If you want to set your child up for a lifetime of good health, it’s all about boosting healthy gut bacteria in their belly during infancy and childhood. By the time school starts, the type and number of gut bacteria in their microbiome have been established and will remain with them for their entire life.
The good news is that many studies show that within a day of changing diet, you can improve the health of your microbiome, (even later in life).
So what can you do to help support the engine systems of your kids to get what they need to help promote a healthy gut bacteria internal environment?
7 Tips to boost your child’s healthy gut bacteria:
- Feed the bacteria with a fresh balanced diet of high fibre foods, protein foods and healthy fats. Make some real chicken soup, include fish meals and grass fed meats, add peas, beans, grains, green vegetables and a variety of fruit. Consider replacing meat with beans and rice a few times a week. Above all limit or avoid junk and processed food.
- Add probiotic foods to increase the variety and number of healthy gut bacteria strains. Fermented foods and drinks such as kefir and kombucha naturally have increased living bacteria. You can also balance the gut bacteria adding a probiotic supplement available in ‘tasty’ children mixtures or gummies.
- Avoid unnecessary antibiotics by checking with your doctor whether it is a virus or bacteria causing the illness. Make informed decisions about their use and keep for emergencies.
- Let kids play in the garden, go barefoot in mud, get dirty, snuggle up to pets. A great idea is to plant a vegie garden and encourage them to dig, water and eat straight from the plants they have grown. Get them moving and having fun in the sun. Visit parks so that kids can run and jump in free play.
- Throw Epson salts in the bathtub. As a source of magnesium it both soothes itchy skin and encourages a restful night of sleep.
- Promote a good night’s sleep by having a sleep schedule, restricting electronic devices before bed and ditching the night light. There is a two-way relationship between the gut microbiome and sleep—disruptions in sleep can cause negative changes in the gut bacteria that will cause further broken sleep. Offer plain water rather than juices, sports drinks, flavoured milks and soft drinks.
- Water supports efficient digestion and helps intestines eliminate food. If you’ve tried unsuccessfully to convince your child to drink water, try to make it more appealing by adding sliced oranges, lemons, and strawberries to a jug of water to give it colour and flavour, without the sugar and preservatives found in other drinks.
Science continues to link children’s gut health to physical reactions such as allergies, and to mental health such as moods and learning. It makes sense, then, to boost their healthy gut bacteria, which are so important to children’s overall health and well-being.