Watching a child gobbling chocolaty doughnuts, cheese pizzas, sugary cups, creamy cakes and other yummy foods with their pinky lips is definitely pure bliss. But at the same time, does everything that goes into their stomach healthy?? It is definitely a big question mark. When you offer your stomach a balanced diet, it actually thanks us. A balanced diet in the sense offers your body the right proportion of fruits, vegetables, cereals, pulses, and grains on a daily basis. Because it is our stomach that is often called our “Second Brain”. In fact, when your stomach functions well, your immune system and the whole metabolism of the body do their role much better. Children often face issues with their stomachs like digestion problems leading to food poisoning, infections, deficiencies, and poor eating habits. It is more like a cycle where your child keeps falling into one of these traps easily. Let us discuss a few tried and tested ways from one of your fellow mommies to improve your kid’s digestion on a lighter side to keep unfavorable instances at bay.
There are foods that smile at you and make your digestive system thank you. Firstly start including greens, probiotic-rich foods like curd, buttermilk and nuts, seeds in your diet. Next, comes the fruits. They are the best detoxifier for your system. They are not only rich in fiber, but also help support the whole digestive system. Fruits like pineapple, papaya, banana, mango, and pomegranates are stomach friendly. At the same time, kids love them. They restore any disturbed gut. Inculcating the habit of having fruits daily twice has several proven benefits. When included regularly, they definitely not only strengthen your child’s digestive system but also boost their immunity. Because it is ultimately ‘good food; good life’.
Have an eye on what you offer
Kids generally are fondant of sugary and creamy foods. As the line goes, “Too much of anything is good for nothing”. When sugary foods and junk are consumed often, it affects the child’s overall well-being. It starts from their teeth causing cavities. Next affects the throat causing infections when too creamy items keep depositing. Thirdly, they enter our stomach. It disturbs the appetite in the system and behaves harshly in the digestive system. Fast foods like pizzas, noodles, and burgers take time to get digested, making the system tiring and weak. It also sucks most of the nutrients from the body making us deficient and sick-prone. Such foods make the kids obese leaving them with way too many un-invited diseases. So, it is wise to always offer our children fresh fruits, vegetables, and homemade ones to make them healthy and hale.
Follow a routine
Your child’s body is a miracle. From top to toe, there are lots of unveiled mysteries that make you wonder!! ‘Circadian rhythm’ is one such miracle. The human body knows when it is day and when it is night. This sleep-awake pattern that your child’s body follows is called as Circadian rhythm. It regulates and secrets the sleep hormone, ‘Melatonin’. When there is an imbalance in this hormone, it disturbs the whole sleep-wake pattern affecting the metabolism and causing digestion and other serious issues. When sleep is affected for a child, waking automatically gets delayed. This delay causes postponing of food intake, affecting the stomach of children and causing indigestion. When continued over a period of long time, even children have a chance of getting gastritis and other stomach-related problems.
So, make it a routine for your younger one to stick to a pattern. Since children are unaware of this cycle, make them hit the bed before 10 PM, feed them on time and make them realize what thirst feels like. When followed over a period of time, they sleep automatically without even your presence. And of utmost importance, make the children have the habit of not controlling nature’s calls. It may result in unexpected bowel problems for them in the future.
Mother Nature has given us a lot of astonishing herbs. They are organic, and pure and cannot be matched to any human invention at any time. Some of those herbs are Cumin seeds, fennel seeds, ajwain, and asafoetida. These seeds are capable of producing natural digestive enzymes. Also, they have got a handful of both medicinal and therapeutic properties. They have the potential of producing natural digestive enzymes that regulate digestion. Cumin seeds produce Cuminum Cyminum, Anethole is present in fennel seeds. Ajwain seeds produce gastric juices and oleo gum resin is got from Asafetida. They are an age-old tradition of including in our Indian foods.
They can be made as kashayam by boiling a few tablespoons in water and given directly to your kids. If your child hesitates, try including it in your recipes. They are flavorful and delicious without any second doubt.
Importance of playtime
Studies show that children need to keep their bodies moving for healthy brain and digestive system development. It can be of any form. Be it practicing yoga, playing out-door, exercising, or just walking would suffice. This ensures that their gut is healthy by secretion of digestive enzymes. But, just think about modern-age children. They are literally glued to screens making them obese, diabetic and even thyroid complaints strike them at a tender age. The damage caused by them is irreversible. So, to aid healthy digestion and a healthy hunger pattern, allow the child to be like a child. Make them play in the outside environment, involve them in hobbies like cycling, jogging and take them on outings once in a while, because after all we know,
“All work and no play make Jack a dull boy”.
A healthy mind leads to a healthy soul” is a common quote. But to add up, “A healthy soul is where a healthy human body dwells”. Yes, our mind and body are connected so well that, when our heart & soul are affected, it leads to severe health complications. The stomach is not left behind in the race. When the environment in which the child is growing is not in harmony & peace, it is the children who are going to get affected in the first place. Because they can’t understand what is happening when an unfavorable incident occurs in the house. It may be relationship problems between the parents, financial problems in the house, not a friendly school environment, and the sudden demise of any one of the family members. It causes stress in the child’s well-being where the acid in the stomach increases. When the child is continuously put under anxiety, restlessness, and depression, it causes appetite problems and other digestive disorders when left untreated.
Deworming is essential!!
When your kid keeps complaining about continuous stomachache in recent days, chances are that your kid is probably in need of deworming. Deworming hinders the absorption of nutrients from your child’s system, making them prone to sickness. Deworming drugs remove intestinal worms from the body. This usually enters your child’s body via unhygienic practices like eating street foods, walking barefoot outside, playing barefoot in the sand, and eating unclean or unwashed veggies/ fruits. Stomach worms are often misinterpreted to be digestive issues. Children generally cry at night times and while pooping when worms are present. It is important to address the issue whatever the cause might be, by visiting a pediatrician.
Having adequate fluids
Water is one of the most essential components in a human body. Up to 60% of human body is made up of water. What oil does as a lubricating component for the motor and machinery is, water is to the human body. It acts as lubrication for all the parts. Intake of fluids be it water, in juice form, or soups is very important for initiating the digestion process. As we all know, digestion starts at the mouth by chewing with our saliva, which is also a form of fluid. Water is also necessary to make the nutrients enter the blood and reach all the body parts. When water intake is insufficient, children suffer from severe indigestion leading to stomachache, vomiting, and diarrhea. To prevent this, it is mandatory that even schools need to monitor the intake of water by the children. Other problems like stiffness of muscle and leg pain arise due to insufficient drinking of water.
Having said about fluids and fiber-rich foods, don’t get overwhelmed and overfeed them. Because too much of anything is dangerous. Children are like wet sand. They can be molded easily. Let us start practicing good habits right from our childhood.