To some, parents this might seem to be a passing fad or a new buzzword, but actually, gut health in a layman’s term means the whole digestive system. The digestive system is one of the cardinal function of the human body and consists of the gastrointestinal tract or the GI tract, also known as the digestive tract ie- mouth, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine plus the accessory organs ( salivary glands, tongue, pancreas, liver, and gallbladder). Promoting gut health in kids ensures a healthy immunity system.
Promoting gut health in kids? How Does it happen?
The digestive system as we all know helps to break down the food that we eat into various nutrients and smaller components which get absorbed and assimilated into the body. The digestive enzymes along with trillions of microbiome and different organs work in perfect harmony to get the nutrients from the food which further contributes to energy, growth, and cell repair.
A healthy digestive system means a healthy you. Do you know that 80% of our immune system is in our digestive system, so in short, a healthy digestive system promotes a strong immune system by providing a robust disease defense mechanism? Apart from this, it also helps in improving bowel movement, increases absorption of nutrients, helps in relaxation by relieving from mood disorders, increases energy and stamina, helps in reducing weight, and enhances the elimination of body toxins.Hence healthy gut implies a healthy diet.
Following are some tips for promoting gut health in kids:
1. Introducing fiber
Leafy greens, legumes, whole wheat, and grains provide essential protein, minerals, vitamins, nutrients, and fiber to the body thereby creating a well-balanced alkaline environment, which accelerates the digestion process. Fiber-rich food like beans, fruits, and vegetables keeps your gut happy and healthy. These help in regular smooth bowel movement and reduces constipation.
2. Avoid junk foods
These mouth-watering snacks are so tempting and are hard to resist but it is also true that “processed foods” like snacks, chips, instant noodles, burgers, pizzas, cheese, foods made out of white flour, beverages, etc. fall under the category of junk foods. They are high in fatty acid with very minimal or negligible nutrients value. They are indeed the biggest culprits for poor digestion.
3. Stay hydrated
About 60% of the human body is made out of water. Water is one of the primary building blocks of cells, it helps in flushing out toxins from our body, lubricates joints, forms saliva thereby helping in the digestion process. It softens stools and prevents constipation. It breaks down the food into essential nutrients aiding the digestion process. Intake of plenty of fluids enhances the body’s digestion power. Fluids like milk constitute an important dietary routine for children. Milk has got many health benefits it provides calcium, protein, potassium, phosphorus, vitamin D, and vitamin b12 and should be included in your child’s diet chart for happy and healthy gut functioning.
Exercise helps in improving fitness, increasing concentration, helps in building a stronger heart, bones, and healthier muscles encourage healthy growth and improve self-esteem. Exercise also helps in boosting the metabolism which in turn helps in good digestion.
5. Good bacteria
The digestive system needs good bacteria for proper functioning. Fermented foods or probiotic supplements are a rich source of good bacteria. South Indian breakfast is considered to be healthy because most of them are fermented and are easy to digest.
6. Avoid too much medicine
Medicine and antibiotics are necessary lifesaving drugs, but overusing antibiotics can not only cause antibiotic resistance but can also kill the good bacteria and damage the microbiome which is responsible for good gut health. Overdosage or too much of medicine causes the body to dehydrate resulting in constipation.
by Suditsha Sanyal