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Rates of anxiety and other mental health conditions in kids have been on the rise over the last decade, and it’s no surprise that the pandemic has only made them worse. In October 2021, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and the Children’s Hospital Association declared the mental health crisis in kids a national emergency.
Although factors like genetics, trauma, and stress can all increase the risk for anxiety, diet may be one, we as a nation should take a closer look at.
As we continue this season focused on “food as medicine,” I sat down with Jess Cording, a registered dietitian, health coach, writer, and author of “The Little Book of Game Changers: 50 Healthy Habits for Managing Stress & Anxiety.“
Cording and I talked about why rates of anxiety are on the rise in kids, what research shows about gut health and the role that food and diet play, and if diet alone can prevent and treat anxiety. We also talked about foods to avoid, the best nutrients and superfoods to focus on, and if fermented foods, probiotics, and spices can help. Finally, Cording offered up easy ways for both and kids and parents to better cope with anxiety.
3:30 Let’s talk about your story!
9:45 Kids have a lot to be anxious about today. When a parent is concerned, what’s the first step?
12:45 What does research tell us about the role that diet plays in causing, increasing symptoms of, and reducing anxiety?
15:03 What does research tell us about the role of gut health and anxiety?
16:48 How can ultra-processed foods affect kids’ gut health and mental health?
20:14 Can diet alone prevent or treat anxiety in kids?
23:43 Can dehydration lead to symptoms of anxiety?
24:22 What are the best nutrients to focus on to help ease symptoms?
29:26 Should kids take a probiotic or are fermented foods best?
30:34 How do we get fish in our kids’ diets?
32:59 Can spices like turmeric help with anxiety?
35:54 Why is it important to have meals with fiber, protein, and healthy fats especially if your kid has anxiety?
36:39 What are some healthy snack ideas?
38:20 What are your favorite tips for parents dealing with high levels of stress and anxiety?
42:56 Tell us about your second book.
LINKS MENTIONED IN THE SHOW
Julie mentions she has interviewed Jess Cording for stories for EverydayHealth including, “12 Potential Signs You’re Eating Too Much Sugar.”
Julie talks about her interview on Jess Cording’s podcast, “Drama-Free Healthy Living with Jess Cording.”
Julie mentions research that shows kids are eating mostly ultra-processed foods.
Jess mentions the Headspace app for kids.
Julie and Jess talk about this study, which found 71% of U.S. children consume caffeine on a given day.
Julie mentions she uses turmeric to make Golden Milk.
Grab a copy of Jess Cording’s book, “The Little Book of Game Changers: 50 Healthy Habits for Managing Stress & Anxiety.“
Learn more about Jess Cording on her website. Follow her on Instagram and Facebook.
Subscribe and listen to Jess Cording’s podcast “Drama Free Healthy Living with Jess Cording.”
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