What can I eat to refresh my brain and enhance my memory?

Parenting Tips

What can I eat to refresh my brain and enhance my memory?

Written by : Registered Dietitian (Australia)

                    Chung Yong Man

It’s exam season and students are studying hard for their exams. Many parents ask, “What are the best foods to help your child refresh and maintain a good memory?

1. Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are digested and converted into glucose, which provides sufficient energy for the brain. Therefore, I recommend eating an appropriate amount of carbohydrates at each meal to maintain the effective functioning of the brain. Food sources include grains and cereals such as rice, noodles, bread, oats, etc., and high starchy vegetables such as potatoes, corn, sweet potatoes, chestnuts and taro. Choosing high-fiber grains and cereals such as whole grain breakfasts, oats, whole wheat bread and red rice will help stabilize blood sugar and maintain concentration.

2. Omega-3 fatty acids

Omega-3 fatty acids, such as EPA and DHA, are the main elements that make up the brain’s cell membranes and nerve tissues, maintaining the normal transmission of messages in the nervous system and helping to maintain good memory. Omega-3 fatty acids can be obtained from eating deep-sea fish such as salmon, tuna, mackerel, etc. I recommend eating 2 to 3 meals a week, with each meal being about 2 to 3 ounces (the size of the palm of your hand). In addition, almonds, walnuts and avocados are also rich in omega-3 fatty acids.

3. Lecithin

Lecithin is one of the important elements in the composition of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, so adequate intake helps to revitalize brain cells, make thinking sharper and enhance memory. Eggs, soybeans and their products such as tofu, soy milk and baked beans with ketchup are rich in lecithin.

4. Iron

Iron is the main element in the production of red blood cells, which transports enough oxygen and nutrients to the brain to help keep it awake. Red meats such as beef, lamb and ostrich are rich in iron, and I recommend eating 2 to 3 meals a week at about 2 to 3 ounces per meal. Iron can also be taken from dark green vegetables such as spinach and red kidney beans, but since plant-based iron is more difficult to be absorbed by the body, foods rich in vitamin C, such as oranges, kiwis and tomatoes, can be eaten at the same meal to increase absorption.

5. Antioxidant Nutrients

Stress and poor diet can increase free radicals in the body, which can damage body cells and accelerate degeneration, or impair memory. Vitamins A, C, and E are antioxidants that protect brain cells from free radical damage and prevent memory loss. Foods rich in vitamin A include carrots, pumpkin and spinach; vitamin E can also be obtained from nuts, eggs and dried beans.

 

The above nutrients can promote brain health, but we should not only focus on the intake of a single nutrient. I encourage people to diversify their diets as much as possible to get enough nutrients to keep the brain functioning optimally.

Is there a problem with children sleeping on their backs?

Parenting Tips

Is there a problem with children sleeping on their backs?

Written by: Dr. Fung Wai Ching, Family Dynamics Volunteer Consultant

Every night when watching children sleep, there are always different strange sleeping positions, but when the child sleeps with the body down, parents will inevitably feel worried. A parent asked me about her 4-year-old child’s habit of sleeping with his body bent over, worrying about the adverse effects on the child’s health. This time  I will explore the problem of children’s sleeping posture to all parents!

 

Infants should be avoided to sleep on their backs

According to medical research, sleeping on top of the body increases the risk of sudden infant death (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)). There is still no definite conclusion on how sleeping on top causes sudden infant death, but the medical profession now generally recommends that infants under the age of 1 should avoid sleeping on top to reduce the chance of SIDS.

Older children can adopt different sleeping positions

For older children, if they are in good health with no chronic illness, as long as they sleep peacefully, breathe well, have no abnormal breathing sounds, and wake up refreshed and energetic in the morning, there is no big difference in which sleeping position to adopt, as long as the mouth and nose are not blocked. In addition, in reality, the human sleep industry from time to time to change positions, excessive regulation of children’s sleeping position, both impractical and unnecessary.

Changing Sleeping Positions for Different Situations

For some individual cases, it may be beneficial to adopt a specific sleeping position. For example, children with upper respiratory tract obstruction (such as tonsillar hypertrophy) often snore when they sleep because of the obstruction of the upper respiratory tract, and lying on their backs will cause the tongue to move backwards, further obstructing the narrow airway. I suggest that children sleep on their sides so that their tongues do not move backwards and their airways are more open. In addition, for young children with gastroesophageal reflux, sleeping on the right side may increase the chance of backflow of food and digestive juices in the stomach, so sleeping on the back or to the left side is preferable.

