The human microbiome, an intricate population of good and bad bacteria, is vital. The three-to-five-pound collection of gut flora is present through the GI tract. The makeup of this system often dictates allergies, immune response, and digestive health.
Many people assume the microbiome is inherent and unchanging, but they are wrong. The microbiome evolves through early childhood, primarily pre-school age years. Thus, parents have a chance to alter or improve their child's gut health, but only during a small window.
What Is Gut Health?
The digestive system includes the esophagus, stomach, and intestines. These organs work together to digest and absorb nutrients without discomfort, ideally. The function and balance of this system are representative of gut health.
Optimum gut health is a result of a balanced microbiome. Unfortunately, nearly 70 million people in the U.S. alone have digestive diseases. The statistic points to a digestive health crisis.
A healthy gut contains an adequate supply of immune cells and good bacteria. These cells and organisms work together to fight infections, fungi, viruses, and more. Additionally, balance in the digestive tract results in optimal nutrient delivery. Beyond nutrients, a healthy system communicates with the brain, promoting feelings of well-being.
Healing the Gut Can Improve Your Child's Overall Health
Does your child often experience an upset tummy or have difficulty going to the bathroom? An unbalanced gut microbiome can cause digestive discomfort and gastric distress.
The foods your child eats and their environment can play a role in developing a healthy gut. While nutrients are crucial to growth, foods can often contain good or bad bacteria. Additionally, a child's diet can contribute to the population of good or bad bacteria.
A diet consistent with health guidelines can heal your child's gut. Nutrient guides should also focus on probiotic-rich foods to ensure good gut bacteria.
Additionally, expose your child to the environment, including soil, plants, and animals. Exposure to the environment can strengthen gut health and introduce good bacteria.
Foods That Positively Impact Gut Health
What you eat matters to gut health. When it comes to a diet promoting gut health, there are a few foods or ingredients you should consider:
- Fermented foods
The above promotes healthy gut bacteria. The food options you should limit or avoid include:
- Overly processed foods
- Red meats
- Artificial sweeteners
There are many positive choices you can make for your child's diet to ensure variety and health. Some of the best options include:
- Beans and legumes
The Importance of Probiotics
Probiotics are live bacteria or yeast that benefit healthy digestive function. While the body contains a balance of good and bad bacteria, probiotics help tip the scales to the good. When bad bacteria overpower the balance, you get sick or experience discomfort.
Consuming probiotic-rich foods or dietary supplements, such as Wellements Probiotic Drops, helps stabilize the digestive system. Regular intake of probiotics and healthy bacteria can help eliminate some bad bacteria and maintain gut health.
You can never remove 100% of the harmful bacteria, nor would you want to. A healthy system thrives on balance. The goal is to maintain equilibrium or tip the scales towards the good.
It is often challenging to know how to do the right thing or make the correct choice as a parent. So much of parenthood relies on your best judgment or current understanding. Thankfully, helping your child establish good gut health is not too difficult. If you follow fundamental nutritional guidelines, your child will likely thrive. Still, as every child is unique, talk to your kid's pediatrician about diet and nutrition.