Tips for children healthy digestion

Good digestion is vital for your children’s health

Good digestion has immense health implications. After all, the digestive system helps in providing our children’s body its vital nourishment. Digestion breaks down the food that our children take into nutrients, which their body can absorb and use for energy, growth, and maintenance.1 Beneficial microbes in the digestive system also aid digestion as well as promote immunity against diseases and ward off microbes that can cause illnesses.2

Useful tips for better digestion

Take plenty of foods that are loaded with fiber

Fiber promotes healthy digestive function. It helps regulate bowel movement and remove waste from your child’s body. It also helps to prevent constipation or hard stools. Certain fibers with prebiotic properties also promote the growth of beneficial microbes in the gut.3

Vegetables and fruits are good source of fiber. The recommended vegetables and fruits intake for children is as below4.

 Age  Vegetables
  <7 years  2  2
  7-18 years  ≥3  2

Drink lots of waters

Together with fiber, water helps in stool evacuation and is also recommended for those with constipation problems.

The recommended water intake for children is as below4.

 Age  Plain water (Glass, 250ml per day)
  2-3 years   4-18 years
  1-2   6-8

Consume milk that is easy to digest and gentle on tummy

According to Malaysian Dietary Guidelines for Children and Adolescents, children are recommended to consume 2 to 3 servings of milk and milk products everyday4. You may give your child a milk that is easy to digest and gentle on tummy if he/she has delicate tummy. With the advances in children nutrition technology, growing up milk that is formulated with partially hydrolyzed protein (broken down protein) and lowered lactose is now made available to help support your child’s digestion.

Move and exercise

Regular light to moderate physical activity or play can promote the evacuation of stool and gas. Studies also show that it helps in digestive problems like constipation and inflammatory bowel disease.6 Children are recommended to accumulate at least 60 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity daily4, such as a game of catch and throw, riding a bicycle, brisk walking or playing badminton.

Eat regular meal or snacks

Regular mealtime routines help with the daily toilet habits of children. Skipping meals or snacks is not recommended.

Avoid overeating or eating too fast

Overeating or eating too fast can lead to indigestion.8 Aside of eating the right foods, parents can also pay attention to how their kids eat, ie, that children chew foods well before swallowing and also eating without distractions so they are aware of what and how much they are eating.

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