Food is the primary source of energy for humans, and a balanced diet helps humans get all the nutrients that they require. But it is the digestive system that ensures that these minerals get to the right place.
Research has highlighted that good digestive health can positively impact all areas of a child’s health. It helps to sustain the immune system, aid growth, provide energy to muscles, and promote good mental health. In today’s post, we will take a look at the importance of your child’s digestive health and things you can do at home to support it.
What is the Digestive System?
The digestive system starts working the moment food enters the mouth. As food passes through the body, the various parts begin processing the food to access the nutrients the body needs. Once the food has been broken down, waste will enter the intestines and proceed downward.
The digestive system is highly complex and involves numerous organs working together. The digestive system consists of:
- Salivary glands
- Gall Bladder
- Large Intestine
- Small Intestine
A fully functioning digestive system can help the emotional and physical development of a child. However, when problems occur, it can have a significant impact on their lives, with research linking poor digestive health to obesity, diabetes, and mental health disorders.
We will now take a closer look at some of the things parents can do to promote good digestive health in kids.
Make a Positive Impact from Day One
Breastfeeding can really help to support the digestive health of your newborn, as breastmilk passes on lots of healthy bacteria.
As your child gets a little older, you should act as a positive role model by modeling how tasty fruits and vegetables are. You can play around with different colors and textures of foods on their plates as well.
A Balanced Diet Makes a Happy Gut
Making sure that your child has a balanced diet ensures that they get all the nutrients they require. Try to introduce lots of different fruits and vegetables at an early age, as they contain high levels of fiber and other gut-friendly nutrients.
Other foods that are good for the gut include yogurt, whole grains, beans, nuts, peas, and low-fat cheeses. Also, make sure that your child is always well-hydrated, as this really helps digestion. Lots of water, fresh juice, and tea are good, while processed fruit juices and sodas should be avoided.
Be Careful with Antibiotics
If your child gets a severe bacterial infection, they may have to take a course of antibiotics. Unfortunately, antibiotics can wipe out healthy bacteria, so you should either give them a probiotic or add additional fermented or plant-based foods to their diets.
Avoid Processed Foods
Kids love sweet and salty treats, but they can wreak havoc on their gut. When a child has too much sugar, this can affect the balance of bacteria in the gut and may lead to an overgrowth of harmful bacteria, which can lead to stomach problems.
Lots of Exercises
Playing sports or doing any form of exercise is excellent for digestive health, as it helps to get the food moving down the gastrointestinal tract. It is also a great way to regulate weight, burn extra energy, and promote a good mood.