There’s a simple truth about having kids and being a parent, and it’s your life is most likely a contradiction. Kids are great; kids are terrible; kids are the best thing in your life; and kids are a never-ending drain on your energy, wallet, and emotional well-being. And, all of these feelings are felt simultaneously. How else can you explain the latest social and psychological research? A new study, using data from the Gallup-Healthways Well-being Index, finds that “No matter what the controls,children are always associated with both more positive and more negative emotions. You get more joy and happiness, but also more stress and worry. So, with the high and low emotional swings, how could you possibly think children could be good for your health and well being? Well, as it turns out, according to research and findings on children and health, having kids around are very beneficial to your health and well being.
Healthy Benefits Derived From Having Kids
You Become Unselfish. Being a parent is a twenty-four hour a day job, 7-days a week. You are at the beck and call of another person that you are responsible for. You being a parent requires that you put the needs of your child before your own. Yet it is when we are serving our children that we realize we love them the most. Being needed by someone also gives you responsibility, purpose, and a feeling of self-worth, which is great for your emotional well being.
Improves Your Own Health. Parents are more likely to take care of themselves health wise, because they realize that they are responsible for the care of another individual. “Fatherhood comes with a lot of great health perks, ” says Marcus Goldman, M.D., author of The Joy of Fatherhood: The First Twelve Months. “Not only does it inspire men to take better care of themselves physically, but it also fills them with a sense of purpose that genuinely enhances their psychological well-being.”
As far as women goes, there’s nothing like motherhood to make you rethink unhealthy habits. It may start during pregnancy, when suddenly you realize, it’s not just your body that’s being affected anymore. And once your baby’s born, there’s a tiny, utterly dependent, person counting on you to stay healthy enough to raise him or her. According to a BabyCenter Poll of more than 20,000 moms, slightly more than half say they’ve dropped unhealthy habits, or improved on them, and started paying more attention to their health since having a child. Of those mothers, 83 percent say they eat more healthily or are at least trying to improve their diets, and 65 percent are exercising more, or intend to. Speaking of exercise, you might enjoy this article, “What Is Sustainable Energy About?”
For women, having babies was found to decrease a woman’s odds of breast cancer. One of the greatest health benefits of having a baby is a well-documented reduction in the risk of several types of cancer. Breast cancer is the one you hear about most, and for good reason. Why does pregnancy reduce your risk for breast cancer? It’s a combination of factors, expert believe. The first is that pregnancy changes breast cells, causing them to become fully mature and less susceptible to cancer-causing changes. Giving birth relatively early in life is one of the best ways you can help protect yourself, as the physiological changes associated with pregnancy and breastfeeding are known to help ward off the disease.
There’s another aspect of motherhood that can cut your cancer risk, and that is breastfeeding. Research shows that nursing your child prevents certain precancerous types of cells from forming in your breast tissue. You have to keep it up for a reasonable time, though, at least several months, experts say. Each year of breastfeeding over your lifetime cuts your breast cancer risk by 4%, according to findings cited in a 2010 issue of Journal of Perinatology. Women who bear children cut their risk of endometrial and ovarian cancer, according to the National Cancer Institute. And breastfeeding reduces these risks even more.
A recent study conducted at Brigham Young University found that parenthood may actually help lower your blood pressure. Researchers at the school hooked up 200 married men and women to blood pressure monitors for 24 hours and found that couples with children had significantly lowered blood-pressure readings than those without offspring.
While caring for children may include daily hassles, deriving a sense of meaning and purpose from life’s stress has been shown to be associated with better health outcomes. However, this doesn’t mean the more kids you have, the better your blood pressure. The findings are simply tied children and health, and to parenthood, no matter the number of children or employment status.
Enhances Your Self-Esteem.
For those of you that has experienced it, there is nothing quite like having your child look up at you and say, “Daddy, I want to be just like you when I grow up. To be an integral part of your child’s life, you may have to give up a few things that once seemed important. But once a couple makes that commitment to their new family, there are enormous rewards. You will see the positive effect you have on your kids, and that, in turn, affects how you feel about yourself and your success as a parent, and as a person. Other studies found that parents were more “socially integrated“, meaning, they were surrounded by friends, family, and community, than non-parents. Married mothers, in particular, had lower rates of depression than their childless counterparts. Also, numerous studies show that women with children are much less likely to commit suicide.
When researchers directly compare the happiness of parents and non-parents, the results are somewhat mixed, depending on the qualities being measured, but in general moms rate higher in satisfaction and contentment, and lower in depression, than their childless peers. In a large-scale survey conducted jointly by the American Psychological Association and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, researcher Esther Roskies found that women with children rated the highest on a number of psychological measures, from self-esteem to personal and professional satisfaction. Single childless women fared the worst on the measures, while married women without children were in the middle.
