Constipation is a common problem in kids of all ages. Almost 1 out of 20 children is fighting with this. It is a condition when bowel movement becomes less frequent and stool becomes difficult to pass, which can cause pain and discomfort. food rich in fiber can help in constipation. Every child has different bowel patterns; some children have bowel movement 1 to 2 times a day, while other children go once in two to three days. Constipation is not just about how often your baby poops, but it’s also about how difficult it is for your baby to poop. As long as your child is healthy and passes normal stool without any pain or discomfort, having a bowel movement every third day is normal.
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What is Digestion & why is it important for overall health?
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 tract plays a vital role in our body, as it is responsible for absorbing nutrients and eliminating waste. Digestion means breaking down food into nutrients, which is further used by the body for energy, growth and cell repair. 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 bacteria. Symptoms of digestive problems include diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain, bloating, gas which negatively affects your child’s growth and development. In this article, you will learn about 6 best foods for digestion and constipation in kids.
Also check, How to boost immunity in kids?
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 (Which foods help to sleep well?)
- Reduced processed foods
What is constipation?
Constipation is a common problem in kids of all ages. Almost 1 out of 20 children is fighting with this. It is a condition when bowel movement becomes less frequent and stool becomes difficult to pass, which can cause pain and discomfort. Food rich in fiber can help in constipation. Every child has different bowel patterns; some children have bowel movement 1 to 2 times a day, while other children go once in two to three days. Constipation is not just about how often your baby poops, but it’s also about how difficult it is for your baby to poop (hard stool or hard potty). As long as your child is healthy and passes normal stool without any pain or discomfort, having a bowel movement every third day is normal.
Symptoms of constipation in babies:
- Less than three bowel movement per week
- Stool that is dry, hard and difficult to pass
- Crying during bowel movement
- Abdominal pain
- Loss of appetite
- Feeling of bloating or uncomfortable
- Holding behavior such as crossing legs, clenching teeth, refusing to sit on the toilet, turning red in the face
- Trace of liquid stool in your child’s underwear
- Blood on the surface of hard stool
6 Best foods for Digestion & Constipation in kids:
Almonds are one of the best foods for digestion as they are rich in vitamin E and fiber, which promotes digestive health by increasing good bacteria in the gut. Each one ounce of almonds contains 4 grams of fiber and is also packed with healthy fats and protein. Hence, almonds are one of the best foods for digestion. Kids having constipation is very common nowadays primarily due to the food choices being high in sugar and sodium. 50% of any quantity of Almond is just fibre which helps in relieving constipation.
Also check, What are some brain foods for kids?
Cashews are good source of fibre which aids in better digestion. Some research suggests that consuming whole, raw cashews benefits in weight loss too since only 70% fat of the nut is absorbed by the body and the rest is excreted with fibre. However excessive consumption may cause bloating.
Hazelnuts are high in vitamin E, protein, healthy fat and dietary fiber which supports healthy bowel movements and prevents constipation. One ounce of hazelnuts contains around 2.7grams of your daily requirement of fiber. Therefore, hazelnuts are one of the best foods for digestion.
Seeds like pumpkin, melon and sunflower are are also healthy foods for digestion. They are high in fat, mono and poly-unsaturated fats, Vitamin E, antioxidants, magnesium, zinc, potassium, and vitamin K. Pumpkin seeds solve dietary deficiencies, while sunflower and melon seeds boost metabolism and aids in digestion. Melon seeds are also a good source of zinc and it helps to boost our immunity, helps in digestion and overall growth and development. Sabja seeds and Chia seed benefits in treating digestion issues too, as both of them are high in fiber.
Since time immemorial, herbs like ashwagandha, mulethi, turmeric, shallaki, and brahmi have been shown to aid in various health benefits. Ashwagandha and Mulethi aid digestion and nutrition absorption and encourage the growth of healthy bacteria in the intestine. Brahmi and turmeric also helps to keep digestive issues at bay. Shallaki or Boswellia serrata has strong anti-inflammatory properties which helps to fight against inflammatory disorders of the digestive tract including Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis etc.
Antioxidants – Vitamin E and rosemary extract:
Antioxidants, such as vitamin E, help to keep cells healthy by fighting free radicals. Rosemary extract is high in iron, calcium, vitamins A, C, and B6, and is commonly used to treat digestive issues and a lack of appetite. Antioxidants can be found in a variety of foods, including vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and herbs and spices.
SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH ON INGREDIENTS FOR Proper Digestion:
Turmeric/Curcumin: There is proven scientific research that supports how turmeric helps to promote digestive disorders. Read here:
Licorice/Mulethi/ Glycyrrhiza glabra: Here you can read the scientific study on how licorice helps in digestive health.
Nuts: Scientific research shows that high fiber content in nuts helps to prevent constipation. Read here.
Foods to avoid
Refined sugar: Excess sugar intake could affect digestion and digestive system, especially those with irritable bowel syndrome. Moreover, sugar damages the protein in our body, resulting in ageing of organs, which further compromises immunity, growth and functioning. Greatest source of sugar in the average kid’s diet are sugary snacks and beverages like cookies, cakes, candies, fruit juice, soda, and sports drinks. Everything that the child picks up to eat today has strains of added sugar in some form or the other.
Preservatives: Preservatives are linked with many health issues like gut health and inflammatory bowel disorders. Most of the packaged food companies are adding artificial preservatives to delay spoilage and contamination in foods. Artificial preservatives such as nitrates, benzoates, sulfites, sorbates, parabens, formaldehyde, BHT, BHA and several others can cause serious health hazards such as hypersensitivity, allergy, asthma, hyperactivity, neurological damage.
Refined oil: The high temperature involved in the refining process removes all the natural and beneficial substances from the oil, which is not good for the digestive as well as respiratory health and ultimately affects your overall growth.
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