According to the Map of Digestive Orders and Diseases, millions of children across the globe suffer from digestive or gastrointestinal issues. This is due to a myriad of variables. Some of the most common reasons behind such health issues are economic status, parental absenteeism, and low parental sensibility.
Suffice it to say, such health woes bring great physical suffering to young children. Unfortunately, though, pain is not the only negative impact of having digestive issues. With young children, this can lead to an aversion to food and the act of eating itself.
Additionally, frequently suffering from digestive problems could mean missing school often. This can place children in an academically difficult position, which can completely alter their disposition about schooling. These only go to show how crucial it is for parents and carers to be “present” and to pay closer attention to children's stomach health.
Pay Attention to the Gut
When it comes to stomach health, one of the leading areas of concern is the condition of the gut. An unhealthy gut spawns a variety of issues for young children. It can cause both diarrhoea and constipation, allergic reactions, persistent stomach pain, flatulence, sleep difficulties, and skin sensitivities.
Promoting gut health for young children is not that difficult, though. Follow the tips shared below.
1. Serve children's food in the right portions
Overeating is one of the leading causes of gut problems among very young children, and more so for children with pervasive developmental disorders. It is easily preventable, though.
The best way to ensure that your little ones do not overeat is to prepare all their meals and snacks in the recommended proportions. Invest in small containers to make it easier to carefully measure food and treats. This way, an empty bag or container can serve as a clear signal for children to stop eating.
2. Stock up on probiotics
There are probiotic products for children that you can buy to improve gut health. Probiotics, essentially, are live bacteria and yeasts that support the digestive system. Not only that, but they are also known to boost the immune system as well and double as diarrhoea medicine.
Probiotics are present in a lot of fermented foods such as kimchi and sauerkraut. It is also present in yogurt and may come in capsule form, which is a good option for children who are quite picky with food.
3. Amp up your kids' fibre intake
Fiber is present in most leafy vegetables. The kids can also get it from rice treats, nuts, and seeds. There are a lot of fruits that are loaded with fiber as well.
Upping your children's intake of fibrous food will do wonders for your little ones' gut health. According to health journals, fiber is the fuel for colon cells. It helps all the waste in the colon to be eliminated from the body regularly. At the same time, fiber snags toxins in the digestive system — meaning it does not only function like fuel, but it also acts as a sweeper.
4. Encourage physical activity
Anytime your children experience trouble voiding, get them moving. Encourage them to play or exercise because this will stimulate the body to release happy hormones such as endorphins.
What endorphins do is they counteract the activity of stress hormones, cortisol, and adrenalin, which tend to disturb the gut.
5. Provide ample time for meals
Avoid hurrying the little ones when they are eating. Chances are, they will not chew their food properly. This will send stomach enzymes on overdrive just to break down food completely. And, even with these enzymes doing their job, food that's not digested properly can place a lot of pressure on the gut.
Your children may complain of a tummy ache and experience trouble voiding the following day if they were forced to speed through their meals. So, make sure that mealtimes are as leisurely as possible for the entire family. Side tip: Cut your kids' food into small chunks to make everything easier to chew.
6. Up your kids' water intake
Water may be devoid of nutrients, but it serves as a lubricant for the digestive system. Everything that needs to pass through your body will move more easily because of it. By staying hydrated, your kids can avoid developing UTI (urinary tract infection) and, of course, constipation.
7. Replace processed meats with salmon and other omega-3-rich fatty fish.
Omega 3-rich foods such as fatty fish support good bacteria in the gut. Plus, they are much easier to digest than red or processed meats. This change in the diet will automatically do wonders in your little ones' digestive health.
Healthy Gut = Happier Children
You can trust that freedom from digestive and gut issues will improve your children's quality of life — no more pain and all the other discomforts that prevent them from having fun with other kids.
So, the moment you see any sign of a digestive problem in your children, implement the tips listed above. They are all effective. But, if the problem persists, take the kids to the doctor right away to get a proper diagnosis.
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