How to Improve Digestion in Your Child
by MedPlus Team, December 2, 2020
A healthy gut comprises essential bacteria and immune cells. Immune cells are crucial as they fight against infectious entities such as viruses, bacteria, fungi; and naturally, protect us from infections and diseases. A healthy gut further communicates with the brain through nerves and hormones which helps maintain overall health and general well-being. As adults, we have awareness and have things in our control. On the other hand, children need special care and extra attention from our end to ensure that their gut health is on track. Keep reading on further down, to find some simple ways to improve your child’s gut health naturally. Before that, here are some basic symptoms of gut health problems:
a) Abdominal pain
c) Loose stools
The above symptoms of indigestion may not always be dangerous and may be temporary in many cases. But when they persist for long, it could be a hint towards a more severe problem related to gut health and must not be ignored. Severe signs and symptoms include secretion of blood in the stool, black stool, unexplained weight loss, severe vomiting, high fever, bad stomachaches, pain and trouble in the throat while swallowing, jaundice, and more. If you note any of these, it could be an indication of an underlying gastrointestinal problem that could come with its set of consequences. In such a case, you are strongly recommended to seek medical attention.
Improve your child’s gut health naturally with these simple ways:
1. Controlled Feeding:
Babies must be fed just enough to fill their stomachs – overfeeding will only negatively affect their digestive systems which need to be avoided. Sometimes, we tend to feed our babies a lot of food thinking they need it because of their growing age. But this isn’t really true. Babies require the right types of foods in the right quantities. Portions may vary across all children depending on various factors. It’s on parents, to figure the right portion for our child – to ensure they aren’t staying hungry.
2. Go Fibre-Rich:
It is widely known that fibers are beneficial for healthy digestion – and this is important for all age groups. ‘An apple a day keeps the doctor away’, it is said. This is not only true for apples but also stands true for berries, nuts, beans, citrus fruits, and plenty of other foods that are rich in fibers. Feed your child with sufficient fibers on daily basis, to make sure their gut health is okay.
3. Say Yes to Bacteria:
This means eating foods like yogurt or even miso. Recently, plenty of products have been popping up promoting good bacteria – like kefir. You can even make them at home. Promote healthy bacteria in the body with exercising. A happy mind and body automatically produces good bacteria and keeps an eye on gut health.
4. Other Gut-Friendly Foods:
Who doesn’t recommend fresh fruits and vegetables? Their numerous health benefits are an excellent choice of food for all age groups, for all health conditions. Chicken, fish are good choices as compared to red meat. Charring meats are believed to increase the risk of stomach and colon cancer thus avoid giving them to your child in excess. As far as adults are concerned – caffeine and alcohol, fried foods, fatty foods are some other foods that must be avoided to control symptoms of acid reflux. Nuts, seeds, and legumes like beans and lentils are excellent sources of both protein and fiber.
Tip: No matter what your child eats, make sure he/she chews the food well before swallowing. Well-chewed food is easily digestible and keeps the gut healthy. Explicitly and constantly remind your child to eat slowly and chew well
5. Foods to Avoid:
Oh, how tempting it is to just let the kids go wild with a fast food meal. They will be really happy with you for days and they will probably get all their homework done on time, but this will be done at the expense of their gut health. If they are already suffering from digestive problems, putting more processed food in their bodies will only make things worse.
6. Lots of Fluids:
One of the prime causes of indigestion/constipation is a low water intake. Keep your child fully hydrated all through the day. Give her enough water, milk, fresh home-made juices, and other liquids — liquids help to keep the bowel movement smooth and clean.
7. Exercise and Play:
Exercising releases endorphins which helps relieve stress thus leading to improved gut health. If not for outside, make sure your child plays around enough inside the house. This ensures natural exercise if not for an official exercise routine. However, there is nothing as good as having a fixed exercise routine for your child to practice regularly. This not only focuses on a healthy gut but also benefits in other health-related aspects. Early morning hours are the best hours to allow kids to play outside since they can also absorb essential vitamin D which is good for the bones, calcium levels, skin, and hair.
8. Adequate Sleep:
Gut health is also dependent on sufficient, quality sleep. It is often noted how people with poor sleeping patterns and disturbed sleep cycles suffer from nausea, bloating, constipation, and other digestive concerns. Hence, make sure your child gets an average of 8-hour sleep every night which will keep him/her up on the feet. Hence, we see that food choices and lifestyle play a great role in maintaining a healthy gut system. Keep note and track of the foods you eat and try linking them with the days you experience any symptoms related to gut health problems. If you find any possible linkage between the negative symptoms and some of the food(s), avoid having them to see any difference. In general, fried foods, alcohol, caffeine are not suggested for a healthy gut in the long run.
Additional Tip: avoid popping antibiotics for minor conditions like bad throat, cold, etc. Take them only if absolutely required and suggested by medical experts, because antibiotics do not treat viral infections anyway. Also, they wash out both the bad as well as good germs in the gut which may lead to an issue in the gut.