Kids with cerebral palsy (CP) have problems with their muscle tone, movement, bone density and/or motor skills i.e. either gross motor or fine motor skills. These problems can make the activities for daily living challenging for them including their meal time. Some kids may not have the coordination to feed themselves or chew and swallow safely or successfully. Digestive problems like constipation, gastroesophageal reflux can make eating uncomfortable. So, it can be hard for kids to get enough to eat, and that can lead to poor health, growth and malnutrition. But the right diet and feeding techniques can help many kids with Cerebral palsy have a productive mealtime experience. Kids with Cerebral palsy just need good nutrition and healthy food just like other kids do. But sometimes the just need more or fewer calories depending on the activity levels and muscle tone and bone density levels.
To keep bone density strong the Cerebral palsy kid should be primarily fed more calcium-rich foods. Foods like milk, cheese, yoghurt, fortified fruits are rich in calcium. Secondly, the intake of Vitamin D should be taken care of. The sources of this vitamin that helps the body absorb calcium from food and supplements. It’s found in fishes such as salmon and tuna, fish liver oil, and fortified products like milk, orange juice, and cereal. Our bodies also make vitamin D when skin that is not protected by clothes or sunscreen is exposed to the sun. Phosphorus, a mineral that plays a role in the formation of bones needs to a part of their regular diet. The sources are dairy products, meat, fish eggs, poultry, nuts, seeds and whole grains.
To keep the muscle tone strong, high intake of protein is a must. Proteins are the key building blocks of body. The sources of proteins are lentils, grains, pulses, oily fish, lean meat, cheese, eggs etc. Vitamin C also plays an important role in maintains the muscle tone. Vitamin C is responsible for the health of the blood vessels that support your muscles’ needs for oxygen and nutrients. The more vitamin C your body has, the more effective your muscles will work and the quicker they will recover. The sources of vitamin C are bell peppers, kiwi fruit, dark leafy vegetables, oranges and strawberries.
Hence, the right diet can enable kids with Cerebral palsy to have a productive mealtime experience & enjoy the meal while getting the nutrients they need to thrive.
Courtesy- Akron Children’s Hospital