Expert Opinions — Article
March 31 2016 | by Amie Valpone
It’s never too early to start.
March is National Nutrition Month, and it couldn’t come at a better time. It’s vital for health and fitness to be included in our daily routines all year long, but the start of spring is a great reminder of just how important it is. As we get older, it’s imperative to understand how big of a role nutrition plays in our lives, and the impact it has on our overall health. Learning how to eat clean, whole foods and give our bodies all the nutrients they need to function properly is a key step in maintaining excellent health as we age. Today, when faced with ongoing stress from work, family, and even our own bodies, our wellbeing too often takes a backseat to those priorities. Our culture thrives on stress. But, we’re starting to see a huge shift in people learning to live their lives with more down time, mediation, and a focus on eating wholesome foods that nourish our bodies while avoiding processed, packaged foods that are nutrient-void.
It’s important to teach proper nutrition to children so they can form healthy eating habits at an early age. We all know that well-nourished, active children and teens are healthier than those who eat processed foods and don’t exercise. When I was younger, I didn’t realize the value of eating whole, non-processed foods. As a result, I ended up sick for most of my 20’s, not realizing that everything I was putting into my body at that time was actually harming it. It wasn’t until I detoxed my food and lifestyle that I was able to heal myself properly. I wrote about my process in my new cookbook, Eating Clean: The 21-Day Plan to Detox, Fight Inflammation, and Reset Your Body. I had no idea how important nutrition really was until my life started to fall apart because my body wasn’t getting the proper nourishment it needed on a daily basis.
Nowadays, with the help of technology and the online community, it’s easier than ever to educate ourselves and our children about the importance of living a healthy, nutrition-focused lifestyle. There are engaging, fun ways to learn about wellness, like Lycored’s Beta Blasters! computer game. The main character is “powered-up” by beta-carotene rich fruits and veggies and players gather points by fighting off free radicals. This creative and exciting program is a retro-style arcade game that lets you fight off oxidation and inflammation by embracing and utilizing the good nutrients inside fruits and vegetables (which is precisely what our bodies do every day.)
Let’s face it, having fun while learning is a win-win for everyone and games aren’t the only option. Enjoying time at the farmer’s market or cooking together is a healthy and enjoyable way to spend time together. Many children aren’t able to focus in class, or are not taught proper nutrition in school. When they’re introduced to a fresh perspective on nutrition, they are certain to be excited and captivated.