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“Poverty leads to change, change leads to adapt” Let children learn to be flexible

Parenting Tips

"Poverty leads to change, change leads to adapt” Let children learn to be flexible

Written by:Gigamind English Primary School Principal Law

There is a Chinese saying: “Raising a child for 100 years old is a long-term worry for 99 years. This speaks to the heart of thousands of parents. As the weather turns colder, you are busy adding clothes for your child, but when you see other people’s children running and jumping around wearing only a single coat, you may worry that he is too warm and less able to adapt. If your child doesn’t listen to you and does what he wants to do, you will be annoyed, but if he asks you for everything, you may worry and say, “Oh! Didn’t I teach you that? Why don’t you always know how to adapt?

1. The power of adaptability from the movie

Spontonsive Flexibility is an element of creativity. If you know how to adapt, you can solve a problem in a different way.

Have you ever seen the movie “Apollo 13”, which is based on a true story? One scene of the movie tells the story of the runaway spacecraft, filtering toxic gas equipment is broken, scientists found that to solve the problem, we need to connect a round interface to a square interface above. Different sizes of water pipes cannot be reliably connected, but they want to connect the round interface? Sounds like you know it is impossible, but if you cannot connect the filter cannot pass the toxic gas, the three astronauts will not be able to return alive! In the end, with the cooperation of each other, they used plastic bags, cardboard, tape and other things to connect the two different interfaces, successfully solved the problem.

2. Difficulties are an opportunity to develop adaptability

As the saying goes, ” poverty leads to change, change leads to adapt “. The word “poverty” in this context does not mean “poor”, but “at the end of the road”, or “in difficulty”. When things seem to have come to a dead end, only some alternative or different methods can solve the problem.

Fostering adaptability requires that children face difficult problems, think about them, and try to solve them in different ways. In fact, children have to face a lot of problems every day, such as math problems, crafts, and model building, which require them to solve problems. We can make full use of these opportunities to develop their adaptability.

3. Inclusion of children’s ideas

We need to be mindful that developing children’s adaptability requires an attitude of tolerance and acceptance of seemingly silly solutions to problems. Since adults have more experience and are better at solving problems than children, they sometimes feel that the solutions children come up with are not good enough. However, the most important thing is that these solutions were thought up by the children themselves, and they can work. Even if they don’t work, they probably make some sense and can barely do it. No matter how “dumb” a child’s approach is, every success and every parental support gives him or her more confidence to solve problems in the future.

4. Letting your child try

Adults may be able to figure out solutions to problems faster than children, so we need to give children enough time to think and try, and not rush to tell them what they think. Parents should let go of their children and let them face difficulties on their own. “Poverty leads to change”, and the motivation for “change” will be weakened with too much help.

This is the difficulty of being a parent. If you help too much, you worry that your child will not know how to solve problems on his own; if you help too little, you worry that he will not be able to catch up with others; and with so many things to deal with every day, how can you have time to let your child take his time to finish what he has to do every day? However, there are times, such as during the holidays, when we really need to consider slowing down the pace of life and allowing our children to do more of their own work, learn to solve problems in their own way, and develop adaptability.

New mothers are physically and emotionally exhausted, and their husbands have two simple tricks to help them relieve their emotions

Parenting Tips

New mothers are physically and emotionally exhausted, and their husbands have two simple tricks to help them relieve their emotions

Written by Chinese Doctor Yiu Yee Chiu

 

It is not easy to build a healthy and happy family. Starting from the first trimester, mothers-to-be have to face internal and external changes such as physical appearance, weight and weight, and even psychological and emotional changes. Mothers-to-be who are pregnant for the first time are more stressed and nervous. In addition, the stress may come from the partner and family members around her. I have seen some mothers who are pregnant with their second child and are overly worried because of the urgency of the sex of their child. In fact, children are a gift from God, so we should open our arms and obey God’s will, and our families should support us. However, there are many cases of postpartum depression. Therefore, I will share with you the treatment of postpartum depression from the perspective of Chinese medicine.

Prenatal and postnatal depression and blood stagnation

In Chinese medicine, there are six types of depression: qi depression, blood depression, phlegm depression, damp depression, heat depression and food depression. Postpartum depression is quite complex, with qi and blood depression being the most common. The theory of Chinese medicine is that “when evil qi is injured, the right qi will be deficient”. The body of the mother-to-be has to give a lot of nutrients and blood to the baby during pregnancy, and the pain, qi depletion and blood loss during the delivery process will cause the mother’s body to suffer a lot.

