The primary job of every parent is to ensure the safety and health of their child. While many instances of protection are obvious, such as looking both ways before crossing the street, not talking to strangers, holding mommy or daddy’s hand in the parking lot, etc., some other issues are more challenging, like a diet.
Nutrition guidelines seem to be ever-changing and evolving, making it challenging for parents to stay on top of what their children should or should not be eating. Still, despite information challenges, one thing has remained relatively true over the last several years: probiotics are essential to gut health and balance.
What Are Probiotics?
The gut is a mixture of good and bad bacteria. Probiotics are good or helpful bacteria. Essentially, these good bacteria help keep the body functioning properly, including the smooth performance of the digestive tract.
Probiotics are critical to healthy digestion, and for babies and toddlers, they can help reduce the occurrence of such issues as diarrhea. The good bacteria affect the nerves of the gut, thereby affecting the movement and control of the gut. By motivating specific movements and actions, probiotics help push and digest food through the digestive system.
The Benefits of Eating Probiotic Foods
You cannot overestimate the effectiveness and necessity of probiotics in your child’s system. Recently, studies have shown a connection between the brain and gut health. Physical ailments can lead to psychological or mental health issues. For instance, if a child suffers from chronic upset stomachs, the digestive system can send pain signals to the brain that produces stress hormones in response. Children can develop other issues, such as anxiety, depending on the frequency of stomach pain or discomfort.
While not a mental health treatment, Probiotics can relieve physical discomfort from digestive issues and produce a sense of relief. In essence, probiotics can benefit children by helping to reduce several common challenges, including:
- Diarrhea and constipation
- Upset stomach
- Poor immune response
- Acid reflux
- Poor attention and memory
How To Tell If Your Child Needs More Probiotics
Understand that probiotics are helpful and often encouraged, but they are not mandatory. While supplementing probiotics can help relieve many issues, it is also important to remember that they are not a cure-all. Probiotics are only one element of nutritional balance, and they are not medicine.
Still, supplements or foods rich in probiotics can help children and adults with digestive problems. If you notice your child frequently has stomach aches or bathroom issues, adding probiotics to their diet can help because probiotics are primarily a tool for rebalancing the digestive system.
What Foods Are Rich in Probiotics?
When looking for ways to include probiotics into your child’s diet, you will want to focus first on including probiotic-rich foods. The most beneficial foods are typically fermented foods, such as yogurt. Fermented foods inherently contain good bacteria. Still, many manufacturers or producers of fermented foods also include live cultures or living strains of probiotics in the production process.
You can often find labels advertising probiotics at the grocery store, indicating which foods offer the most beneficial strains, such as Bifidobacterium bifidum and Lactobacillus acidophilus. Aside from yogurt, you can also purchase:
- Cottage cheese
- Specific cheeses (cheddar, Swiss, gouda, etc.)
- Sourdough bread
Guidelines for Probiotic Foods With Kids
While you can choose various foods, you can also boost your child’s probiotic count with supplements, like Wellements Probiotic Drops. However you decide to include probiotics into your child’s diet, make sure you follow a few basic guidelines:
- Watch probiotic intake
- Build a tolerance
- Ask your pediatrician before using
Probiotics are essential to the human body. Still, before starting your child on probiotic-rich foods, consult their pediatrician for sound advice.