. Planning, testing, check-ups and addressing all kinds of areas of mental to sexual health matters all take time. People often do not prioritise their own health. Be proactive now.

2 Have you ever wondered what your biological age is? Telomere testing can reveal your biological age through a simple blood test. Telomeres are the caps at the end of each strand of DNA that protect our chromosomes, like the plastic tips at the end of shoelaces. Lifestyle can influence the rate which your telomeres shorten faster that simple tests can reveal. Eat well, exercise often, sleep well, and address stress levels. These can all reduce the inflammatory process and therefore slow the rate of telomere shortening.

3 Don’t miss your vaginal smear. In 2013 60% of all new HIV diagnoses were to young adolescent women and girls. HPV (human papillomavirus) is a sexually transmitted infection, it accounts for around 70% of all cervical cancers. Sexual health in women is of the utmost importance and more importantly is totally preventable. Take measures for safe sex, and ensure all available screening is seized. A cervical smear should be available at least once every three years until the age of 65. Oral contraceptive pills protect against pregnancy but offer no protection against infection. Ensure you take measures to keep yourself clear of pelvic disease. Use condoms and get yourself tested for STDs if you’re worried. Do not wait.

4 Feel those boobs. Breast cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer deaths amongst women. Early detection can result in great long-term outcomes. A simple examination once a month after your period is the best time to check. Pay particular attention to dimples in the skin and inversion of the nipple. If you are unsure have a doctor give you a quick tutorial. It’s simple, easy and a potential lifesaver. If you are above 50 you should be able to have routine mammography to screen for breast cancer; ensure this happens.

5 Hot flushes… if you feel perimenopausal there are many non-hormonal ways to assist. Soya, red clover and black cohosh are all approved herbal remedies to fight your fluctuating hormones. If these symptoms are really bothersome and you want to avoid HRT, your doctor may be able to offer some alternatives.

6 Women are more likely to have greater emotional intelligence and empathy. They typically have a larger limbic system which supports a variety of functions including emotion, behavior, motivation, long-term memory. Use it!

7 Eating well goes without saying. A large proportion of women are anaemic without knowing. Tiredness, poor skin and hair loss, and pallor are all signs of this. Eat foods rich in iron such as dark green vegetables, small servings of red meat, and legumes. Keeping your folate and calcium levels up also will help in preserving good health prior/during pregnancy and your bones will be strong beyond the menopause.

8 Eat to energise yourself. Stick to a diet low in saturated fats, salt and processed sugars. Increase your intake of omega 3 through nuts, avocados, or oily fish such as mackerel, salmon and tuna. Eat enough fibre by increasing your portions of fruit and vegetables. Experts believe that 30g of fibre a day can reduce the risk of developing heart disease.

9 Sleep is crucial in maintaining your physical and mental health, it supports many facets of healthy brain function. Good quality, deep sleep is important for all of us, especially multi-tasking women. To really train your body to sleep well, allow a period of de-stressing before bedtime, get into bed at a decent hour and keep the room dark. Avoid browsing the Internet on your phone or laptop in bed and limit caffeine and alcohol.

10 Stress management is one of the key pillars to good health. Much of our stress is caused by too many responsibilities. Start saying ‘no’ to requests that are asking too much of you. Meditation, practicing some mindfulness and deep breathing are all worth investing in a few minutes per day. Find a quiet moment to sit down and focus on yourself. Positive thoughts and self-worth can make leaps and bounds to self-esteem and mood.

11 Drink less alcohol. Women should stick to no more than 14 units per week allowing at least three alcohol free days per week. High alcohol intake can lead to a heart disease, diabetes and liver damage. Binge drinking can cause serious injury, collapse, and irregular heart rhythms called arrhythmias. Alcohol also contains a lot of calories and sugar which can have a big impact on weight management and the risk of diabetes.

12 Smoking is the largest single preventable cause of cancer each year in the UK yet some 9.4 million people in the UK smoke every day. Set a date and time to stop smoking. Slowly cutting down on cigarettes can have a psychological effect that makes the cigarettes seem far more precious than they actually are. Put the money aside that you would have otherwise spent on cigarettes and watch your money grow!

Reduce Reuse Recycle

By | Education, family, Food & Eating, Health, recycling

Recycling at home

The ‘war on waste’ has been at the forefront of discussion around recycling recently, in the classroom and at home. These ideas can be challenging for pupils, however, by introducing them gradually using engaging and challenging resources, children can become prepared for the world they will inherit.
PlanBee, a leading online provider of primary school resources, has recently announced the launch of its new ESR (Education for Social Responsibility) packs. As the company celebrates these fantastic social responsibility resources, Oli Ryan, former teacher and resource creator at PlanBee, reveals his tips for encouraging children’s involvement in recycling at home.

Waste reduction tips:
Knowing how things are made, and the effort and resources that go into products we use, is central to understanding the importance of reducing wasteful or excessive use of everyday items.

Here are some tips for getting children to help reduce waste at home:
1. Go hunting for information books in the library, or for fun videos online, which show how everyday household products and items are manufactured.
2. Show children how little toothpaste, shower gel or toilet roll they actually need when they use it. You’ll reduce waste and save money!
3. Encourage friendly sibling competition. Ask “Who can make X last the longest?” Consider asking this about consumable items like shampoo, felt-tipped pens or colouring books. You can incentivise little challenges like these with simple rewards such as choosing a board game to play together, or a book to read at bedtime.

Tips on how to reuse:
Finding creative ways to reuse old materials is a great way to encourage your children’s creativity and natural curiosity.

