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As much as we might hate to admit it, it turns out she was
right all along about lots of those down-home notions that made us groan as we
were growing up.
Here's a brief sampling, organized to spell out MOTHER'S
If you contend that feeding us fruits and veggies while holding
out on the junk food was tantamount to child abuse, you haven't got a leg to
stand on. The health benefits of fresh produce and whole grains include
strengthening the immune system while protecting against heart disease and
cancer. Junk food, on the other hand, is high in salt and sugar, promoting high
blood pressure, obesity, and dental cavities.
"Parents should offer children a variety of healthy food
choices -- no junk food!" William H. Dietz, MD, PhD, tells WebMD. "The
child can choose whether or not he wants to eat."
But what if Junior gets hungry?
"That's the whole idea," says Dietz, director of the
division of nutrition and physical activity at the CDC in Atlanta.
"Children need to learn the consequences of not eating -- then they'll make
healthy choices on their own."
What about Mom's advice to eat a morning bowl of cereal rather
than grabbing a donut on the run? Right on the money, according to research by
M. Rene Malinow, MD, a professor of medicine at Oregon Health Sciences
University in Portland.
"Fortified cereals are a good source of vitamins,"
Malinow tells WebMD, and they also may decrease levels of homocysteine, which
has been linked to increased risk of heart disease and stroke.
"Breakfast cereal fortified with folic acid is an
inexpensive and harmless way to decrease homocysteine," Malinow says. And
research suggests lowering homocysteine may help decrease the risk of heart
disease and stroke.