5 effective ways to prevent gut problems in kids

It isn’t just adults who fall prey to gut issues; kids can be victims too. As parents, here’s what you can do to help your child.
dehydration in children
Be mindful of your child's gut health. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Dr Rohini Patil Published: 5 Dec 2021, 04:00 pm IST
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How often have you heard your child saying he/she has a tummy ache? Most of the time it is harmless, but in certain cases, it can be an indicator of several other digestive issues. Yes, children too can suffer from gut issues, which is why it is critical that we pay attention.

So, what are some ways that can help?

  1. Stop or avoid them from overeating:

    In order to keep their children at a healthy weight or sometimes make them gain weight, parents unconsciously feed their children food all the time, even when they are not hungry. This develops a habit of binging on food all the time. Parents need to understand their child’s nutritional needs and plan their meals accordingly, and also keep their food intake to a reasonable limit.

    Overeating or constant eating of food will exert pressure on their gut as well as overall digestive system, which will then lead to digestive issues and child behavioral problems.

  2.  Keep them well-hydrated:

    Drinking ample amount of water and other fluids is very important for your child’s gut health as well as overall health. When they are well-hydrated, they have proper bowel movements and their system gets cleaned well. This helps to flush out all the toxins properly, and has a positive impact on their gut health. This keeps them active the whole day and also increases their cognitive and learning ability.

    Make sure your child has optimum amounts of fluids in their diet through milk and fruits that have more water content like watermelon, oranges etc. or fruit juices.

    orange juice
    Keep your children hydrated with fruits and juices . Image courtesy: Shutterstock
  3. Add high-fibre foods:

    Fibre is very important for a child’s health, alongside protein, carbohydrate and fats. It helps in the absorption of sugar, binds the waste well, so that your child has proper bowel movements that leads to a healthy digestive system. High-fibre foods are good for your child’s gut health too. Our gut has trillions of microbes like bacteria etc. which help in the proper digestion of food, hormone regulation, and synthesis of neurotransmitters and vitamins etc.

    These bacteria love to feed on fibre, since it is not well-digested in the digestive system. This also makes for the perfect food for gut bacteria! Feeding the good gut bacteria with fibre will make your child’s immune system strong and their digestive system healthy. If they don’t have enough fibre in their diet, it might be very difficult and painful for them to pass their bowels properly, and that is likely to indirectly affect their overall health. Include high fibre foods like beans, fruits, legumes etc in your children’s diet.

  4. Avoid intake of unnecessary antibiotics:

    Antibiotics have become prevalent at this time. Yes, parents give their child antibiotics, even if they have mild fever without knowing the adverse effects of the same. Although antibiotics can be life-saving but at times, certain health issues can be resolved without the consumption of heavy drugs.

    Antibiotics kill the good bacteria along with the bad ones, and the loss of good bacteria can have a broader impact on your child’s health and gut in the long term. It is advised to give your child antibiotics only when it is necessary to resolve a particular medical or health issue. In case it can be treated through some other method, avoid it.

    probiotic vs prebiotic
    Both prebiotics and probiotics can boost gut health of your kids. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
  5. Include prebiotics and probiotics:

    As parents, everyone wants their kids to be as healthy as possible. That’s why they can consider including prebiotics and probiotics in their child’s diet. These are foods that contain live and active cultures of gut healthy bacteria, which is good for your child’s gut microflora. Consuming them reduces the chances of your child falling ill, especially to gastrointestinal infections. You can give them natural probiotics like curd, yogurt, miso, kimchi, sauerkraut etc and also the one’s available in the market.

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About the Author

Dr. Rohini Patil is an MBBS and a nutritionist. Over the last eight years she has passionately done intense research in the field of diet, nutrition, fitness, mental health and overall lifestyle modifications. She is the founder & CEO of Nutracy Lifestyle. ...Read More

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