You are more in control over your kids grades than you think. The biggest obstacle to better grades are frequently not the kids themselves, but our lack of understanding how the brain reacts to certain foods.
Despite growing general nutrition interest and information, there is still a lot to be said about foods that promote attention and focus and those that cause hyperactivity and absentmindedness.
For over a decade I have been working with parents and their apparently difficult to improve performance kids. I noticed that even small changes in nutrition can bring big changes in school. Observing the changes that take place at home and on the report card is rewarding. I would like to share my observations, and pass on an important rule I have told parents over the years:
Forget about fruit juices!
When you think about fruit juices you think vitamins. Many parents add fruit juices to the lunch boxes of their kids, thinking that they are improving their nutrition. However, most of us do not understand that fruit juices, although containing vitamins, are also quite high in sugars.
For example, a cup of unsweetened apple juice has over seven cubes of naturally occurring sugar. The same cup of unsweetened concord grape juice has nearly eight cubes of sugar, that’s even more than Pepsi, which has seven cubes of sugar per cup.
So as far as sugar is concerned, Pepsi or fruit juice, it really makes no difference. Both will give a sugar surge that can first result in a bout of hyperactivity and later in excessive tiredness from sudden blood sugar drop. Your child’s grades very much reflect these states as steady blood sugar will provide more focus and attention. Erratic blood sugar means more hyperactivity and more absentmindedness.
So, what about nutrients?
Aren’t fruits good for us? We know Pepsi has no nutritional value, but what about natural unsweetened juice?
Apples are considered a fairly good source of vitamin C and one medium apple contains approximately 8 mg of vitamin C. An orange, which is considered an excellent source of this vitamin, contains 70 mg. So may think that apple or orange juice should be packed with this vitamin. But is it?
Even if you squeeze four oranges, which will give you a tall glass of juice, you end only up with about 280 mg of vitamin C, the equivalent of one small vitamin C pill. Yet those four vitamin C packed oranges will also give you a sugar surge equivalent to two cups of Pepsi. Try to sweeten your tea with 15 cubes of sugar and then study. Good luck.
Fruit juices are poor vitamin carriers
But, do you really get 280 mg of vitamin C in your orange juice? Vitamin C is easily destroyed by processing. Vitamin C is sensitive to heat, air and light. Fruit sterilization causes 50% of vitamin C loss. Most packed fruit juices are pasteurized to prevent spoilage, so this already cuts your vitamin C content in juice by half.
An apple stored for six months loses 100% of its Vitamin C content. How old do you think your fruit juice is before you actually drink it? With all processing, pasteurization and storage there is just a trace, if any, of vitamin C left.
So now that you are reconsidering whether fruit juice provides good nutrition, you may well come to the conclusion that you are actually better off by drinking Pepsi and taking a multivitamin. That’s probably not what you had in mind when you sent your son or daughter to school this morning.
Ok, no fruit juice.
Is fruit ok then?
Yes, fruits are excellent. Fresh fruits contain a full spectrum of nutrients not altered by processing or prolonged storage. They need to be chewed and broken down before being absorbed. That slows down the digestion and prevents study-unfriendly sugar surges and plunges.
Fruits can satisfy a sweet tooth, so you may save on sugar monsters such as candies, pastries, and fake chocolate bars. Fruits are also portable and very few cause allergic reaction. So please next time you send your son, daughter, or yourself to school remember the rule: pack a fruit, not juice.
Get something nice for the kid that also boost school performance: surprise
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Source on Vitamin C stability:
Vitamin C content in foods: