Nutrition Questions and Answers
Vital Health Zone is proud to announce Lesa Rusher, who is our resident naturopathic expert and who is available to answer questions about nutrition and health.
Lesa Rusher is a qualified naturopath with a thriving business in Canberra, Australia and has a wealth of experience treating clients on a variety of health issues. Lesa Rusher's full credentials can be found in our experts area.
Lesa Rusher will answer your nutrition-related questions.
Q: My 13 year old son weighs 84 pounds and isn't a very good eater, but he is very active: he has soccer practice 2-3 times a week and plays two games each weekend.
This is the second year he has gotten mononucleosis. Is it possible he isn't getting enough nutrition therefore his immune system is low for his age.
A: It may very be possible that your son's frequent mononucleosis infections are caused by his lack of good nutrition, due to not eating enough of the right foods. The immune system relies greatly on protein foods and the B vitamins to run properly. Your son needs to be eating foods rich in these nutrients every day.
There are many ways you can disguise foods he may not like in meals, so that he eats them and has enough of the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and amino acids he needs. Some ways you can do this are:
- finely grate vegetables in sauces to disguise their taste and presence
- make smoothies with real yoghurt and fruit, especially banana and berries (a real favourite for most kids)
- cut meat/chicken/fish into much smaller portions - this is a good way to make it appear that he is not eating so much
- encourage your child to snack between meals, there are a few recipes in the snacks sections, but you can also make your own healthy snacks for your child - some good snacks are: wholegrain crackers (or bread) with some cheese and fruit, dried fruit compote with plain yoghurt
- foods that have high antioxidant properties are very good for the immune system (foods high in vitamin A, betacarotene, vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc and selenium) - the most brightly (or darkly) coloured fruits and vegetables are high in antioxidants, plus nuts and seeds
- try to get as much organic food in his diet as you can, because latest research shows that organic foods have around 20-40% and more of many nutrients
Make sure that you let your child know that he needs to eat all the nutritious foods to help him play soccer much better. This is not only true, but it will help him realise that food is required. You can explain it like this:
The body is like the engine of a car - a car needs fuel to enable you to drive it, without fuel, the car wont run properly or at all and the engine soon goes awry.
The human body is the same - the body needs food to work properly (to walk, talk, exercise, do homework, etc) and without enough food, the body will not be able to work properly.
You can also see a registered dietician to review his diet, to ensure that he is eating enough of all the right nutrients.
Hopefully these tips will help your son back to good health.
Please note that the information provided is for educational purposes only and is not meant to diagnose or treat medical conditions. Consult with your medical physician regarding appropriateness of using supplements in your healing process.
Enjoy better health!