The stomach and small intestine are the primary sites for nutrient digestion and absorption. Gut plays an important role in keeping kids healthy, both physically and mentally. Kids’ gut health is vital for their overall well being as it influences many aspects of health including metabolism, immune system, nervous system and digestive tract. As a result, keeping a healthy gut is essential for optimal nutrient absorption and synthesis. So feeding gut healthy foods to kids is very important. Child gets his/ her gut microbiome (living bacteria in gut) at the time of birth and it is set up in early childhood. Children’s microbiome (living bacteria in the gut) remains flexible before the age of four or five. This is a good time to build a strong and healthy gut among them with the help of some gut healthy foods
The key nutrients absorbed in the gut are iron, protein, carbohydrates and fat. All these nutrients are essential for a kid’s overall growth and development. Most of the bacterias in our body are good for us. A healthy gut contains healthy bacteria that not only helps in proper digestion, but also fight with infectious disease causing bacteria, virus and fungi (bad bacteria). Kids’ gut health 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 kids’ gut health with healthy bacteria. According to a study, having good bacteria in the gut can improve immune system, hormones, depression and provide several other health benefits like healing, weight gain for kids. so always feed gut healthy foods to kids
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Signs of an unhealthy Gut
Here are some common problems that may occur due to unhealthy gut:
- If your child has symptoms such as gas bloating, diarrhea, constipation, heartburn and stomach ache, these can be a sign of an unhealthy gut
- Imbalance of gut bacteria can cause skin issues in both kids and adults. Skin conditions like eczema and dryness may occur due to an unhealthy gut. (Home remedies to solve allergy in kids)
- An unhealthy gut can also affect your sleep and leave you feeling tired during the entire day.
- 70-80% of immune cells are located in the gut (large intestine). If the gut health is not good it can impact the immunity of the person to a great extent.
Foods to avoid
Refined sugar: Sugar causes inflammation in the body which results in weaker immunity. 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: 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 gut health as well as respiratory health and ultimately affects your immunity.
7 proven gut healthy foods
1.Partially Hydrolyzed Guar gum:
Guar gum is a fiber made from guar bean or Indian cluster bean. It is used as a laxative that normalizes the moisture content of the stool, absorbing excess liquid in diarrhea, and softening the stool in constipation. Undoubtedly, it is one of the best gut-healthy foods.
While partially hydrolyzed guar gum is derived from guar gum by the process of enzymatic hydrolysis. PHGG is a water soluble dietary fiber and is used to regulate gut function. According to the study conducted by NIH, intake of PHGG improves human stool form by regulating intestinal microbiota. It has also been useful in treating Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) symptoms in both adults and kids.
Benefits of Guar gum
- Treating diarrhea/ constipation and IBS symptoms
- Lowering cholesterol
- Manages high blood pressure
- Control diabetes
- Weight loss
- Enhance Mineral absorption
2. Fructooligosaccharides (FOS):
Fructooligosaccharides (FOS) are composed of short fructose chains. They are a type of carbohydrate called oligosaccharides. FOS occurs naturally in many plants. They are prebiotic fibers that support the growth of healthy bacteria in the digestive tract. FOS is also a good source of soluble, dietary fiber and has been shown to reduce, or eliminate constipation.
3. Citric acid:
Citric acid is the weak organic acid found in the greatest amount in citrus fruits. We all have seen citric acid appear on the label of many products but don’t know exactly what citric acid is for our health. However the primary reason for including this in any packaged foods is for its tangy flavor. But apart from this citric acid is associated with many health benefits also:
- Citric acid helps to convert food into energy.
- It enhances calcium, phosphorus and Magnesium absorption through the gut.
- This also prevents calcium crystals or kidney stones from forming.
4. Orange extract:
Oranges are the food to boost immunity. They are not only nutritious and rich in Vitamin-C but also loved by kids. Just one orange can meet 100% vitamin C requirements for the kid’s daily nutrition. The pith (white after between peel and fruit) of orange has 30% fiber of the fruit and this particular fiber (called pectin) is good for the kid’s gut which builds immunity and supports digestion.
Stevia is one of the Alternatives of sugar made up of the leaves of a stevia plant, a kind of herb. It’s extremely sweet and safe in its natural form. It has no carbohydrates, calories or any artificial ingredients and a very low glycemic index, so does not spike your blood sugar level. Stevia in powder or liquid form is easily available.
The papaya fruit contains two enzymes, papain and chymopapain. They can help with digestion, reduce inflammation and also improve gut health. Zeaxanthin, an antioxidant found in papaya, filters out harmful blue light rays. Papaya is also high in fiber and water content, both of which help to prevent constipation and promote regularity and a healthy digestive tract. Also, it a good source of folate, vitamin A, magnesium, copper, B vitamins, alpha and beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin, vitamin E, calcium, potassium, vitamin K, and lycopene, and pantothenic acid.
Lemons are rich in Vitamin C and have a potential to reduce gut inflammation and boost the immune system. Lemons are high in a fiber called pectin, which is a prebiotic that assists good gut health by feeding healthy gut bacteria.
SCIENTIFICALLY PROVEN STUDIES CONDUCTED BY NIH
worried about the safety?
FOS or Fructooligosaccharide is a prebiotic fiber that is not digested in the Gastrointestinal (GI) tract and is used as a energy source by the gut bacteria. However, according to this study, FOS is both safe and beneficial to infants in terms of constipation and stool frequency.
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