I hear many parents complain their kids poop too firm or too soft. Constipation and diarrhea can be troublesome no matter what your age, as well as an indicator of how well your body’s immune system is working. 70% of the body’s immunity starts in the gut, and with the intestine then colon on down the path, making some observations about poop can be some of the first signs that’s something is not right in the body. On the loose side, it could be a food allergy, and on the firm side, it could be a build up of toxins trying to make their way out.
I’ve been reading 101 Optimal Life Foods by David Grotto and zeroed in on the constipation and diarrhea sections. Kid Appeal readers know all to well the high esteem I hold for Dave’s previous book, 101 Foods That Could Save Your Life, which is a must have for food geeks, and immensely helpful when looking for ways to make food relevant for kids.
According to Dave, here’s what you should be feeding your kids if they are suffering from constipation. Just to be clear, Dave doesn’t specifically target kids in his book, I’m not trying to put words in his mouth! All of the foods he lists are real food, and are good for all ages. In many cases your child may find natural relief. Decisions as to whether to remove your child from medications that treat constipation should be reviewed with your doctor.
Foods for Kids with Constipation to Eat (adults too!)
Whole Grains – teff, wheat, oats, barley, rye, millet, buckwheat, spelt, sorghum and corn
Fruits – fresh and dried, apples, oranges, pears, strawberries, apricots, dried plums, dates, figs, raisins, cranberries, currants, kiwis, grapes, grapefruit, peaches, raspberries, blackberries, passion fruit, guavas, avocados, mangoes, blueberries, and persimmons.
Nuts and Seeds – flaxseeds, sesame seeds, almonds, pecans, pistachios, & hazelnuts
Vegetables – dried beans, carob, lentils, carrots, broccoli, beet, artichokes, cauliflower, fennel, pumpkin, spinach, potatoes and sweet potatoes.
Probiotics - (contain healthy bacteria necessary to promote frequent bowel evacuation) yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, unpasteurized miso.
Prebiotics – (help create favorable environment for probiotics to take hold) are found naturally in whole grains, bananas, honey, onions, leeks and artichokes.
Water – Don’t forget to increase water intake when fiber intake goes up. Without the water the fiber may not help. Increase fiber slowly, 3-5 grams per week.
Exercise – Studies show that lack of exercise is also a common contributor to constipation. An hour or more per day of active play should do the trick.
What not to Eat
Dave says those suffering from constipation should limit refined and processed foods, along with cheeses, meat and eggs and beverage containing caffeine. One common culprit is processed cheese found on cheese flavored snacks and packaged mac-n-cheese. I’m not saying you have to remove these from the diet completely, but if packaged snacks and dinners are the norm, your loved one may improve a lot by significantly reducing their intake of these foods.
Stay tuned for a review of 101 Optimal Foods and a chance to win a copy!