Children aged between 3-11 years are still in their developmental stages. Most of their internal body systems are undergoing development, and it is critical to ensure that they have all the nourishment they need to achieve proper development. The health of your kid’s digestive system says a lot about their internal body health. Therefore, pay attention to your child when they complain of digestive problems. If ignored, these problems may lead to more complicated issues, including behavioral changes and challenges during potty training.
The Importance of Good Gut Health
The gut comprises all organs involved in the digestion of food, from the mouth to the rectum. The system contains several essential micro-organisms or bacteria that help in the digestion process, maintaining a healthy ecosystem within the digestive system.
A child is born with a bacteria-free gut, and the intestinal bacteria start growing following birth. Several factors affect the development of these bacteria. They include the use of antibiotics, nutrition and diet, and exposure to disease-causing micro-organisms. At three years old, a kid will have a gut microbiome that resembles an adult’s. It will remain so for the rest of their lives.
Children do not understand the importance of maintaining food hygiene. That’s why they will eat food without really thinking about hygiene and sanitation. That leads to an unhealthy gut, usually characterized by stomach aches and tummy problems, such as vomiting, diarrhea, fussy eating, and constipation.
That said, it is critical to ensure that your child’s gut is healthy from the time they are born. We have a list of some practical and effective ways of maintaining a healthy gut in your kids based on several studies and research.
Nourish the Gut Microbiota
As mentioned before, the digestive tract depends on some essential bacteria to digest various kinds of foods. These micro-organisms are called the gut microbiota. They thrive when there is sufficient dietary fiber and carbohydrates. When they are starved, they begin to feed on the host’s gut.
When starved, the bacteria first eat the mucus lining the inner walls of the tract. When they get to the small intestines’ inner walls, they cause tissue inflammation that can cause several immunity problems, such as asthma and inflammatory bowel disease. You can prevent your child from going through such digestion issues by including vegetables, fruits, cereals, nuts, and legumes in their diet. These provide adequate nutrients for microbiota [microbiome] to thrive.
We have heard people advising parents that they should ensure that they [children] are fed because they are still growing. That’s true, but for a healthy gut in your kid, have a limit to the amount of food they consume. Children need to eat proper food portions to give the body the needed fats, proteins, carbs, and vitamins. That said, you need to understand your child’s dietary and overall health needs because a portion or diet that works for one child may not work for another.
Monitor your kid’s diet and eating habits to ensure that they get enough food, but do not let them overeat. It leads to digestive issues because the gut will not be able to handle it.
Feed them the Bacteria Itself
Most people consume live bacteria [that’s good for the gut] without really knowing it. Examples of foods that contain such essential micro-bacteria include yogurts. The microbiome found in yogurt helps alleviate illnesses like pesky gastrointestinal infections.
Other sources of edible bacteria include fermented dairy milk and probiotics like Sproutedbiome. Although this may not particularly go well with children, you can take time to shop around for some kid-friendly options. You need to be selective when shopping for yogurt products because they have a high sugar content and salad dressings that do not contain live culture [or bacteria].
The best alternative is unsweetened yogurt. While your kid might prefer the sweet yogurt to a bland taste, you can add a teaspoon of maple syrup. You can then reduce the amount gradually so that they adapt to low sugar content.
Drink Plenty of Fluids
Humans [especially children] need to drink a lot of fluids to stay dehydrated. Water helps in digestion and eliminating body wastes. Kids also require water to aid in cell development. Parents in hot climates, such as the Sunshine States of the South, should ensure that their children drink fluids at the right times. Milk is also an essential food that helps children with their digestive systems.
A child requires a balanced diet to maintain good health. Without a healthy gut, they cannot eat. Therefore, you need first to ensure that they have a healthy digestive system then provide the diet they need. By doing so, you also prevent various digestive issues that can lead to more complicated health problems.
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