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Food & Health

Is Your Child Hitting Puberty Too Soon?

‘My baby is growing up way too fast’ is quickly becoming more than a mere figure of speech – early puberty, also known as precocious puberty, has become a serious concern for most parents.

The problem lies beyond shavers and sanitary pads – an earlier growth spurt can stunt overall growth and the hormonal change can result in sexual maturity that an immature mind can’t handle. The heightened concerns about body image can result in depression and eating disorders as they struggle with adapting to new bodies that differ from their peers. While there are no guaranteed methods to prevent early onset puberty, there are a few precautionary measures you can take.

1. Exercise

Active children tend to hit puberty later because exercising produces melatonin which serves as a biological clock, telling the body that it isn’t time for puberty. Maintaining a healthy BMI through regular exercise slows down the maturing process which requires specific weight and fat distribution. Fat cells are known to stimulate the production of follicle stimulating hormones and luteinising hormones that maintain reproductive functions in both sexes. In fact, it’s been proven that obese children exhibited earlier pubertal development.

2. Sugar rationing

During puberty, children tend to develop insulin resistance which the body easily combats by producing more of it. Excessive sugar intake can trigger the same resistance as a protective mechanism which can result in precocious puberty. Reduce sugar consumption by replacing artificial drinks with fresh fruit juice and ice cream with homemade fruit/yogurt popsicles.

3. Increase sources of protein and calcium

Do the additional hormones injected into animals affect us at all? Scientists have been trying to prove the correlation for years with no definite answer. Regardless, meats and milks all naturally contain estrogen and testosterone, so it is not possible to cut them out completely. While soy is the first calcium and protein substitute that comes to mind, too much of it has been proven to trigger early onset puberty, menstrual cramps and cause infertility. Instead of completely eliminating meat, soy or milk, it is recommended to draw protein and calcium from various sources – alternate between meat, greens, milk and soy.

4. Keep away from synthetic chemicals

Environmental endocrine disruptors (EDC) have been proven to break down into chemicals similar to estrogen – it facilitates the development of typical female characteristics like breasts, wider hips and pubic hair. Ideally, eating organically can eliminate pesticide and herbicide consumption. However, a pocket friendlier way is as simple as eating less processed foods – avoid eating out of plastics and aluminium cans.

5. Switch to natural household products

Particularly when you have a crawling and teething baby, cleaning agents play an important role in early prevention against precocious puberty – clean toys with vinegar and lemon juice instead. Every day necessities that contain toxins can build up to cause bigger problems eventually, remember to use soaps that are paraben and sulphate free! Studies on precocious puberty date back to the 1990’s, stating various factors that contribute to this problem. At the rate our world is developing, it is likely that our bodies are simply finding a way to cope with newly introduced chemicals and preservatives.

Share with us your tips and advice against early onset puberty in the comments below! 

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