Later on, the mother’s busy schedule in taking care of the baby makes her physically exhausted, coupled with unclear dew and incomplete blood stasis, which causes the internal organs to be out of balance. At this time, the mother starts to feel weak, dizzy and headaches, pain in the lower abdomen, irritability and insomnia, and even affects the secretion of breast milk, such as lack of milk or low milk supply. In this case, the mother will feel frustrated, her emotions will be further affected, she will be irritable and prone to crying, and she will have a sense of loss and emptiness. These are all symptoms of postpartum depression.

Tips to relieve tension

In fact, postpartum depression can be avoided, and both Chinese and Western medicine have excellent therapeutic effects, so mothers should not be afraid to seek medical help if they start to notice something wrong. To prevent depression, mothers should have a regular routine before and after childbirth, plus dietary therapy and appropriate amount of exercise to maintain physical and mental well-being.

At home, husbands can perform some simple acupressure points for their wives to help relieve their tension:

1. Accelerate the heart and lung function to help relax the mood

Hold hands together and gently rub to stimulate the Yuzhi point under the thumbs and the Laogong point in the center of the palms, or press these two points with the thumbs for a few minutes.

2. Reduce head swelling and pain

Press the thumbs and middle fingers of both hands against the lateral solar plexus points and gently rotate them up and down for a few minutes to reduce head swelling and pain.

Whether you are pregnant or not, a husband who massages his wife can improve the relationship between the couple and make the family more warm and harmonious. If you have friends who are expecting mothers, remember to encourage each other and share your experience, which will also help mothers-to-be!

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Having breakfast makes you smarter. What breakfast can “wake up our brain and morning “?

Parenting Tips

Having breakfast makes you smarter. What breakfast can "wake up our brain and morning "?

Written By: Founder of Kat-Spirit Nutrition Centre Senior Nutritionist Ng Yiu Fun

The school year has started, did the children have breakfast before school? Many children have different reasons for not eating breakfast, but parents should pay attention to the fact that breakfast has a great impact on the growth of children!

Earlier, a study by the Chinese University of Hong Kong showed that breakfast has a significant impact on the academic performance of students. Students who have the habit of eating breakfast every day, test scores are more than 5 points higher than the average student who did not eat breakfast. Why does breakfast make us smarter?

Because the brain needs blood sugar for nutrient absorption and consumption, but when our body sleeps all night without food, the body has consumed our blood sugar for the whole day. Therefore, we need to eat breakfast to replenish blood sugar, so that our response becomes faster. Parents may ask, “What is the best breakfast for children?

 

What breakfast can “wake up our brain and morning”?

1. Starchy food

This includes porridge, flour, noodles, rice, bread and biscuits, so we can eat a sandwich, a bowl of macaroni or rice flour as well; even drinking milk, eating oatmeal or corn flakes is fine

2. Protein supplement

Since protein itself can make us react faster, for example, shredded chicken is rich in protein, so for breakfast, you can choose a bowl of rice noodles in shredded chicken soup or macaroni in shredded chicken soup, or have an egg sandwich with cheese, which can also help us replenish our needs for the day. So all parents remember to remind children to eat breakfast before going to school!

Children are reluctant to open their mouths. Does listening to music help?

Parenting Tips

Children are reluctant to open their mouths. Does listening to music help?

Written By: Pang Chi Wah, Certified Educational Psychologist, New Horizons Development Centre   

Parents expect their children to learn to speak, and the feeling of their children “opening their mouths” for the first time is something that only parents who have been parents can understand. Parents want their children to start talking as soon as possible and do everything they can to guide their children to speak. While oral training is important for the development of speech, parents should not neglect auditory training because it is an important prerequisite for language training.

 

1. Relationship between Auditory Stimulation and Speech Expression

Listening and expression, reception and output, are closely related and complement each other. In the early childhood stage, if a child’s reception is not sufficient, it has a direct impact on the amount of output. I give a more extreme example for analysis. People with hearing impairment have difficulties in speech expression, but this is not due to problems with their oral muscles or related abilities but to the lack of auditory input. Without the verification and comparison of sound content, even though the mouth is developing normally, there is no “inventory” and therefore no “supply”. Therefore, parents should pay attention to whether they are providing their children with adequate auditory stimulation.

