Talks on Wellness & Nutrition, part 2

"Kain lang ng kain (just keep eating)...you're eating for two" is always the line that pregnant women hear from well-meaning family and friends -- I myself did not escape this prodding. There's really no question when it comes to eating right during pregnancy as wellness begins from the womb. And now, to continue the series on wellness and nutrition, here are the highlights on Nutrition in Life Cycle.
Here I was "eating for two", on my 5th month with my second child
Part 2 - Talk and Slide Presentation by Ms. Joan Sumpio, RND, FPAN

Nutrition in Pregnancy to Infancy

Each stage of our lives require specific nutrients to sustain our growth, development, promote wellness and prevent diseases. And it all starts during pregnancy. Based on the presentation by Ms. Joan Sumpio, aside from the normal requirements for the mother's health, pregnant women requires certain nutrients to meet the needs of the growing fetus, and building reserves in preparation for delivery and lactation.
These are:
* Protein
* Vitamins A, C, B1, B2, B3, Folate, B6
* Minerals such as Calcium, Iron, Iodine, Zinc and Selenium.
During my own pregnancy, I was taking vitamin supplements like Trihemic and Caltrate Plus, as prescribed by my OB-Gyn, aside from drinking at least one glass of Anmum (chocolate) milk each day and downing lots of water to prevent pregnancy-related conditions such as constipation and U.T.I.

Ms. Sumpio also listed the positive effects of good nutrition on the mother and infant (see slide below), and on lactation. That is why, the increased needs for nutrients "has to cover the needs for producing and secreting the milk" and "for wound healing and physical and emotional activities in caring for the child."

She also pointed out the importance of water as 87% of the volume of breastmilk is water.  I believed this to be true since I quickly recalled my own post-partum diet consisting mostly of:  soupy dishes prepared Chinese-style (like lapu-lapu fish soup, pigeon adobo), blood tonics and broths from Chinese herbal concoctions (which smell and taste terrible!), and gallons of water and fruit juices, all for at least one month after birth. I was confident that this kind of diet really helped me produce better quality, and quantity, breastmilk as I lasted 18 months of breastfeeding my second baby (12 months of which are exclusively on breastmilk).

Infants, aside from breastmilk, require appropriate supplementary feeding with gradual introduction of solid foods influenced by:  Nutrition, and Physiological Development  (secretion of enzymes for digestion, gastric acidity, maturity of kidneys).  You will see below some general expectations from a well-nourished baby.

Nutrition in Early Childhood to Adolescence

Early childhood is a critical stage where our child experiences growth spurts.  Thus, the challenge for us parents is to provide the best foods we can give in terms of nutritional value for optimal support of their physical and mental growth.  According to Ms. Sumpio, here are the basic needs for the kids' early years:
* Energy (calories per day) = age in years x 100 + 1000
* Protein - for demands on growth of  skeletal and muscular tissues and provide protection against infection
* B-Vitamins - for energy
* C - for formation of tooth structure
* A - for immunity, and for vision in dim light
* D - for the bones
* E - acts as antioxidant
It is a fact that during this stage, pre-school-aged kids get the most nutrients from the milk supplement we give them, aside from the solid foods and daily vitamins. So choose wisely -- read labels and compare milk brands, as mentioned in part 1 of this series.

The speaker also touched on the eating habits of the little ones and some common problems they may encounter. Please read the slides below, which clearly defined each one.

One tip she mentioned, which I am practicing, is to give your kids probiotics.  Probiotics are "good bacteria for the intestinal tract...for better absorption" of nutrients, especially helpful if the child is not eating vegetables.  Part of our regular grocery items include Yakult, Dutchmill yoghurt drink (blueberry flavor), and Nestle Yoghurt with fruit bits.  Aside from the benefits we get from the "good bactaeria", they products all tastes yummy! It's best to find some that suits your family's tastes. Learn more about it here.

As children grow to adolescence, their eating habits significantly change and some socio-psychological factors causes this, as shown below:

With the teens' search for independence and being more conscious of their own body image, some common feeding problems occur:
* Meal skipping -- which may lead to hormonal imbalance; can result in irregular menstruation for girls
* Snacking
* Reliance on fast foods
* Non-traditional eating patterns (trying fast foods) -- can cause nutritional inadequacy which will lead to weight loss

Among children and teens, being overweight or obese is also a growing concern of late, and the simplest solution to prevent this is to make them more active and watch their diet.

Illustrated below are some activities that parents and children can do (as shown with energy expenditure per minute of activity):

Other activities you may enjoy doing are:
* Running = 6.6 - 9.1 cal / min.
* Cycling = 3.2 - 4.4 cal / min.
* Weight-lifting = 5.7 - 7.8 cal / min.
It was concluded that among the popular sports activites, basketball has the highest energy expenditure per minute.

Before the first speaker ended her talk, she presented an overview of the leading causes of death in the country.  It was not surprising that heart disease tops the list.  And the Filipino diet does reflect this.  The findings made me all the more convinced that I have to re-evaluate and properly plan the meals I prepare for my family since the most recent blood test and check-up that my hubby and I took showed us having high (bad) LDL cholesterol and triglycerides.

A fun way to illustrate what our food choices contain was through a simple game of guessing how many calories are there in some of our favorite fast food dishes.  And here are the eye-opening results:
* Pizza Hut Spaghetti with Meatballs = 850 calories
* Taco Bell Taco Salad with Salsa = 850 calories; 60 mg cholestero; 52 gm fats; 1780 mg sodium
* Wendy's Chicken Club Sandwich = 470 calories; 70 mg cholesterol
* Burger King Double Whopper with Cheese = 960 calories; 195 mg cholesterol; 63 gm fats; 1420 mg sodium
* Kentucky Fried Chicken Hot & Spicy Chicken Breast = 530 calories; 110 mg cholesterol; 35 gm fats; 1110 mg sodium
* Subway Tuna on Wheat = 542 calories; 36 mg cholesterol; 32 gm fats; 875 mg sodium

Now wouldn't you think twice before ordering? (Too bad I missed the slide showing how much calories and sodium our favorite McDonald's burger sandwich contain)

Here are some of the surprised parents and DML sisters during the guessing game

Did you know...?

... Stroke and Cancer is the second and third (respectively) leading causes of death in the country; Diabetes is 9th

... Carotenoids may help in the prevention of certain degenerative diseases

... double fiber loaf, raisin bread, wheat pandesal and wheat loaf are considered healthy breads

... high consumption of fatty foods may reduce both cognitive function and physical endurance

... the more usage (and re-heating) of used cooking oils, the more de-natured the oil gets which can be unhealthy

... Riboflavin may help prevent migraine headaches in certain individuals

... Alfalfa, Barley and Wheatgrass are considered powerful antioxidants; taking barley makes you feel full

... darker-skinned individuals take longer to convert vitamin D

Healthy Lifestyle through Proper Nutrition (part 3)
Antioxidants and Tips to Healthy Eating (part 4)
Talks on Wellness and Nutrition (part 1)