You’ve seen me banging on about the importance of gut health before but if you’re still uncertain of why gut health is important, check out my many blog posts!
Today we will discuss how we can help children better their gut health and thus reduce the occurrence and likelihood of all other disease, ill health, and childhood conditions, from; anxiety, depression, recurrent infection or illness, behavioural conditions, healthy learning and more.
How to help children thrive through bettering their gut health:
- Test for parasites- Parasites can affect our; behaviour, our sleep, our immune health (hello recurrent infections!), digestive function and nutrient absorption. If they are there and left untreated, you’ll find it difficult to get to that optimum level of health. A naturopath can offer various tests for finding out specific levels of parasites, and a GP can help in identifying some of the most common parasites.
- Eat Prebiotic Foods- Prebiotics feed the good gut bacteria. You can put in as much probiotics as you like but feeding and nourishing them is what keeps them alive, healthy and abundant. Prebiotic foods include but are not limited to; onion, garlic, leeks, asparagus, artichoke, bananas, cocao and apples.
- Consume Probiotics or probiotic foods- Probiotics are our healthy gut microbes. They help in regulating immune and digestive function and also have a knock-on effect (healthy gut/ healthy body/ healthy mind) on overall health and well- being. You can find probiotics through pharmacies or be prescribed high quality, specific strain probiotic supplements through a naturopath or nutritionist. You can also consume probiotic foods such as; yoghurts, kimchi, kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut, fermented vegetables, home made sour cream etc.
- Get them active– Exercise helps keep the bowels moving regularly. If your child doesn’t poo once a day, they are constipated. Constipation leads to the bad microbes fermenting in the gut and can have a negative impact on gut function and nutrient absorption. It means that waste is not being eliminated as it should, and it can be highly toxic to the body. Not to mention the other numerous benefits of physical activity.
- Give them lots of fibre, fruit and vegetables– Fibre feeds good bacteria and keeps the bowels regular.
- Avoid unnecessary antibiotics– All to often we are over prescribed unnecessary antibiotics. Absolutely, at times we need them, but if we can give our immune system the chance to fight off minor illness on its own, we will be strengthening our immune function and not killing off all our good gut microbes. If we do things that help to support our immune system, we are less likely to need antibiotics in the first place. I’ve created a blog post on strengthening our immune function HERE.
- Limit dairy and gluten– Dairy, gluten, even sugar and soy are leaky gut contributing culprits. Check out my post on reason’s why avoiding dairy and gluten might be the best thing you ever did HERE. To summarize, these food proteins cause the release of zonulin in the gut which we know, breaks apart the tight junctions in our gut lining creating intestinal permeability. This in turn creates a disruption of nutrient absorption and an overactive immune response.
- Breastfeed if you can– Feeds and nourishes a baby’s gut flora.
- Ensure they’re drinking enough water- Water helps to aid in good digestion (at the right times) and helps in eliminating waste and preventing constipation.
- Pre-conception care- Mum’s and dad’s can work on their own gut health before conceiving a child and thus help to improve the diversity of beneficial microflora in the baby’s gut.
Hope you’ve enjoyed another helpful post on how to improve yours or your children’s health!