 

2. Diversified auditory stimulation

Some parents may say, “Of course I know this, and I try to output a lot of sound to my child: I often talk to my child, tell stories, describe my child’s surroundings, etc., and I use different languages to do so. While this is ideal for auditory stimulation, the content is rich but similar in nature – it is all verbal. In fact, auditory reception can be very diverse, and music, for example, is a material that can help improve a child’s language skills. Conversely, parents can learn about their children’s language development by how well they listen to music.

 

3. Music is good for language development

From my years of experience in education, I found that children with poor phonetic ability will have more difficulty in learning music and vocal music, such as pitch, rhythm, range, etc. This is actually related to listening and sound composition skills. Among the different types of sounds, music is the ideal language teaching material, except for the human language. There is a wide variety of music, with different rhythms or themes, from which children can broaden their understanding of sound. In addition to its educational value, some soft music can even help to soothe emotions.

 

4. Play the harmonica and experience the sound and breathing changes

The same piece of music can feel very different when played by different instruments. This is also good training for your child’s listening sensitivity. In addition to listening to records or playing music files on the computer, it is fun and meaningful for children to get in touch with real instruments and actually play them so that they are more aware of the relationship between different materials and sounds. Harmonica is a good training tool among many musical instruments. When playing the harmonica, children need to exhale through their mouths, thus having the opportunity to experience the changes between sound and breathing. When children play the harmonica, they use their tongues and lips to create sounds that are coordinated with each other, which is an important foundation for the use of the mouth.

Singing children’s songs to learn to speak

In addition to imitating everyday conversations, singing a cute children’s song can have the desired effect of enhancing memory and deepening impressions by using music to carry language. If children can sing along, even if they can’t produce the right sounds at first, they can develop their speaking skills during the imitation process.

A building is built from the ground up, and training in early childhood is very important for children to have good language skills in the future. Through the use of music and musical instruments, children can build a good language foundation in a fun and relaxing way, so parents may want to try it out more often.

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Wear face mask for long time during Epidemic.
How to make children learn to “look at people’s eyebrows and eyes”?

Parenting Tips

Parents Zone

Written by: Hong Kong Speech and Swallowing Therapy Centre
Senior Speech Therapist Eunice Siu

In our daily interactions with others, we not only observe others’ behaviors, but also “explain” and “predict” others’ behaviors. Theory of mind is the ability to infer or substitute other people’s mental states, such as their thoughts, beliefs, desires, and intentions, etc., and to use this ability to explain other people’s thoughts, perceptions, and predict their behaviors. Theory of mind can be subdivided into “emotion recognition”, “beliefs” and “pretend play”.

The developmental period for children’s theory of mind is from approximately 3 to 7 years of age. However, before the age of 3, children need to master the following skills to effectively develop theory of mind skills.

1. noticing and imitating the behavior of people around them
2. recognizing the emotions of others and using words to express them (e.g., happy, sad, angry, surprised)
3. participates in pretend play
4. understands that different people have different desires and preferences
5. understands that people will act to get what they want (e.g. reach for candy)
6. understands the causes and consequences of unsympathetic emotions (e.g. if I hit my brother, my mom will be mad and then she will scold me)

Ways to improve theory of mind are:

1. Use more psychologically relevant words when talking to your child

Using psychologically related words to communicate with children can help children understand their own and others’ psychological conditions more specifically. Examples of psychologically related words are “think,” “pretend,” “know,” “believe,” “feel,” and words related to emotions. Pay attention to what your child is trying to say and then respond. For example, “Ah! You want cake”, “Don’t be afraid! You think I’m gone, but I’m still here,” and “Mommy’s mad at you for hitting your brother. Parents can also explain to their children the psychological situation of others, e.g., “Mei-mei is smiling so much when she receives a birthday present, she should be very excited.

2. Participate in role-playing games with your child

Role-playing games encourage children to put themselves in different situations and characters’ perspectives to draw inferences about their behavior. To begin, children can pretend to be common everyday characters, such as mothers, doctors, teachers, and drivers. Parents should pay attention to the fact that both the words and behaviors in the game should be substituted for the role played. This activity helps children experience a variety of emotions, thoughts and interactions in different social situations, and learn to observe, imitate, anticipate, review and adjust their thoughts and behaviors.

I hope parents can make good use of the opportunity to share and communicate more with their children in daily life, so that they can learn to “look at people’s eyebrows and eyes” (meaning read people’s faces) and become a “mind-reading detective”!

