Increasing Your Fiber Can Protect Your Gut From Stress

Stress can impact our health on multiple levels. However, a recent study suggests that eating foods that are high in fiber can help protect our digestive system from the side effects of stress. Previous research has exhibited that long-term stress can negatively affect our overall health, but especially the brain and the gut. Changes to our gut bacteria due to stress has been linked to a variety of disorders such as anxiety, depression, and gut disorders like irritable bowel syndrome.

Researchers found that foods that are high in fiber like whole grains, legumes, fruits, and vegetable create short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs). SCFAs are very important to gut bacteria. When the bacteria in our digestive system digest fiber the cells of the colon use the SCFAs as a source of energy, which helps to promote good gut health.

SCFAs help to build a stronger gut wall and prevent and even reverse leaky gut syndrome, which is when tiny holes are evident in the intestinal wall that allows undigested food particles and bacteria to escape into the bloodstream.

The key to keeping our the digestive system health is to eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, nuts and seeds, beans, and whole greens. All of these foods have also proved to aid in the prevention of other disorders like cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and bowel cancer.

High fiber foods not only help prevent complications and illnesses but help protect the body from stress-induced diseases and reduce anxiety and depression. Although stress is a mental state, it can physically affect our gastrointestinal system. One study revealed that high levels of stress can affect the bacteria in our intestines the same way a high-fat diet would.

Up until now, the importance of SCFAs in digestive health was poorly understood. With this recent discovery, we are given a key insight on how stress, gut bacteria, and brain health all interact with one another. By increasing your intake of high fiber foods, you will not only boost your digestive and mental health but protect yourself from the long-term effects of stress.


What Questions You Should Be Asking at your Child’s Annual Checkup

As we enter August, we enter the back-to-school season. Many parents over the next few weeks will start shopping for school supplies, researching health lunch recipes, and scheduling their child’s annual checkup. This annual checkup is a great opportunity for you to ask your pediatric doctors a few very important questions regarding your child’s health.

Mental Health 

You need to start thinking about your child’s mental health at a young age. Making sure your child’s mental health is in check is just as important as their physical health. While visiting your pediatrician make sure to ask questions such as, “How can I help my child deal with mental health?” and “How can I create a safe mental environment at home?”. Your pediatrician is a great resource to help you understand your child’s current mental state and what distress signs you need to look out.

Learning and Cognitive Development

All parents need to take an active role in their child’s learning of cognitive development. Ask your child’s pediatrician in regards to your child’s development with language, reading, and literacy prior to your child’s fifth birthday.

One of the most effective ways to minimize the impact of learning disorders is to have early intervention. All children develop at a different pace, but parents should be questioning whether or not their child follows the average timeline for learning milestones.

Age-Appropriate Development  

As your child grows and develops, there a few questions that you will want to ask every year. Doctors follow age-specific guidelines for your child’s annual checkups, therefore every year these answers will vary. Ask questions such as:

  • Is my child’s height and weight appropriate for their age?
  • Is my child’s mental development maturing at the proper rate?
  • How much physical activity should my child have?
  • How much sleep does my child need?
  • Is my child’s behavior normal?

These annual visits to your pediatrician are important for both you and your child. They help to build a meaningful relationship with your pediatrician and help your child become more active in their own healthcare journey. Not only do these visits help you discover what is happening now with your child but what you can expect next.

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Martha Gipprich_How to Make Potty Training Less Stressful

How to Make Potty Training Less Stressful

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Parents often groan when they hear the words “potty training”. Many parents will tell you that potty training is the hardest part about being a parent. While potty training will definitely have its hardships, it does not have to cause you to pull out your hair. The following are 5 potty training tips that will have your toddler out of diapers in no time.

Stock Up On Supplies

When your toddler is ready to start potty training, you will want to stockpile your supplies. Other than having a training potty, you will want to gather the essentials:

  • Pull-Ups

Pull-Ups are training pants that have the absorbency of a diaper but act like underwear. They help your toddler understand the concept of underwear, but provide a safety net, just in case of an accident.

  • New Underwear

Picking out new underwear can help get your child excited about this milestone. Although your toddler may be far off from wearing the underwear, your child can have something to look forward to.

  • Disinfecting Cleaning Wipes

Let’s face it, your toddler will make mistakes. Having accessible disinfecting wipes will come in handy when your toddler misses the toilet.

Implement An Incentive System.

Along with the supplies mentioned above, you may want to invest in a few new toys to create a reward system. In the beginning, every time your child avoids an accident and uses the potty, reward your toddler. Having an incentive in place will help to encourage future use of the potty. You can also create an incentive with the new underwear, by allowing your child to wear “big kid” underwear after keeping their Pull-Ups dry for more than 3 days.

Be Open With Your Toddler

Toddlers often learn through imitation. Going to the bathroom on a training potty and graduating to a toilet can be scary at first. With that in mind, let your child watch you go to the bathroom. By doing so it helps to normalize the process. Seeing mom or dad use the toilet helps make it feel less intimidating.

Make The Process Fun

Children are more engaged in tasks if they are having fun. With that thought in mind, make the potty training process more fun. Get creative by singing a song, having a potty party, or reading books on the toilet. Introducing more fun to the process will help create a less stressful environment for both you and your child.

At the end of the day, keep in mind that every child goes through potty training at a different pace. Whether you have a child who is potty trained in a week, or a child who take their time, they will one day meet this milestone.

Alternative Treatments For Food Allergies

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Food allergies are common throughout our society and seem to impact children the most. One could more than likely recall having to come to class during elementary school with a baked good for the glass but had to ensure that you took into account allergies of your classmates. A common food allergy for children is peanuts. Generally, those with food allergies carry an EpiPen with them to counteract the reaction to an allergen. There have been recent developments for alternative food allergy treatments that don’t require someone to carry an EpiPen with them at all times.

Dr. Stephen Tilles in Seattle has brought forth two new treatments that are currently being tested to allow children to eat food that would normally spark an allergic reaction.

The first treatment is a skin patch that actually contains a small amount of the food allergen’s protein. That protein is then absorbed by the top layers of the skin and begins the immunotherapy process. Currently, the most popular allergy to peanuts is being tested for this patch.

The second treatment is oral immunotherapy. The patients that are included in this test are given a low dose of an allergen while in the hospital. This dose is enough to produce mild symptoms of an allergic reaction. These children are then given that dose for several weeks until they are ready to go up in dose to build a tolerance to the allergen. Over time, as with normal immunotherapy, the patient then becomes less reactive to the allergen.

This process is done by taking a small dose of the allergen and mixing it with something like Kool-Aid before introducing it into pill form or food items. It takes approximately five to ten months to reach a maintenance dose level. This level is then tested for three years until the patient truly reaches a less reactive level to the allergen. Some of the side effects of this type of treatment could include a scratchy throat and itchy ears but this type of treatment has found an 87 percent success rate in testing.

The goal of this testing is to introduce other methods of immunotherapy to help those who suffer from food allergies. Eventually, those who suffer from food allergies and go through this immunotherapy testing will be able to introduce those allergens into their daily diet with no ramifications.