Children Are Great Teachers. My wife was a teacher by profession, and an excellent one I might add, and consequently, she took many child development, discipline, and education classes, but she always would say our children taught both of us more than any teacher ever could, and, because our kids we both learned how to actually apply discipline. We both knew the different stages of development first-hand. And, we both constantly had to learn new things like why the sky is blue, how a hurricane develops, or the names of every dinosaur, or at least the cool ones.
Your Life Enriched By Children. Children approach the world with such wonder. Everything is new to them and they absorb everything like a sponge. Children allow you to experience some of that wonder. “Though dads and moms may initially moan about the loss of freedom that parenthood brings, most ultimately find that being a parent gives them a richer and fuller life. Raising kids forces parents to look beyond themselves, which is very good for their mental well-being,” Waite says, co-author of The Case for Marriage: Why Married People Are Happier, Healthier and Better Off Financially. In a 2010 BabyCenter study of 500 women supports the theory that kids enrich parents’ lives, 72% say they’re happier since having kids, and 70 percent feel more loved. Almost all, or 95%, say their lives are more meaningful. All in all, a pretty sweet return on those sacrifices.
Do Kid Things Again. Having children allows you to do childish things once again. You don’t see many childless couples going to Disneyland or playing at the park. Because these are fun activities that parents and children do together. You can watch your favorite cartoons, play games, and throw around a ball with your child, and laugh and have fun, and actually act as a kid again, and not feel out of place. Kids are funny. They are constantly doing things that are humorous and as parents we get to enjoy those moments.
Children Equal Love. It is a proven fact that when you serve and take care of someone you grow to love them. Having children means that you experience more love in your life. It also adds people to your world that love you. Now, there will be times you will think they don’t always love you, because there are times when they will say they hate you. But those moments are short-lived and greatly outweighed by a spontaneous hug and genuine “I love you.”
Children Keep You Sane. Contrary to popular belief, children don’t always drive their parents nuts. In fact, researchers at Taiwan’s Mental Health Foundation claim they may even keep their parents sane well beyond their years. The organization recently interviewed 1,084 randomly selected senior citizens and found that seniors with no children scored 6.4 points lower on a mental health questionnaire than elderly subjects who had children. “The results shows that people who have children are happier and have greater satisfaction and emotional well-being than those without children,” says Tom Yang, the study’s lead researcher.
Children Help You Gain Knowledge. Anyone who has children can attest that their child’s favorite word is WHY? Kids constantly want to know the answer to a variety of head-scratching questions like, “Why do dogs turn in a circle before they lie down?”, or, “Why does it smell so fresh after it rains?” and “Why do Mom and Dad always lock their bedroom door on Friday nights?” You probably won’t have the answers to all of these queries, especially the last one, but they’re sure to get your wheels turning as you attempt to formulate a reasonable response. As your children get older, you’ll also get to brush up on your education by relearning your multiplication tables, the names of every state bird and the capital of Costa Rica.
Children Increase Lifespan. A study has revealed that you’ll live longer than childless counterparts. This disputes the fact that most parents joke about the trials and tribulations of raising kids and shaving years off their lives. The report from Karolinska Institute in Stockholm found that once you reach the age of 69, men and women both live longer, if they have at least one child, and even better yet, if there are grand children. Abe Lincoln favorite quota says it all, “In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count, it’s the life in your years!” Don’t believe me? Watch your children around your parents, and see the joy and youthful behavior of your parents around your kids!
There’s also evidence that women who wait to have children in their thirties, their chances of living a longer life increases. A study in the journal Menopause examined older mothers’ life expectancy and found that women who had their last child after the age of 33 are more likely to live to 95. In fact, researchers reported that these women had twice the chance of living to 95 or older than those who had their last child before their 30th birthday. The news for women having babies after 40 is equally promising. A report looking at maternal age at childbirth and longevity published in the American Journal of Public Health echoed those findings. Taking the data from approximately 20,000 women in the United States for 21 years, the analysis concluded that having your first baby even at age 25 or after increased the likelihood of living into your 90’s.
Healthy Choices As Parental Role Models
It’s great to shape your child’s tastes from an early age. Breastfeeding gives the baby flavors from what the Mother is eating, and the first 3 years of life are the key time to delight and excite your little one with lots of healthy foods. The way parents talk about food, cook meals and eat are the most important influence of developing healthy eating habits on a child. Children watch and imitate adults and look to them to learn everything from saying please and thank-you, to fitness and nutrition behavior. Children can also pick up on their parents’ attitudes about food. As role models, parents need to make sure they’re demonstrating a healthy attitude and importance toward food so their children do, too.
