World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD) is observed on 21 March
Down syndrome is categorized as a condition in which a baby is born with an extra chromosome, affecting approximately 1 in 800 live births, although there is considerable variation worldwide.
According to the CDC the extra copy of chromosome, number 21, changes the brains normal development, causing mental and physical problems.
Children with Down syndrome are at a higher risk than the general population for certain health concerns.Eating nourishing foods can help reduce some of the physical symptoms and increase overall health. Foods should be healing and promote health. Purchase foods that are grown as opposed to manufactured. Purchase foods that are in their natural state as much as possible.
Following are the problems faced by Children with Down syndrome and how to treat them.
Risk of obesity
Children with Down syndrome are likely to be overweight and have a higher risk of obesity. They burn calories at a slower rate and are frequently diagnosed with an under-active thyroid which can contribute to weight gain.
To keep obesity at bay, feed children nutrient dense foods and limit junk food without nutritional value. A good rule of thumb is to eat ‘real food’ found in nature, and avoid man-made ‘food’ as much as possible.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is common among children with Down syndrome. Symptoms include heartburn, sore throat, regurgitation and chest pain. . Common trigger foods include citrus fruits and foods high in sugars and fat (chips, biscuits, ice cream, fatty meat), which should be avoided.
For reflux, try and choose more of alkaline foods. Also include include healthy fats such as coconut, olive oil and omega 3 fatty acids.
Gluten intolerance and celiac disease
Gluten intolerance and celiac disease is also widespread and can lead to nutrient deficiency and an impaired immune system if dietary needs are avoided. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, oats and rye, and an intolerance to it causes damage to the lining of the small intestine, which in turn affects absorption of vital nutrients.
For this reason, it’s best to wait until a child’s digestive system is more developed before introducing these foods, usually around 18-24 months.
Finally, periodontal disease becomes prevalent in adulthood so it is important to establish habits to eat foods that will decrease its likelihood. Foods rich in vitamin C may help keep periodontal disease at bay. Citrus fruits (for those not suffering from GERD), strawberries, green peppers and broccoli are great choices and make easy finger foods.
Anti-microbial foods such as garlic, onion, thyme, oregano, tarragon and cinnamon are great to use on a regular basis to help kill bacteria that lead to tartar and plaque buildup.
These guidelines will help create a great nutritional foundation, which will serve as a right tool to make good choices on their own.