Children’s digestive system and how to take care of it
How to take care of your child’s digestive system.
Food works as fuel for our bodies, the nutrients in the food gives us energy so that to our body parts can work properly. The digestive process starts before we even taste food, just by smelling the food your saliva start oozing out and the digestive process begins(saliva contains digestive enzymes and it moistens the food for easy swallowing). Digestive system helps convert the food we eat into energy by breaking it into small parts that the body can absorb its nutrients (including carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, and minerals) and remove the waste products from it. Our digestive system is like a long tube of organs inside the body, where food enters mouth, passes through that tube, and exits through the anus as feces (poop). It includes the body parts like mouth, esophagus, stomach, small and large intestines, liver, pancreas, gallbladder and rectum.
Children’s digest system is like a new machine; if it is taken care of, it will work smoothly for lifetime. If not taken care of, your children may suffer from digestive issues, diarrhea, obesity, inflammation, gas and infections. Digestive system is mostly affected by unhealthy lifestyle and food habits. If this continues your children may face many chronic diseases in their adulthood. Children cannot take care of their digestive system on their own. They depend on their parents, to maintain their lifestyle and food habits and keep their digestive systems tuned. Find below how to take care of your children’s digestive system.
How to take care of your child’s digestive system.
A very simple idea for building and maintaining a healthy digestive system for your children is fiber, fluid, and exercise.
Encourage your children to do more physical activities instead of playing computer games or watching TV. Make sure your children are physically active for at least 60 to 90 minutes per day. This doesn’t need to be a continues process, 30 minutes in morning and 30 minutes in the evening will do the work. Any physical activity that increases their breathing and heart rate is good for their digestion. It helps stimulate the intestinal muscles and food to move more efficiently through the intestines. It will help your children to maintain a healthy weight. However, don’t let them do any heavy physical activity or exercises immediately after the meal.
A balanced and healthy diet is most important for children’s digestive system and overall health. A balanced diet should contain carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals and fiber.
Fiber-rich foods help soften stool and preventing constipation. Fiber reduces the symptoms of digestive disorders such as hemorrhoids and irritable bowel syndrome. Whole grains, apples, oranges, bananas, berries, prunes, green peas, almonds and legumes like dried beans, split peas, lentils, etc are some of the best sources of dietary fiber.
Teach children to chew properly whatever they eat. As saliva has enzymes that helps in breaking down the food, and the process of chewing prepares the body to receive food. When we chew food the stomach and pancreas start to secrete enzymes that will aid the digestive process. It also helps to avoid swallowing air with food, which may cause gas and bloating. Don’t let your child overeat, big meals are not digested properly and disturbs the digestive system. You should maintain a strict meal routine for your children, the time between the meals allow the digestive organs some rest. Strict meal routine will make your children’s digestive system work like a clock.
Limit your children’s fat, sugar and salt intake. It may result in short term problems like indigestion and diarrhea and long term problems like diabetes and hypertension. Avoid foods such as chips, bakery products, cakes, pastries, fries, sodas and packed fruit juices. Children’s body don’t need them and they also have other harmful ingredients like preservatives and food coloring. Use the cooking method that uses less or no oil at all such as bake, boil, steam etc.
Get your children to have prebiotics and probiotics in their diet. Your children’s intestines are filled with bacteria, some are good and some are bad. It is very important maintain the balance of good and bad bacteria. To maintain this balance, give them probiotic and prebiotic. Probiotics are the good bacteria and prebiotic is the food for good bacteria. Probiotic helps stimulate the natural enzymes and digestive processes that keep the organs functioning properly. Probiotics can be found in yogurt, pickles, cheese dark chocolates, apple, soy milk, olive and other fermented dairy products. One can also take probiotic supplements available in the market, ask your children’s doctor, to prescribe one for them. Prebiotics, which are the food for good bacteria and makes them healthy, can be found in whole grains, oatmeal, bananas, legumes, onions, garlic and honey.
Make your children drink plenty of water. It helps keeping the stool lubricated to let it travel through to intestines more easily. Drinking plenty of water helps your body eliminate toxins through your sweat, tears, and urine. Make sure that your children are drinking pure, filtered water from a safe source. More on water here
Reduce your exposure of toxins around your children.
Children are more vulnerable to toxicants and their effects than adults because they’re still in the developing stage from both inside and outside. Toxicants are everywhere, from the air they breathe to the food they eat and the toys they play with.
Toxicants in plastic.
Plastic is the main culprit because of the toxic named Bisphenol A (BPA) present in it. It is a substance which interferes with the production, secretion, transport, action, function and elimination of natural hormones. These days the toys and even the utensils we use to feed our children are made of plastic. Children usually put the toys in their mouth, due to the high level of toxicants in it; plastic toys and utensils can be very harmful. Children’s bodies are always in the state of growth, and their body requires more nutrients to maintain this growth. Their digestive system absorbs more nutrients than adults. When the toxicants enter children’s bodies, they get absorbed along with the good stuff. Toxics can destroy the overall health of your child starting from damaging the digestive system and even cancer in the long term. Don’t use plastic utensils to reheat or store food and buy BPA free products only.
Toxicants in food
Yes the toxicants are present in the certain food we eat, these are as harmful as any other bacteria. Main source of toxicants in food are pesticides, artificial food colors, flavors, odors, artificial Sugar/sweetener, aluminum cookware, processed foods, foods with preservatives, refined flour/oil, polished grains and many such. Always understand the source of the packed food you buy. Choose whole foods instead of processed or canned foods. Prefer pesticide-free organic foods, it is mostly free from toxicants.
Don’t let your children be stressed about anything
Digestive system is controlled by our central nervous system. Stress can activate “fight or flight” response in your children’s body, which can shut down the blood flow that leads to contractions of their digestive muscles, and decreases stomach acid production needed for digestion. What goes on your children mind can effect digestion so much that even talking about unpleasant things during the meal can harm their digestion. Read more about stress here.
This also goes the other way around, studies have proved that if your children’s digestive system is poor or if they are having an upset stomach it will affect their thoughts and their decision making power. They will have all negative thoughts, be cranky, show aggression, stress level increases and they make all wrong decisions. Thus, a simple digestion problem may be life changing for them and you too.
Bad digestion is the root of all evil that may happen to your children in the future. There are many things your children will gain when they become adult, whether it is work, life goals or love, with good digestion it will all be turned to health and wealth.