Starting a small healthy, nutritious vegetable or herb garden involving your kids and the whole family, in your backyard is another way to encourage interest in kids learning how to grow and nurture, and care for, healthy varieties of edible plants and herbs that can be picked fresh right out of the garden and used to cook delicious nutritious meals for the whole family to enjoy. This simple activity alone will instill in your kids an appreciation of nature they would not get from anywhere else, and the greastest benefit is that they will be eating the freshest, healthiest food around.
Research shows that family mealtimes have a big impact on how children eat as they grow into adulthood and start making food choices of their own. One study showed that children who eat meals with their parents tend to eat healthier foods such as fruit, vegetables and dairy products, than children who didn’t share meals with their parents.
Eating meals as a family is key to raising high-achieving, healthy and well-adjusted children. Family meals have been shown to improve academic achievement and self-esteem. Eating together also leads to more interest in nutrition. Studies have found that teenagers tended to eat more “fun” foods with their friends, but looked forward to eating a more healthful evening meal with their families. Another study from 2007 found that kids who ate with their families had healthier overall diets than those who did not. As a result, these kids also tended to have a lower prevalence of being overweight, too.
Cooking family meals with your children can also be fun, such as making fun smoothies, and educational, and spark a life-long interest in cooking. One study demonstrated that cooking together also helped kids know how to make a “balanced” meal. Choosing a nutritious-rich, well-balanced diet consisting of the four major food groups, such as The Mediterranean Diet, with lots of extra virgin olive oil, for you and your children is of utmost importance. A child’s brain is growing fast during the first years and the healthy omega-3 fatty acids are vitally important for building brain cells and keeping them healthy.
Proteins. Proteins should be lean, certified organic, non GMO, high in omega 3’s, grass-fed beef or bison, free-range pork, lamb, and poultry, as in chicken, turkey, and duck, wild-caught or cold-water fish and seafood, organic cage-free eggs, and organic nuts, such as Brazil nuts and walnuts, and seeds, including flax and pumpkin seeds, and flower seeds.
Carbohydrates. Carbs should be organic, non-GMO, high-fiber and whole-grains, for cooking, baking, and in breads.
Low-Fat Diary. Dairy products should be grass-fed organic, non-GMO, low-fat milk and cheese.
Fruits and Vegetables. Fruits and veggies should be fresh, certified organic, non-GMO grown, fruits and veggies, especially those high in omega-3’s, antioxidants and with anti-inflammatory properties, such as berries, coconuts, avocados, and dark-green leafy veggies.
Babies are born with no beneficial bacteria in their gut and this flora needs to build up to develop good digestive ability and a strong immune system. Give your little ones a wide range of different vegetables and fruit, and fermented foods such as kraut, yogurt, and kefir, and ensure they don’t eat processed and sugary foods, to create beneficial bacterial flora.
Normal kids’ food is packed with refined ingredients including processed white flour, modified starches and additives that are known to do harm and are associated with allergies, asthma, eczema, obesity. Over-processed grains raise your child’s blood sugar levels dramatically, giving them an energy surge, followed by a dip and the tired, grumpy, fidgety or hyperactive behavior that comes with it!
The Importance Of Supplementation
Along with the healthy choice of eating a proper nutritious-rich diet, it’s also a good idea to supplement you and your family’s diet with the natural Adaptogen Peruvian Maca, for added assurance. P Maca is completely safe and very helpful for children to eat as it boosts their calcium intake, but also studies have suggested it improves learning and memory. This is why parents in Peru have traditionally given P P Maca to their children, over it’s long incredible history dating back thousands of years, as outlined in this article, “What Is In Maca Root?”
Because P Maca also balances hormones, it can have a positive effect on children’s mood and behavior, especially teenagers, too! P Maca contains abundant amounts of all vitamins and minerals, particularly, significant amounts of absorbable calcium and magnesium, plus a little silica, which makes it useful in treating bone decalcifications in children. Children who had trouble with attention and staying focused, were relieved considerably of these symptoms, in addition, they become more alert and calmer. Dr. Gloria Chacon has performed tests on Peruvian Maca and local children in Peru, and is what she said, “Children who had trouble with attention and staying focused, were relieved considerably of these symptoms, in addition, they become more alert and calmer.” Go ahead and add ½ tsp of P Maca into your childrens’ breakfast bowls.
Learn more about the incredible, wide-ranging, health and wellness benefits of Peruvian Maca, and you can also purchase it, in these reviews:
Well, what do you think? We hope you found this “Children and Health” article enlighting. Should you two lovebirds decide to bring a bambino into the world, you might want to read this article, “What is Infertility About?”, which give some great information on infertility and conception. If you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.
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