Do you know that the health of the digestive system of the child is closely linked to their growth and development process? A healthy digestive system will ensure that the nutrients consumed are optimally absorbed. Therefore, a disorder in the digestive tract may inhibit the absorption of nutrients, leading to a disturbance in the growth and development of the child.
Digestive disorders commonly occurring in children include diarrhea, vomiting, constipation, and stomach aches due to excessive production of gases in the digestive tract. Usually, digestive disorders occur due to the digestive tract not being fully developed, irregular eating patterns, or consumption of food and beverages that can stimulate the occurrence of digestive problems. As a result of digestive disorders in the child, they can experience growth and development disorders such as underweight and other disorders.
So, what can be done to maintain the health of the digestive tract of the child? Parents should pay attention to their daily fiber intake, ensure that their daily fluid requirements are met, and remember to encourage the child to be active.
In order to meet the daily recommended fiber intake of the child, parents can serve food rich in fiber such as avocados, apples, pear, broccoli, spinach, red beans, and others. At present, fortified food and beverages are widely available, with nutrients such as prebiotics, probiotics, lactalbumin, and lactoferrin, which are beneficial for the health of the digestive tract of the child. Let’s understand these four nutrients better.
Prebiotics are food, beverages, or supplements that contain components which is unable to be digested by humans. Prebiotics are beneficial to support the growth of good bacteria in the digestive tract. Prebiotics are usually oligosaccharides, naturally available in breast milk and certain types of food. These can be added to food, drinks, or certain types of milk, such as lactulose.
On the other hand, probiotics are microorganisms which can alter the environment by maintaining the flora of the digestive tract if adequately available. Good microorganisms that are categorized as probiotics include Bifidobacterium longum and Bifidubacterium breve.
To put it simply, prebiotics are nutrients that increase the presence of good microorganisms, whereas probiotics are the good microorganisms.
Some studies found that probiotics have positive effects for the digestive tract. Other studies also reported that probiotics have beneficial effects for the immune system of the body in certain conditions, such as atopic dermatitis and asthma.
Looking further at the importance of maintaining the health of the digestive tract, parents now understand that conducting a healthy lifestyle since an early age brings plenty of benefits for the child in the future.
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