Child’s gut is responsible for the child’s overall health and is connected to the child’s immune system, mood, mental health and body functioning. Most of the diseases emerge in the gut, which is a component of a child’s digestive system. Digestive track plays a vital role in our body, as it is responsible for absorbing nutrients and eliminating waste. Digestion is important for breaking down food into nutrients, which is further used by the body for energy, growth and cell repair. The digestive system of kids says a lot about their internal health. If you want to set your child up for a lifetime of good health, it is essential to flourish the child’s digestive system with healthy bacterias. Digestive disorders can affect your child’s growth and development. By recognising symptoms early, you can help your child lead a healthy life.
Symptoms of Digestive Disorders in kids:
Stomach pain: Stomach pain is common in children. It can be caused by a variety of reasons such as eating too much, needing to go to the washroom or stress about an upcoming event. However, if your child complains of stomach pain frequently, it can be a matter of concern. The most common causes of stomach pain in children include indigestion, infection, appendicitis (causes acute or sudden pain) (How to correctly identify stomach pain?)
Vomiting: There can be different reasons why a kid throws up. Some of them are viral infections, motion sickness, food poisoning, fever, or coughing. They can also vomit because of concerns such as meningitis, appendicitis and intestinal blockages. If your child vomited more than once and there is blood or bile (green or yellow coloured liquid) in vomit, call your doctor. (Some easy home remedies to fix coughing)
Diarrhea: Diarrhea could be a result of the body’s inability to absorb foods. It may last 1 or 2 days and go away on its own. However, if it lasts for more than 2 days, it’s a matter of worry. Diarrhea may be caused by a bacterial infection, viral infection, parasites that enter through food or water, and reaction to medicines.
Problem with appetite: Digestive issues may lead to children losing their appetite. A loss of appetite is often temporary, and the appetite will come back once the child has recovered.
Bloating in the belly: Gas is the most common cause of bloating. When kids eat or drink too fast or chew gum, they might swallow extra air that causes gas. It can trigger stomach pain. Bloating could also be a sign of several GI (gastrointestinal) disorders, like food intolerance or any celiac disease (an immune reaction to eating gluten). GI diseases mainly occur in the oesophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine and rectum.
Eating processed and packaged food is a common phenomenon nowadays. Children who consume a lot of refined and processed foods in their regular lifestyle, have a higher chance of developing obesity. Such foods are high in sodium and added sugar and lack fiber resulting in poor digestion among children. Fiber is essential to bind with bile and support daily digestion. Lack of fiber directly hampers the digestive system of process kids. This often results in abdominal cramps, bloating, irritable mood, reduced immunity and weight gain. It can also have serious consequences on the intestine health in the long run. You can easily prevent digestive disorders and improve the digestive system of kids by making little changes in their diet. (How does sugar impact the body?)
Preventive measures to improve the digestive system of kids:
- Introducing small meals
- Chewing food slowly and carefully
- Fibre rich seasonal fruits and vegetables
- Intake of plenty of water to cleanse child’s digestive system
- Enough sleep helps to rejuvenate the child’s digestive system
- Reduced processed foods
Best food for Digestion problems:
Yogurt: Yogurt naturally contains lots of probiotics that strengthen the digestive tract. Probiotics are often called good bacteria which help to improve gut health. It helps to regulate the child’s digestive system and decrease bloating, diarrhea, constipation. Some research suggests that it can boost the immune system by enhancing absorption of vitamins and minerals. Having better bacterias in the system can conquer the number of bad bacterias, thereby maintaining good health. (Some easy probiotics for kids)
Saunf (Fennel) seeds: Fennel seed is a very effective aid for a healthy digestive system of kids as well as adults. It relaxes muscles in the intestine, which can help relieve constipation. The main component that gives fennel seeds these beneficial effects is Anethole. It can help to smooth and relax muscles of the gastrointestinal system, thereby reducing gas, bloating and stomach cramps. (Other seeds that can help with Protein)
Papaya: Papaya contains an enzyme papain that aids digestion. It is also high in fiber and water content. This quality helps to prevent constipation and promote regularity and a healthy digestive system of kids. (Fruits that are great for kids and teens)
Banana: Banana is one of the best foods that can help to improve the child’s digestive system. The whole plant is beneficial for the body since it has both probiotic (bacteria) and prebiotic (food for bacteria) fibers. The fruit is gentle enough to be eaten if you are suffering from stomach issues, like vomiting, loose motion and it restores lost electrolytes back into the body. (How to use banana stem in food?)
Moong Dal (Mung bean): It is best to consume this bean every day since it’s loaded with necessary prebiotic fiber. This fiber reaches the gut without getting digested and becomes the food of the bacteria living there. Once the bean sprouts, it has the essential probiotics (bacterias) also which further enhance the health of the gut. The fatty acid present in the bean known as butyrate, is also beneficial for intestinal walls. These have anti-inflammatory properties that help in preventing accumulation of gas and improving a child’s digestive system. (How to prepare mung bean meals?)
Recipe for Spinach Mung Bean wrap:
- 1 cup whole mung bean (soak overnight) and blend/purée with spinach leaves (boiled or not) and enough water to make pancake like (not too runny) batter (Benefit of soaking?)
- Or can use sprouted mung bean and follow the same procedure.
- Add salt, pepper and carrom seeds (optional)
- Spread on hot iron/ non-stick pan (add drops of oil to cook). Covering the wrap helps to cook faster and better. Flip to cook on other side.
- Take off the pan and serve with sauce (recipes of healthy spreads)
- Stuff and roll with cheese, lettuce or salad leaves, grated carrot, mashed avocado, sliced tomato, cabbage and/ or other veggies
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