Teenage health is not something our adolescents thing about.
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Teenage Health: more than just avoiding colds
Just ask them and they’ll tell you! If it’s not problems with school, then it’s problems with friends or it’s problems at work, or it’s problems with the ‘physical-ness’ of growing up. While we don’t necessarily have herbs that will directly solve problems with school, friends, or work, we can certainly help our teens with the physical and emotional adjustments of growing up, and that will make everything else a little easier to bear.
Teenage health is not something our adolescents usually think about – or if they do, they compartmentalize it into immune questions – like ‘how come I always get colds’?
The first and most important way to help adolescents is with unconditional love. This doesn’t mean letting them do whatever they want. To the contrary, it means setting firm and reasonable boundaries to help them develop the ability to think and make decisions for themselves. It also means allowing them to face the consequences when they mess up. They need to know that while you may not condone all of their actions you do love them always!
The second and most important way to help with teenage health is through sound nutrition. One of the challenges is that kids have their own money and will often grab a snack at the convenience store or get lunch at the fast-food place. We can’t control what they do when they are away from us, but hopefully we’ve taught them right so they won’t choose such horrid foods too often. We need to ensure that the food choices that are available at home are both nourishing and inviting. Lots of fresh vegetables (such as cold pizza made on a whole grain crust, a bit of pizza sauce, lots of vegetables and a sprinkling of cheese), some fruit, lots of healthy proteins (trail mix of almonds, cashews, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, with just a few raisins, chopped dried apricots, or carob chips), and complex carbohydrates (whole grain carob chip cookies, homemade granola bars – see recipes at www.GoodandNaturalRecipes.com) will go a long way toward meeting the elevated caloric and nutritional demands of a growing body.
One moment they’re sweet as peaches and cream, and the next they could rip your eyes out … unpredictable … unstable … volatile …. They desperately need emotional and nutritional anchors. Colloidal minerals (Essential Liquid Minerals) and protein (perhaps a Nature’s Harvest shake or SmartMeal blended with fresh or frozen berries) can provide nutritional anchors. Minerals and proteins are the basic building blocks of neurotransmitters and hormones. When the neurotransmitters and hormones are balanced the moods swings will settle down. Another way of evening teenage health and moods out is to give them Blessed Thistle and Red Raspberry. These herbs are given to girls and boys alike. I have seen this duo bring peace and calm to very unstable and troubled youth. Liquid B12 Plus provides important, mood-stabilizing B-vitamins in a pleasant-tasting liquid.
Studies have shown that teens have both an increased need for sleep (almost as much as an infant) and a very abnormal sleep rhythm. They do much better if allowed to sleep until at least 9:00 AM and if allowed to stay up till 11:00 PM or midnight.1 Their whole circadian rhythm is different from the rest of the world, it seems. This is grossly inconvenient. A protein-rich breakfast (poached egg on whole grain toast) seems to get their energy kick-started. Some teens may crave sleep more than breakfast. Use a Nature’s Harvest shake to get them out the door with optimal nutrition. Protein snacks, like the trail-mix mentioned above, will help to keep their energy up and running smoothly and avoid the pitfalls of blood-sugar dips. Teenage health requires enough good-quality sleep!
When I was a youth the acne control drug of choice was Tetracycline. It had awful side-effects, including sensitivity to sunlight, gut issues like diarrhea, yeast infections, and mottling of the teeth.2 Now, the drug of choice is Accutane. This is really frightening. The side-effects of Accutane3 are far more serious than those of Tetracycline ever were. When acne is the problem, the solution is liver support and improved nutrition. If junk food is reduced to a minimum, and blood purifiers like the herbal blends Liv-Gd, Liv-A, or (my personal favorite) Oregon Grape are used internally, teenage health can be improved and the skin can be cleared up. Dairy products (milk, yogurt, cottage cheese, cheese), refined sugar, white flour, chocolate, junk food fats, and soft drinks all contribute to bad skin by increasing the demands on the liver and the eliminatory channels. Tea tree oil or pau d’arco lotion can be applied to blemishes with a cotton swab to both kill the bacteria and dry up the excess oils. The skin clearing process takes time (which is a commodity that most teens are short of) and diligence. The skin will only be as good as the raw materials that are going into the body. Remember, the skin is completely replaced every 28 days.
Girls – Periods
Teen girls can have problems with irregular periods, painful periods, and heavy periods. Again, minerals are important. Calcium, magnesium, and iron can work together to reduce painful cramping and stem heavy menstrual flow. Liver support, essential fatty acids, and some hormonal guidance is also indicated. Liv-Gd or Oregon Grape are wonderful at supporting the liver. Super Omega 3 will supply the essential fatty acids. Hormonal balance can be helped along with either the Blessed Thistle/Red Raspberry combination, or Wild Yam with Chaste Tree.
One more critical cause of menstrual cramps, which has become epidemic in my opinion, is insulin resistance. Insulin resistance messes up your blood sugars, reproductive hormones, menstrual cycles, fertility, and general health. How do you know if this could be the cause of your ‘shoot me now to end the pain’ menstrual cramps?
1) Is your diet high in carbs? Do you drink pop, juice, eat candy, cookies, baked goods, and other sweets on a daily basis?
2) Do you have a ‘muffin-top’ waistline?
3) Is your waist measurement more than 36 inches or 90 cm?
If your daughter answered yes to two or more of these questions, chances are she is at least flirting with insulin resistance. The only recourse is to clean up her diet: eliminate the excess of carbs and focus more on protein and low carb veggies. The benefits of doing all this: reduced menstrual cramps, muffin-top will disappear, energy will improve, acne will clear up, and teenage health will get stronger.
Having said all of this, the teen years can be turbulent, and the most important thing we, as parents, can do for our kids is to love them. I highly recommend the book The Five Love Languages of Teenagers by Gary Chapman. When we have loved them, fed them healthfully, and supported their teenage health with appropriate supplements, our impact on them will be strong, positive, and lasting!
If you have concerns about your child’s health, or just don’t know where to begin making improvements, please contact me, Judith Cobb, to book an appointment. Skype, phone, webinar, and face-to-face appointments are available.
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Copyright © 2015 by Judith Cobb, Cobblestone Health Ltd. All rights reserved. Please respect the time it takes to write and publish articles. If you will link to this article and give proper attribution, you are encouraged to quote sections (though not the entire article).