Source:
Hollin, P., Baron-Cohen, S.,& Hadwin,J.(1999). Teaching children with autism tomind-read. West Sussex, England: Wiely Press

Lowry, L.(2015).” Tuning in” to others: How young children develop theory of mind. The Hanen Centre.

Spastics Association of Hong Kong (2005). Connecting: Developing social skills in children with autism. Spastics Association of Hong Kong.

To love children, first to love themselves, 3 moves to teach you to maintain the best mental state

Parenting Tips

Parents Zone

Written by :Family Dynamics Child Play Therapist
                   Marriage and Family Therapist, Ms. Lee Wai Zi

In today’s society, it is indeed not easy for parents to maintain a good state of mind and body. I have met with many parents and found that the difficulty most parents face is not that they do not understand their children’s feelings and needs, or that they do not know how their behavior affects their children, but that it is difficult to maintain a trusting and optimistic attitude towards their children when they are in a situation. Often, parents become increasingly anxious as they worry that their child’s problems will continue and worsen, and repeat ineffective ways of dealing with their child’s problems.

So, how can parents maintain the best mental state to face the stress and challenges of disciplining their children? Here are some tips for parents to consider:

1. Be more sensitive to your own stress levels
Parents are human beings, so there will be times when they are depressed or physically and emotionally exhausted. The purpose of parents being sensitive to their own mental state is to remind themselves that they need to take care of their own needs first. It is difficult for parents to be sensitive and responsive to the needs of their children when they are in a highly stressed state. Conversely, inappropriate responses may harm the child and damage the parent-child relationship.

2. Use resources effectively to relieve stress
When parents feel stressed, they should try to explore and make good use of their own internal and external resources to regulate their negative emotions. For example, find family members or friends to talk to, do things that can relax you, and find positive thoughts and beliefs to encourage you. The purpose is to give yourself a proper rest and temporary relief from stress.

3. Turn your mind around and reflect
If a parent’s stress continues and increases, professional help is needed. Sometimes, these pressures come from more than just external influences. Parents’ self-worth, worldview, and perceptions of things can affect how we parent. For example, some parents worry that they are not doing enough to fulfill their parental responsibilities and end up pushing their children to study or participate in activities, or even that they are not flexible enough to respond to their children’s needs when they are stressed and negative.

If parents are aware of and take care of their own feelings and needs, they can prevent their negative emotions from affecting the next generation.

Therefore, parents who love their children must first love themselves. Only when parents are healthy and happy can their children grow up healthy and happy.

Drawings peek into the inner world of children

Parenting Tips

Parents Zone

Written by: Unleashing Mind Professional Counselling Academy
Psychotherapist Lee Wai-Tong

Painting can give us room to express our feelings. I use a brush to create a dialogue with myself in another language, soothing my emotions or gaining insight and unlocking my heart.

Crying over trivial stuff

In my past child counseling sessions, some parents came to me for help. They did not understand why their son, Ming, often cried over trivial things, such as being late for TV, late for dinner, or when his father came home late, etc. They mentioned the situation to Ming, but they did not understand why, which caused them trouble. Therefore, I suggested conducting a drawing assessment for Ming to understand the environment in which Ming grows up in his mind, which may help to understand the reason why Ming loves to cry.

Drawing reveals the reason for crying

Ming drew a “family story”. While drawing, he expressed his feelings that his parents were busy with work all day, so he often played alone at home. When his parents came home, Ming wanted to play with them, but his father soon became impatient. In Ming’s mind, it seems that his father is always angry; whenever his mother sees this situation, she will argue with him. In Ming’s eyes, his mother always looks sad when she argues with his father. In Ming’s mind, he knew that his parents loved him, but when he saw that his father was angry and his mother was sad because of him, he felt sad.

A peek into the inner world through paintings

Later, I met with Ming’s parents again. They never imagined that the quarrel in front of Ming was deeply engraved in their son’s heart. In addition, the father also found that his tiredness after work affected the quality of parent-child interaction. In this regard, I taught the father some relaxation methods and suggested setting up a “calm zone” at home to give everyone a space to relieve their emotions, and the parents promised to avoid arguing in front of Ming.
A month later, Ming no longer cried over trivial matters and the parent-child relationship was better than before. Painting can reflect children’s inner world view. In the process of creation, children project their inner world intentionally or unintentionally, so that we can understand their inner world and help them grow up healthily.