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Fibre: the key to helping your kid poop like a champ

Fibre – the magic ingredient that helps your kid have regular, easy-to-pass bowel movements. With it, kids stay active and don’t think twice about bathroom time. But without enough of it, you’ll likely hear endless complaints of tummy pain and feeling uncomfortable. What can a parent do? Healthcare practitioners will tell you, “just add some fibre to their diet” and watch the complaints disappear. But can one nutrient really solve all your kids’ tummy troubles for good?

Let’s break down the two types of fibre, soluble and insoluble.

Benefits of soluble fibre

Soluble fibre forms a gel-like substance when mixed with liquid. Because of this unique texture, soluble fibre helps food move through the digestive tract at a slower pace. This means less chance of having diarrhea – instead, your kid will feel full for longer. More energy for having fun!

Benefits of insoluble fibre

On the other hand, insoluble fibre adds bulk to the stool, helping to move food through the digestive tract at a faster rate. Struggling to pass a bowel movement regularly? This is where your doctor’s recommendation rings true; adding insoluble fibre is your best option to solve constipation.

child sitting on the toilet

The importance of fibre in helping kids thrive

Fight tummy troubles with fibre

A good, easy-to-pass poop starts with good digestion. Sounds simple, but digestion requires many steps. After you take a bite of delicious food, the digestive system starts breaking down the food into little pieces for the body to absorb. The broken-down food moves from the mouth to the stomach, to the small intestine and then the large intestine.

Some parts of the food, like fibre, do not get absorbed. That’s where the large intestine (colon) shines in its role. In this step, the colon absorbs the excess water to prepare the “waste” that will leave the body.

Here comes the tricky part. The types of foods you eat play a major role in how fast the food moves through the colon. Without enough insoluble fibre, the waste may move too slowly, causing stool that is difficult to push out. Not only is constipation painful, but the longer the waste stays in your body, the higher the risk of reabsorbing toxins that are supposed to be gone. And consistently straining during bowel movements can cause hemorrhoids. Without enough soluble fibre, the colon can absorb too much water, leaving stool that is hard and dry. Both are no fun for anyone, but especially for your little one.

Fend off illness with fibre

Do you dread seeing your kid come home from school sick, yet again? With the right nutrition, you can help your child build a healthy gut and immune system.

Good gut bacteria can help form a strong barrier against nasty bugs that your kid may pick up. Humans cannot digest fibre, but the bacteria in our gut can. Fibre serves as a “prebiotic,” acting as food to help good bacteria multiply. Only when the good bacteria flourish, can fibre be digested properly.

In addition to fibre, probiotic-rich foods such as yogurt, kefir, and tempeh can help form a strong, healthy gut. If these foods are not part of your kids’ daily diet, that might call for a kid-friendly probiotic supplement like our Kids Probiotic Chewable! It’s formulated specifically to support healthy digestion and reduce flu-like illnesses. Parents will love our Kids Probiotic Powder that dissolves right into juices or even water–even the pickiest eaters won’t notice!

Orange Naturals Kids Probiotics Chewables - bottle imageOrange Naturals Kids Probiotics Powder - bottle image

Improving your kids’ fibre intake doesn’t need to be complicated

To prevent tummy trouble and frequent illnesses, Health Canada recommends 14-19g of fibre per day for children ages 1 to 8.

Kid-approved sources of fibre

Sure, bran cereals and prunes are well-known sources of high fibre, but maybe not the most popular choices for your little ones. Instead, great sources of fibre they may actually enjoy are a variety of fruits and vegetables as snacks, as well as incorporating them into meals. Fruits and vegetables contain both insoluble and soluble fibre, giving you the best bang for your buck.

Canada’s food guide recommends filling half of the plate with fruits and vegetables. For kids, this can look like:

  • Raspberries (8g/cup) – add to yogurt bowls
  • Peas (9g/cup) – add to mac and cheese, soups (pureed if you have to!)
  • Mango (3g/cup) – as-is or add to smoothies
  • Celery (5g/cup) – with a dip like peanut butter or almond butter

For the days your kids leave leftovers on their dinner or snack plates (it happens!), cover their bases with our Kids’ Organic Fibre – it’s a tasteless powder that can be added to drinks and beverages. Adults can even enjoy it sprinkled in their daily coffee or tea.

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