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Good eating habits help children on the grow

A few changes can gear children for lifelong success (Authorised Image)

Second in a series of two parts

Praneeta Mahajan

Hamilton, January 12, 2023

A healthy lifestyle is essential for children as it can have a lasting impact on their physical and mental well-being. It is important to start early and teach children the importance of taking care of their bodies, mind, and soul, an expert has said.

According to Dr S Ajit, a renowned Ayurvedic, by going back to the roots and teaching children the basics of health and wellness, parents can ensure that children have access to the right resources including nutritious food, physical activities, mental health support and other necessary tools.

“This will help them grow with a strong sense of self-worth and empower them to develop into happy adults and take care of their physical, mental, and emotional needs,” he said.

Dr S Ajit, Ayurveda expert (Photo Supplied)

You are what You Eat

During an interview with Indian Newslink, Dr Ajit said that Vedic philosophy talks extensively about how food creates one’s thoughts.

“In particular, mindful eating emphasises minimising distractions during meals to focus on the taste, texture, and smell of your food. According to various studies, practising mindful eating reduced body weight, depression, stress, and binge eating. Mindful eating may also enhance self-control and promote a healthy relationship with food,” he said.

According to Ayurveda, the best way to increase prana, the source of energy and vitality is through food that comes from the Earth. Their prana has been derived through the mingling of sunshine, water and earth energies. Therefore, eating fresh food will help increase the prana. Local community-supported agriculture, kitchen gardens and farmer’s markets are invaluable resources for finding fresh foods with high life force.

“Children as well as adults nowadays often feel low and one of the reasons for that is because the mind is ‘clouded’ due to the ‘dead food’ or low nutrition based preserved foods. Such food leads to negative thoughts and depression” Dr Ajit said.

Technology and its Price

In addition to food, the gadgets that have taken precedence also have an impact on the child as it takes away from their time to be outdoors and observe the world around them. It has been proven that being in green spaces like forests, gardens and parks can significantly reduce cortisol, the stress hormone, and raise endorphin levels and dopamine production, both of which may promote happiness.

it can be difficult to manage the amount of time your children spend on screens. However, with careful guidance and monitoring, you can use screen time to inspire and educate your children. By introducing them to positive thoughts and activities through their screens, you can help them develop healthy habits that will benefit their overall wellness. Through carefully selected content and interactive activities, you can use screen time as an opportunity to teach your children valuable life skills while also helping them build a strong foundation of positive thinking.

Positive affirmations for stronger self-belief (Authorised Image)

Parents- the First Gurus

Adults can help by leading through example and helping the little ones navigate their way towards developing a healthy lifestyle. Simple reminders and changes can make a big difference and give the perfect start to life.

Weekends can be family activity time. Spend some time together and talk about your day. Your presence is irreplaceable and required for their growth.

Have a family circle and practise breathing exercises. It can be a great activity to do together on rainy days and also empower the child with a life-changing habit.

Empower your child with good thoughts by talking about positive principles, stories from your childhood and moral stories.

Laugh together and laugh often as some downtime is required for you as much as it is required for your child.

‘Strike A Balance’ and Allocate time for various activities and encourage variation in their experiences. Family time, study time, play time and game time are all good and should be planned.

Help your child plan their day, as it will provide them with some structure and make them appreciate discipline and routine.

Encourage language literacy. Let them learn about expressing their thoughts, other languages, and cultures to keep the magic and wonder alive about the World around them.

Ensure they have regular routines- Time to sleep and time to wake up are essential for little minds.

Value your culture and give your child confidence and pride in their own identity.

In addition to the above-mentioned advice, Dr Ajit said that it is important for parents to vocalise what they appreciate in the child from a young age as parents often forget to do that. And he advises parents to continue this habit even when their children are grown up. This would teach them to communicate their feelings better, be more comfortable in their skin, tell them how to appreciate others and provide a safe environment to grow.

Caring for the living machines

Dr Ajit said that another important but often neglected aspect of wellness is that humans are living machines.

“Warm oil massages are highly recommended and much needed for all, especially for little bodies that are still growing,” he said.

He said, “Sesame oil and Mustard seed oil are great for kids as well as adults. But feel free to use olive oil or any other oil you have at home. Through massage, we get rid of ‘Free radical substances’ and make the body relax. It has been part of Indian culture to have regular massages, especially for children.”

He said that spa time is not a luxury as perceived by modern society. It is a need for the body and must be a part of your lifestyle, irrespective of your age or level of physical activity.

Dr S Ajit an Ayurveda and a Panchakarma specialist, clinician and the founding patron of the Australasian Ayurvedic Practitioners Association (Australia & New Zealand) and the President of the International Council of Ayurvedic Medicine (the body outside India for creating uniform standards of Ayurveda in the West).

Praneeta Mahajan is an Indian Newslink correspondent based in Hamilton.

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