Gut health is a popular byword in the wellness community these days. Apparently, the gut has a big say on the entire body’s well-being.
Gut health is all about the plethora of microbes residing in the gastrointestinal tract. They’re a happy mix of fungi, bacteria and viruses, the majority of which are beneficial to the health.
In a healthy gut, these good bacteria thrive, and the body along with them. On the other hand, an imbalanced gut causes a slew of health issues such as obesity, irritable bowel syndrome, malnutrition, and neurological disorders.
Trust the Gut
Gut care should start as early as possible. If you want to set your children up for a lifetime of good health, it is absolutely paramount. Those beneficial bacteria work overtime protecting kids from disease-causing agents, strengthening the immune system, extracting nutrient and energy from food, and influencing many of the body’s range of functions.
Another big thing mentioned these days in hailing the almighty gut is the gut-brain connection. The gut is wired to the brain, its status having a strong impact on mood and behavior. For this reason, so many these days look to treating mental and developmental disorders such as depression and autism by way of healing the gut.
Balancing the Gut
Genes are fixed at conception, but the microbiome is mostly a product of environment and lifestyle. It’s particularly malleable in the early years of life. To nurture those good microbes for a balanced gut, you can take the following steps.
1.Nourish the good bacteria.
Those beneficial bacteria thrive on plant-based complex carbohydrates and dietary fiber. When they don’t get the fiber that they require, they’ll start eating the mucus lining protecting the inner walls of the intestine,
Bacteria that are too close to the intestinal walls alert the immune system, triggering inflammation that can lead to autoimmune disorders such as asthma and allergies. So, make sure you feed your children’s good bacteria by giving them fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, and whole grains.
2.Replenish with more good bacteria.
If you see labels boasting live and active cultures, pay attention. Those are synonymous to good bacteria.
Eating good bacteria themselves is another way to balance the gut. They’re found in drinks like yogurt, kefir, and kombucha as well as in fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, and tempeh.
It might be a reach to get picky toddlers to eat sauerkraut and kimchi, but they usually like yogurt. The thing about yogurt though is that there are so many available commercially that are too sweetened with unhealthy sugars. If unsweetened yogurt is too sour for your kids, you can give them milk with probiotics.
There are also probiotic supplements specifically for children if you have a hard time getting your kids to consume fermented foods.
3.Expose them to bacteria.
Many parents obsess about keeping their children’s environment sterilized to keep them away from germs. This could actually backfire and make the little ones more susceptible.
There are bad bacteria out there. Things like E. coli and strep will make your kids sick, so it’s important to use good sense. Dirt in your pesticide-free and herbicide-free garden is probably safe and you don’t need to be gung-ho about them washing up. The surfaces of a petting zoo are a different story, however.
Results from studies suggest that microbial exposure during childhood should be encouraged to keep inflammation in check later on in life. This means that a sterile environment could be detrimental in more ways than one.
4.Think twice about giving antibiotics.
Remember that antibiotics are only for bacterial infections. Do not try to cure your cold or flu with them. Antibiotics don’t only kill good bacteria along with the bad; they also stop being effective if you abuse them or use them incorrectly.
Antibiotics may quickly get rid of an infection, but their side effect on your gut could significantly impact your children’s long-term health. Do not let them be your immediate go-to for illnesses. Many mild and moderate infections go away without antibiotics.
The Guts to Glory
The gut is said to be the powerful center of good health, so make sure your children have healthy guts. Keep their gut flora balanced for widespread positive effects on their well-being.