Here are three ideas to try at home:
1. Keep a box of cellophane, cardboard and plastic packaging for children to use for art projects.
2. Plastic packaging in particular is great for green-fingered children. Virtually any container can be used as a plant pot or a watering can.
3. Think outside the box! Set challenges to keep kids preoccupied on rainy days or during school holidays – can they make a bird feeder using only scrap materials? Old packaging is great for 3D model making, which can assist your children when starting a project from scratch. Popular ideas from the classroom include building model robots, bridges or entire cityscapes using old boxes and bottles.

Simple recycling tips:
When it comes to recycling at home, children can be your best friends. We’ve all been guilty at times of throwing something away that could have been recycled, but once children know the benefits of recycling, they’ll often be more than happy to help.

Check out our top tips below:
1. Recycling is, essentially, fun – especially for children! There are little things nearly all children enjoy, like jumping on cardboard boxes to squash them down, or crushing aluminium cans with a can crusher – very satisfying!
2. Did you know that while plastic shampoo and shower gel bottles can be recycled, they have to be washed out first? Ask the children to do it – playing with squirty bottles and water is another simple pleasure most children will enjoy! Slightly older children will enjoy helping to recycle glass containers at the bottle bank: they love throwing bottles into the bank and hearing them smash!
3. Ask your children about recycling in all areas of their lives. Challenging them to consider what recycling is done in school, at home, and in other places they spend time, will encourage them to think holistically about reducing waste in every aspect of their lives.

Looking for more information and ideas on how to encourage education for social responsibility at home and in the classroom? Become a PlanBee member to gain access to an extensive range of KS1 and KS2 lesson resources.
www.planbee.com

The great tea tonic

By | Food & Eating, Health

Tea really is the best drink of the day – not just for its refreshing taste, but even more so for its powerful ability to help curb and combat a raft of health challenges and improve our general well-being.

Scientists are finding a growing body of evidence to show just how powerful components in tea are in helping ease common health woes and keeping both the mind and body in good condition.

A report – Brew Knew That? For Good Health, It’s Always Tea Time – compiled by the Tea Advisory Panel (TAP), explores the latest ground-breaking science and studies around the health benefits of tea.

The health-enhancing flavonoids obtained from just two cups of tea a day reduces the risk of death from all-causes of mortality by 40%, according to research published in the American Journal of Nutrition. Studies have found that drinking tea is associated with a reduced risk of cancer, heart disease, dementia, diabetes, high blood pressure and chronic inflammation – which is recognised as a factor in many age-related health issues. Studies show it may even aid weight control and influence fat distribution.

Dietitian and a member of the Tea Advisory Panel (TAP), Dr Carrie Ruxton says: “Tea is the ultimate superfood as it provides around 80% of the flavonoids in the UK diet and 70% of our dietary fluoride, unlike other superfoods which are expensive and have questionable claims about supposedly being packed with antioxidant flavonoids”
Flavonoids are natural plant components that have a strong link with a number of health benefits, thought to be due to their anti-oxidative, anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic properties. Laboratory studies show that just one cup of tea delivers the same flavonoid activity as two apples, three and a half glasses of orange juice or 10 glasses of long-life apple juice. Another, which focused on the oxidative stress which has a role in making arteries harden, found the flavonoids in tea were more potent antioxidants than vitamin C, vitamin E and beta carotene.

Professor Philip Calder, Professor of Nutritional Immunology within Medicine at the University of Southampton and a guest advisor to the Tea Advisory Panel, notes: “Tea and other herbal tea infusions are such familiar friends, we often overlook the number, and range, of health benefits they bring to the table. Two of the biggest drivers for illness and age-related physical and cognitive decline are oxidation and inflammation, and tea helps combat both.

“It’s no wonder that drinking tea on a regular basis reduces the risk of so many health issues and barely a month goes by without fresh evidence of the benefits of a brew.”

Mind and body benefits
Dementia, heart disease, diabetes and cancers are all on the increase as a result of our ageing population, sedentary lifestyles and burgeoning levels of obesity. Health and wellbeing specialist, Dr Catherine Hood from TAP, says: “Sustained lifestyle changes are required to reverse these trends, but this often begins with baby-steps and one very simple and effective way to reduce your risk is to drink tea on a daily basis.”

Tea has been shown to:
1. Potentially cut the risks of dementia or delay its onset.
2. Enhance cognition and memory.
3. Reduce depression and anxiety.
4. Cut the risk of heart and circulation problems by up to 20% – some studies have found it could even be as high as 45%.
5. Cut the risk of type 2 diabetes – studies indicate the beneficial effect could be between 16%
and 33%.
6. Aid weight control – thought to be because of the catechin content and because of positive changes in the gut bacteria.
7. Help tackle high blood pressure – one study found drinking black tea could have a 10% effect at reducing blood pressure, while another found drinking green tea could reduce the risk by 46%.
8. Improve oral health – one study found tea helped with 40% reduction in dental decay risk and there is evidence tea can combat bad breath, and reduce inflammation, bone reabsorption and the growth of bacteria association with gum disease.
9. Help protect eyesight – research shows tea can reduce the risk of glaucoma and could reduce the risk of cataracts.
10. Give bones better protection – tea drinkers tend to have stronger bones and researchers reported that tea appeared to improve bone mineral density, especially in the spine, hip and neck. A further study also found that tea consumption may help reduce the risk of osteoporosis.

For more information see www.teaadvisorypanel.com