Gut health is something that has been considered a very important matter in natural wellness circles for a long time now. As more and more people deal with health irregularities and other atypical conditions, it has gone to the forefront of advocacies in the health industry.
The All-Important Gut
What’s in the gut that gives it such a big say on the health of a person? As a matter of fact, it is home to the human microbiome, which refers to the trillions of bacteria that supposedly hold the key to a person’s health.
A person’s microbiome is affected by a variety of factors, including dietary choices and antibiotic use. It’s vital that good bacteria prevail in the gut since they have a big influence on the immune system. These bacteria determine whether a person suffers from allergies or not, whether he catches a cold or not, etc.
Besides helping control the immune system, the microbiome also affects metabolism and weight gain, as well as influences mood and cognition. Many experts hold the belief that there is a direct connection between the gut and the mind, hence the existence of gut-related therapies to address mental disorders such as autism and depression.
Your Child’s Gut
Since the gut has such a profound effect on a person’s health, every parent should take care to boost the health of their children’s microbiome. Keep in mind that gut health in the early years has long-term effects, making it all the more imperative to boost the beneficial bacteria in their gut and crowd out the bad ones.
A healthy gut also helps enhance child cognitive and motor skills, so it’s terribly important to pay special attention to your kids’ guts in the crucial years when they’re developing and learning at a very fast pace.
The balance of good and bad bacteria in your children’s guts can be influenced by the foods and drinks they consume every day. What should you serve to promote a healthy microbiome?
1. Feed the good bacteria
You have to help the beneficial bacteria flourish. They happen to thrive on dietary fiber found in plant-sourced complex carbohydrates.
It’s not only a matter of feeding good bacteria to help them prevail in their domain. Starving gut bacteria will cause them to eat the protective mucus lining of the inner intestine walls. When they get too close to the walls, the immune system goes berserk, causing inflammation, which could then lead to autoimmune disorders such as allergies and asthma.
Give your children these foods rich in dietary fiber to ensure that their good bacteria are happy and thriving:
· Whole grains
What other gut-friendly foods should you serve your kids? Foods high in indigestible fibers are also good for the beneficial bacteria. The microbes consume foods that are not digested well, so they end up feeding on the fibers of foods such as:
· Whole wheat
Good bacteria also love polyphenols. There are natural compounds found in plant-based foods like the following:
· Dark Chocolate
2. Starve the bad bacteria
These gut microbes play a major role in the onset of chronic health conditions, including cancer, diabetes, and even obesity. The usual culprits behind the upset in the gut microbiome balance are processed foods such as fast food, sugary treats, and soda. Bad bacteria love junk food and thrive on them.
If you want to crowd out the bad bugs in the gut, implement a diet consisting of whole, healthy foods for your children.
3. Add to the good bacteria population
There are probiotic foods actually containing good bacteria that can help populate your children’s guts. What are some of these?
· Yogurt – Not all yogurt products sold in stores have live and active cultures. Also, many of those marketed toward kids are brimming with sugar, so it would be counterproductive to feed them to your kids. Make sure you choose well.
· Sauerkraut – Go for the unpasteurized variety. You can actually make your own so you can be certain that the bacteria are alive.
· Miso – This is something most kids enjoy in soup since the flavor is quite mild.
Other probiotic options include kimchi, kefir, fermented pickles, and sourdough bread.
One of the best things you can do as a parent to set your children up for a lifetime of good health is to bolster the microbiome in their gut, so work on feeding those good bacteria and edging out the bad ones.