Digestive food for kids


Digestive health is important for both adults as well as growing children. It plays a big role in children’s overall wellbeing. A child’s digestive system consists of parts of the body working together to change the food and liquids we eat and drink, into the fuel and building blocks our bodies need. Digestion, the process of breaking down food, may take several hours to a few days, depending on what you eat. Actually, your baby doesn’t really need his digestive system until after he’s born because all the nutrients he needs to grow and develop in the womb are delivered directly into his bloodstream through the placenta. Each body part in the digestive system: mouth, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, pancreas, liver, gallbladder, large intestine, colon and rectum, plays an important role in digestion. Anything that enters your baby’s mouth makes its way into her gastrointestinal tract, which is not yet ready to fight off bacteria and other pathogens.

A child has trillions of bacteria making up their digestive system (also called the digestive microbiota) from a very young age. These bacteria not only help in processing food but also help in maintaining homeostasis and overall well-being for the child. In the first six months, your baby’s digestive system will undergo enormous change as it develops the ability to produce enzymes to digest food and antibodies to protect itself. Digestion is a biological process by which the complex molecules of food substances are broken down into simple ones so that valuable nutrients present in them can readily get absorbed into the body.

Processed food in the mouth, ready to be swallowed, is called a bolus (BO-luss). The bolus will pass into the back of the throat, and on to the second part of the digestive tract, the esophagus. Your baby’s stomach and esophagus start to form at about 7 weeks of pregnancy. The esophagus is the tube that moves food from your baby’s mouth to his stomach.

Boosting Immunity & Preventing Allergies 

Healthy bacteria in the child’s digestive system helps in controlling the immune system, determining things including allergic reaction to any food and how effectively to fight off the infection-causing virus. Studies have indicated the relationship between digestive bacteria and immunity. The interactions between the digestive system and the bacteria that are found in our intestines help control how our body responds to illness. Good digestive health(gut health)from an early age leads to good immunity for the child.

Foods that Can Boost Gut Health

There’s a very simple formula for building a healthy digestive system: fiber, fluid, and exercise.
Following food types can boost your child’s digestive health. Read here.

1. Dietary fiber:

Let’s start with fiber. The fibers provide healthy bacteria and help in improving Digestive Health. No need to count fiber grams as long as the child is getting at least five servings of fruits and vegetables a day and other fiber-rich foods including cereals. Most dietitians consider a food high in fiber if it contains at least 3-5 grams per serving. If you’re an adult, you might be able to get that by sprinkling bran flakes on your morning yogurt, but that’s not likely to appeal to a 5-year-old.

The best sources of dietary fiber include: fruits (keep the skin on where appropriate)like apples, vegetables (especially dark green), beans, dals, millets (ragi, bajra, jowar) starchy vegetables, whole wheat bread and cereals and nuts and seeds (almonds, cashew, walnuts, flax seeds, sunflower or pumpkin seeds, baked potato and yogurt, refined white foods like sugar, white rice and white breads.

“Some children are very sensitive to excessive dairy intake; you may try limiting that to help with bowel regulation”

2. Fermented foods:

Such as Kefir, Probiotic added yogurt or home-made dahi are full of probiotics, which promote digestive health as they contain healthy bacteria. Plus, a wide variety of traditional fermented foods, like, Idli, Dosa, help to replenish the microflora of the digestive tract. These become even more important in today’s times when antibiotics are frequently prescribed for children, which harm the Digestive health of a child.

3. Plenty of fluids:

It can be easy to get so focused on fiber for digestive health that you forget about the other component your child needs to take in: plenty of fluids. Children should be getting the majority of their fluids from water. It just makes matters worse. So you need to make sure that your child is drinking plenty of water, plus some milk, during the day. However, at a time when our body is already weak and fighting an infection, the last thing we need is to deprive it of water.

Keeping the body hydrated is essential, even before catching an infection. The kidneys have a feedback mechanism that makes us feel thirsty when water levels have dropped. Paying heed to these signals from our body is the best way to maintain balance and ensure a speedy recovery when you fall ill. So it is good to keep the liquids away while having meals. Also, you can drink 15-20 minutes prior to your meal or approximately 40-45 minutes after your meal. This way the food will be digested properly and will make your digestive system strong.

4. Eat after every two minutes:

Kids are least bothered about their meals and meal timings. Sometimes they get busy in playing or in watching TV that they forget to eat or refuse to eat. This habit again can create problems in a digestive system. They should eat regular or small of food every couple of hours so that the food gets digested properly, instead of three big meals which may not get digested properly.

Food is anything which they like and this can be a burger to a pizza or any processed food. This kind of food is not good for health and can create digestion issues. A healthy Gut helps in regulating metabolism and thereby prevents weight gain keeping the digestive system healthy from a young age keeps metabolic functioning normal and healthy. This, in turn, helps in maintaining a healthy weight and in keeping diseases like Diabetes and cardiac disorders at bay.

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