Parents around the country are breathing a collective sigh of relief as their offspring head back to school. And yet, it can be stressful as a parent going back to the school gates. That realisation that all the plans of reading novels, playing maths games or enjoying nature programmes - or, in our case, brushing up on our Spanish - simply didn’t materialise over the holidays brings a significant dose of parental guilt.
So, it makes me feel a little better to know that I can do something to up the ante without having to sign-up to hot housing my protégés. Children can benefit hugely in terms of learning and performance by simply consuming the correct amount of fish oils, either directly or through the right type of fish in their diet.
Low levels of essential fats are commonly associated with learning and behavioral issues, not to mention allergies, constipation and eczema. It is the omega-3 fatty acids - specifically EPA and DHA - they contain that make the oils so beneficial.
A 2006 study from the University of South Australia investigated the effects of essential fatty acids on ADHD. The researchers asked the parents to rate their children’s conditions on 14 different ADHD scales. After 15 weeks on the fatty acid supplements, improvements were noted in nine out of the 14 scales. If you are a parent of a teen then a U.K. study also claimed the benefits of fish oils for teenager’s attentiveness rating.
Unfortunately the body can't make omega 3's itself and the best dietary source is oily or fresh fish such as wild salmon, mackerel, cod, haddock or plaice, but, for those who dislike fish (and many a young face screws up in distaste when faced with oily fish) Udo’s Choice Ultimate Oil Blend is an easy plant-based alternative - a drizzle in a morning smoothie is all that’s needed.
A handful of nuts and seeds each day would be a good habit too.
The other topic to add to the back to school list agenda is supporting the immune system. Put lots of people, regardless of age, at close quarters such as a classroom and pesky viruses have a better chance of spreading. So, remind your child to wash their hands often and to cover their mouths if they have a cough. A Junior Blend microbiotic is a good option that offers natural daily support for the immune system should your child be prone to school term sniffles.