When we talk about gut flora, most people only remember it when they are in adulthood. One notices the importance of gut health in a child when they develop allergic reactions or metabolic conditions. But when you start creating a gut-healthy diet plan for your child early enough, they can avoid all the risk factors for those types of metabolic diseases. If you wonder what kinds of foods you can give to your child to boost their gut microbiomes, you should read on.
The Dos and Don’ts
The type of food you give your child to eat significantly determines their ability to fight off infections and allergies. Here are the Dos and Don’ts:
1. Provide food rich in indigestible fiber
As the name suggests, indigestible fiber makes it difficult for your child’s gut system to digest starch rich in indigestible fiber. Think of it this way: your child’s gut microbiome contains mucus lining that aids in digestion and absorption of food nutrients. It depends on foods rich in probiotics to receive healthy bacteria. When the gut gets into contact with indigestible fiber from whole grains, broccoli, onion, and whole wheat, they can only take in what they can handle.
2. Encourage foods rich in probiotics
Your child needs probiotics to encourage the development of good bacteria in the gut microbiome. You can choose live and actively-cultured yogurt or fermented milk. If your child does not enjoy the plain taste of yogurt, sweeten it with maple syrup or naturally-blended fruits such as grapes, berries or chocolate. Remember, interchanging foods rich in kids probiotics can interfere with your child’s gut microbiome. The more you are consistent with what you give, the better your chances of utilizing probiotics’ nutritional value.
3. Incorporate probiotics supplements in your kid’s diet
Probiotics supplements come in tablet forms. They vary in terms of nutrient composition, flavors and the strain of bacteria. If you are not sure about what type of supplement to buy for your child, see a pediatrician or your child’s dietician for further advice.
4. Provide natural foods
One of the main reasons nutritionists encourage parents to give their kids foods that naturally grow in trees is to utilize polyphenols. These fruits include strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, cranberries, and grapes. Ensure they take fruits in their natural forms, not in processed juice forms. The latter might be laced with preservatives and other ingredients that might not provide 100% polyphenols.
5. Encourage frequent water intake
Water is an essential component that aids in a smooth digestion process. Apart from softening food, it also speeds up the transportation of digested food nutrients for absorption into the body. Therefore, it is vital to encourage your child to take adequate amounts of water to help in the digestion of food. Please provide at least four glasses a day to flush out toxins from their systems.
Do not overindulge in processed foods
Spaghetti, macaroni, biscuits and other processed foods and snacks might seem appetizing to your kids. But what good will they do if they keep interfering with your child’s gut flora? It is not bad to take such once in a while, but you cannot claim to be watching out for your child’s health when you make them eat foods rich in sugar.
Kids can adjust pretty quickly to the type of diet plan you prepare for them. Form the habit of providing fruits as snacks. Even if your child is not a fan of fruits, they love a particular one. Replace processed snacks with fruits such as apples, oranges, bananas and watermelons. For breakfast, you can replace bread with sweet potato, arrowroots or whole grains.
Making a diet plan that promotes your child’s digestion system can be tricky, especially if they are picky. Every child should have a favorite snack or food that belongs to the gut health-friendly group. Find out what they love and form the habit of incorporating it into their diet at least four times a week. If they insist on having processed foods for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, moderate their portions. Regulating what your child eats should be your top priority if you want to protect them from opportunistic infections caused by an unhealthy diet.