Ask the Experts: Do you have any back to school tips for children with MTHFR mutations?
It’s that time of the year where backpacks are flying off the shelves and excited children are searching for the school supplies that they need to succeed this school year. A child’s success in school can rely on the habits they set forth at the beginning of the school year such as nutrition, healthy sleep cycles, and adequate exercise. If your child has a gene mutation known as MTHFR, then their body has a harder time detoxifying. Click here to read more about MTHFR mutations.
One of the biggest toxins the body has an issue with is folic acid. This mutation results in the reduction of detoxification speed, and the inability of the body to break down folic acid into a usable form for the body. This slower detoxification process can result in foggy brain, lack of focus, and drowsiness that can make paying attention in the classroom difficult. Fortunately, as parents, there are things that can be done to help set healthy habits which will boost attention and give your child the best chance at succeeding in the classroom this school year.
Eat a healthy breakfast every morning before school.
Starting the morning off with a healthy breakfast is important for giving your children the fuel their bodies need to start the day off fresh and focused. Plus, spending time sitting around the table with your family in the morning and discussing plans and goals for the day can be a great time to bond and spend quality time together.
Certain breakfast choices are better than others for children with MTHFR. Like mentioned above, folic acid should be avoided and it is in most cereals children eat for breakfast. If your child eats a bowl full of cereal containing folic acid, then their bodies are spending energy desperately trying to convert the folic acid into a useable form for their bodies (which they can’t) and they don’t have much energy left to send to the brain to support neurotransmitters, resulting in the inability to focus. Click here for food choices that help boost brain health.
Switch cereal for nutritious options such as eggs, fruit, and yogurt. Eggs are a great source of protein and the possibilities are endless: scrambled, over easy, and omelettes filled with veggies (my personal favorite). Fruit is another great breakfast option because it can be eaten alone or combined with yogurt or cottage cheese. Heading off to school with a stomach full of nutrients is the best way to start the school day.
Follow it up with a healthy lunch.
I remember lunch being one of my favorite times of the day when I was in school, but after lunch I always felt groggy, tired, and had a hard time focusing. I didn’t realize it then, but the processed foods in my lunch were causing my fatigue. Avoid putting processed foods in your child’s lunch, this can be difficult because your kids might ask for certain snacks but in the long run it will be beneficial for their focus and their overall health. Start supplementing your child’s lunch with nutrients they can use to boost their energy and focus. Add in fruits high in antioxidants and vegetables high in folate and vitamin B. Celery and peanut butter, yogurt, carrots with hummus, guacamole, and vegetable soup are some delicious healthy options your children might enjoy. Does your child seem to have food sensitivities? Test for 184 foods today.
School can be a stressful time for children. They are learning how to juggle homework, friendships, activities, and family time which can be a lot to manage. Make sure your children know it’s important to relax and to take time for themselves, that school is important but their overall mental health is more important. Spend time talking with your children and find out if they are overloaded with too many activities, or if they need help in a particular subject. Teach your child ways to manage stress, perhaps start family yoga or meditation a few times a week, or try taking a daily walk together.
Healthy Sleep Schedule
Throughout summer, it’s very easy for sleeping schedules to get off balance. Oftentimes, kids stay up later and sleep in longer, which can make transitioning back to waking up early hard to handle. Get back into a normal sleep schedule before school starts. This will give your kids time to get used to waking up early, without their education suffering from lack of focus. Aim for 9-12 hours of healthy uninterrupted sleep every night, this is one of the best ways you can enhance their chances at success in the classroom the next day. A good night’s sleep is extremely important. When your child is sleeping their minds are repairing and toxins are being flushed out of the brain and body. Essentially after a good night’s sleep, your child is waking up with a clean slate ready to take on the day. Click here to read more healthy sleep suggestions.
If your child is having a hard time falling asleep at night try some of these tips:
· Avoid caffeine six hours before bedtime.
· Turn off electronics such as phones, ipads, or kindle readers.
· Establish a relaxing bedtime routine.
· Make their room more comfortable. Adding darker shades, a noise machine, and adjusting the temperature of the room can make a difference in your child’s quality of sleep.
Do you have an MTHFR mutation? Take our survey to get information regarding your specific mutation.