Inside: Read to know why it’s necessary to focus on your child’s gut health and how you can identify if it needs attention. What kind of food items should be consumed to have a healthy gut system and how to have a seamless digestion process.
Adult or kid, gut health is very important for a healthy and seamless food digestion process. When it’s not maintained properly, it can cause chronic diseases and allergies in kids.
You might have heard this term quoted by your pediatrician when your child has come down with an illness.
He/She might have prescribed a probiotic supplement to cure their body and restart the system back to normal.
Let’s learn what gut health means and why we should take good care of it.
What Is Gut Health?
There are several microorganisms living in our gastrointestinal tract, stomach, and intestines. These good bacterias help our stomach carry the digestive process smoothly like a well-oiled machine. Remember that not all bacterias are bad and cause harmful effects in your body.
By gut health, we mean the maintenance and balance of these microbiomes in order to carry out the digestion process without any discomfort.
If we don’t take care of it, it can cause issues ranging from improper bowel movements, poor skin health, weight loss or gain, food intolerances, etc.
Hence it’s essential for us to support the growth of good bacteria and beware of the factors that can disturb their existence.
Some Examples Of Good Bacteria
- E Coli
- Streptomyces rhizobium
Foods That Spoil The Gut
Our children eat a lot every day from healthy items like fruits, vegetables to unhealthy chunks and junk. Following are the food substances that can help
- Gluten (Gluten is a protein substance that is present in wheat, barley, and other grains which offers zero nutrients)
- Citrus fruits
- Red meat
- Fried foods
In the case of adults, there are other lifestyle reasons like poor sleep, alcohol consumption, stress that affects the gut health.
Symptoms Of Poor Gut Health
Upon excessive consumption of these foods, your child’s gut health gets affected and starts showing symptoms. Following are some of the alarming symptoms of which you should be aware.
- Weight loss
- Pain in the lower stomach or abdomen area
- Loss of sleep
- Food allergies and intolerances
- Eating disorders
When you notice such symptoms persisting over a long time, make sure to check with your pediatrician once and follow their advice.
If you have found that their gut health is affected and the doctor has advised them to follow lifestyle and diet practices, follow the measures shared below.
How To Improve The Gut Health Of Your Children?
Here are the five ways in which you can improve your child’s gut health.
1. Dietary Fiber Is The Key
Microbiomes in our stomach thrive when there is a good flow of dietary fiber. They keep the microorganisms healthy and balanced in number.
Foods that are rich in soluble and insoluble fiber aids in smooth digestion and helps them to pass stool easily.
In order to improve gut health through increased fiber intake, aim for 15-20gms of fiber for kids younger than 5 and 25-30gms for the rest of the age group.
This also means more organic foods and less processed, junk foods.
This is the most natural way to heal your gut that’s also going to keep your body happy and light.
Foods That Are Rich In Fiber
Nuts and seeds, etc.
2. Include Probiotics
Probiotics are consumable, live microorganisms that can promote and support the growth of microorganisms that live in the gastrointestinal tract.
They also keep the bad bacteria that’s in your stomach away and helps you feel relieved. As the nutrients are better absorbed now, you will feel energetic and healthy too.
One of the common sources of probiotics is yogurt. Any other food item that is fermented overnight contains great amounts of probiotics that can fix your child’s gut.
Some examples are,
In many cases, healthcare practitioners are recommending probiotic supplements for kids and adults if they have found a depleting gut flora. If natural sources aren’t giving good results for your child, you can ask your healthcare provider to suggest a supplement for you.
3. Drink More Water
Kids have this tendency to drink very little water or sometimes no hydration at all. This can affect their digestive health a lot and make stool passing an unpleasant experience.
Absorption of nutrients from the consumed food also gets jammed as the intestine needs water to digest and starts absorbing water from the food waste that’s digested already.
Even if you are giving them a good amount of fiber and probiotics, missing this step will mess up everything.
And that’s why taking care of their hydration becomes necessary. You can try the following with your kids.
- Keep track of their water intake through apps or alarms.
- Getting them attractive water bottles with measurements
- Swapping water with coconut water, watermelon juice, fruit infused water, milk etc.
- Give them badges if they drink 6 to 8 glasses of water everyday.
4. More Play And Fewer Gadgets Time
I have observed this at my home. As my children grow older, they prefer spending more time on activities, book reading, and painting than playing outside. Lack of physical activities is becoming very common with kids these days.
For good and happy gut health, studies suggest having an active lifestyle that includes 30 minutes to 1 hour of any bodily activity.
Therefore, we need to encourage our children to play in the garden or park for a defined time period.
They can involve themselves in sports like soccer, badminton, basketball too.
When the body is active, the work of the digestive system becomes smooth and active too leaving the body energized.
5. Say No To Candies, Sweets And Confectioneries
Honestly, this is the weakness of all of us. When our child is asking for some yummy snacks in a melting way, we don’t think again and yield to their requests.
Along with affecting their body, teeth, and immunity, it plays a hard role in bringing down their gut health too.
Here is how this vicious cycle goes. They eat these processed sugar goods which can kill/reduce the number of good bacteria in their stomach. This reduction in their number contributes to sugar cravings and they ask for more. And the cycle goes on.
The bad bacteria that live in their stomach feeds on these sugar and causes discomforts as well.
Say no to sugar goods and switch to natural sources of sweeteners like honey or fruits.
Read this article to know how to reduce sugar consumption in your children.
A healthy digestive system and gut survival is something that often goes for a toss when we focus on bringing up kids in a healthy yet convenient way. As the consequences of this imbalance are manageable, we don’t pay better attention to it.
But in the long run, this affects their overall system and modifies their eating and bowel patterns as well.
That being said, we should pay heed to what their body says and how their digestive and gastrointestinal health is and do the necessary.