How to improve digestive health in kids with 3 easy foods!

Every child experiences digestive health issues at one time or another.  By adding in the following foods to your child’s diet, you will help increase the health of the digestive system.   That way digestive issues such as constipation and diarrhea only come around once in awhile or not at all!

1)      Flax seeds– Extremely high in nutrients this superfood is great for children who need digestive support.  In my experience, many of my young client’s struggle with constipation and flax has been very helpful.    They are high in insoluble and soluble fiber and healthy fats (Omega-3 fatty acids) and therefore can support healthy elimination.  In fact, flax seeds are the richest source of Omega-3 fatty acids in plant-based form.  Flax seeds also contain a decent amount of protein and vitamins such as B1 and B6 as well as several minerals including manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, selenium, iron, potassium, copper, and zinc. Due to the high fiber content, if your child struggles with diarrhea you may want to skip flax seeds as it can further loosen stools. I recommend you use a coffee grinder to grind the seeds shortly before use as the seeds are difficult to digest whole and lose their nutrient value as they are stored as flax meal (ground up).  Then they are easy to sprinkle on oatmeal or add to smoothies.

2)      Prebiotic Foods– Say what?  Many people have never heard of prebiotic foods.  Prebiotic foods have been in the spotlight lately as more research is linking our health to a healthy gut microbiome.  Prebiotic foods nourish healthy bacteria in our gut.   These foods include garlic, onions, carrots, asparagus, Jerusalem artichokes, leeks, and jicama.   Some of these foods may be more kid-friendly than others, but get some in their diet if you can.  Carrot sticks are usually pretty easy to get kids to eat.  You could also make a soup of potatoes, carrots, peas, onions, garlic, asparagus, leeks, and salt and pepper and run it through a blender.  Yes the soup will be green, but if they can get past the color, I have found many of my young client’s love this soup, otherwise you can always try just potatoes, leeks, carrots, onion, and garlic to make it orange.

3)      Probiotic Foods– Foods that contain live bacteria is excellent for your child’s health, especially their digestive health.  These foods include non-dairy kefir or yogurt, kombucha, fermented vegetables such as pickles, beets, or carrots, miso, and raw apple cider vinegar.  Yogurt is probably the easiest to get into kids, just make sure there is not too much sugar or it defeats the purpose.  You can also buy unflavored and add raw honey and frozen fruit.  You can add a few of the fermented vegetables to salads or stir fries after cooking.  Try making your own salad dressing using half raw apple cider vinegar and half your preferred vinegar (such as balsamic), olive oil or avocado oil and spices.

It is important to maintain digestive health, but it may be even more frustrating or difficult if a child is taking medications, especially antibiotics.  Antibiotics work by killing all the bacteria in the body, unfortunately the healthy bacteria is destroyed as well.  The healthy bacteria help keep our kids from getting sick.  If we are not replacing the good bacteria they are more susceptible to illness.  This is often why you end up giving several rounds of antibiotics to your child to treat a reoccurring sinus or ear infection.   The gut microbiome must be balanced and incorporating these foods I discussed is a great way to start.

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Who else wants healthier kids?! 4 Best foods for boosting your child’s immune system during the cold & flu season.

Try these easy tips for healthier kids!

1)      Garlic– a natural antibiotic, garlic is also considered a pre-biotic food meaning it nourishes the healthy bacteria in the body’s complex microbiome.  This increases the functioning of the immune system. Throw fresh chopped garlic in soups and stews for maintenance, however, if a cold is onset, it’s best to consume raw.  You can chop finely and add to a teaspoon of raw honey to help the taste and add in additional nutrients.

2)      Camu Camu– This superfood you may have never heard of, but you should definitely add it to your list of immune boosters because this superfood boasts 60 times more vitamin C than an orange! This antioxidant-rich berry from the Amazon is also a plentiful source of potassium, calcium, protein, beta carotene, amino acids and powerful phytochemicals.  The fruit is not readily available in North America, but the powder and capsules are easy to find.  Just throw it in a smoothie or mix in applesauce.  Also as a side note, it may be best to give in the morning because it provides a natural energy boost that may not be ideal for kiddos in the evening if you are not into late bedtimes like most parents.

3)      Elderberry– There are many health enthusiasts who tout this superfood full of flavonoids which are known to boost the immune system when fall rolls around and kids go back to school.  There are lots of great recipes to keep your kids healthy for example this homemade elderberry syrup or try these flu-busting gummies.  Just know this is a great maintenance food taken once a day, but if a cold is onset you will want to increase to 4 times/day.

4)      Liver– This nutrient-dense superstar is certainly one of nature’s multi-vitamins. It is nature’s most concentrated form of vitamin A, which is very important for immune health.  It contains many b vitamins as well as trace minerals copper, zinc, and chromium all necessary for healthy immune function.  Liver is a highly usable form of iron.  If children are anemic their immune systems will be weaker, so liver is a great way to help ensure a proper hemoglobin count.  There is also an unidentified anti-fatigue factor to liver.  This is very subtle so shouldn’t keep your kids up all night.  If me talking about your family consuming liver makes you want to gag!  Don’t worry,  it is available in capsule or powder form as well, which makes it pretty easy to sneak into savory dishes.  Throw a little of the powder into your crockpot beef stew and you and your kids (hopefully) will be none the wiser.

These small changes can make a big impact in the health of your kids so that you can enjoy more fun time and less sick time this fall and winter!

 

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