Children are unstoppable, they do what they want to do when they want to do it, where they want to do it. They move like the wind, we really can’t tame them. And if you attempt to match their energy and vibrance, you have lost the battle because if there is one thing kids have in excess supply - is energy. They have this sense of wonder and spirit of adventure, everything is a quest; even their meals. It is no wonder they only eat carrots because it “will give them X-ray vision”. Things are only worth their try if it is exciting enough. We love these aspects of our kids and look back on our similar childhood memories fondly. Parents, based on built-in protective instincts, are always on the lookout for the health and wellness of their children. We want our kids to grow up healthy, vibrant, smart, and strong and lookout for ways to lay those concrete foundations down.
But there are aspects we can’t reach out to touch and mold or fix the way we want and those are what goes on on the inside of the child. In this article, we will be looking at gut health in kids, ways to boost your kid’s gut, promoting a healthy gut, and their benefits. “It all begins in the gut”, they say, and for good reason. The gut contains useful bacteria and flora that help control and balance out several other bodily functions we didn’t even think were tied to the gut in the first place. These beneficial bacteria help kids’ systems synthesize vitamins, absorb nutrients, act as immune boosts and mood regulators.
Why is Your Kid’s Gut Health So Important?
The gut is the home of millions and millions of healthy bacteria called Microbiome or Microbiota. They outnumber our human cells by a factor of ten to one. Unlike the human genome which is fixed from birth, the number of healthy bacteria or Microbiome is dependent on lifestyle choices and decisions and varies from kid to kid. Different kinds of bacteria have different jobs within our bodies. About 85 percent of them are beneficial probiotics. Babies are born with a sterile gut, and the intestinal bacteria start to grow right after birth, with the birth canal, vaginal bacteria, and breast milk contributing a considerable amount of the bacterial load. The health of the gut then depends upon factors like diet, exposure to germs, and the use of antibiotics. By the time the child is three, his gut microbiome is more or less like that of an adult’s and will stay with them for life.¹
The importance of the microbiome’s presence in the gut is becoming better understood as more research is being carried out in that area. The understanding of gut health for healthy living, especially the immune system, becomes even clearer. This is a point to note especially for growing kids’ health.
If keeping your child’s digestive, respiratory, immune system, as well as moods at optimum is a top priority for you, then looking for ways to boost your kid’s gut health isn’t a bad parenting move.
Ways to Boost Your Kid’s Gut Health
- Provide a High Fiber Diet: A diet that has high fiber content is very important for kids as fiber is necessary for proper digestive functions. Not only does fiber act as a "magnetic broom" to clean the intestine of waste and bulk up stool, but it also provides food for our gut bacteria to ensure they stay healthy and in good balance.² Whole foods like beans, pumpkin, cauliflower, nuts, coconut, seeds, and high fiber fruits like apples and apricots supply helpful fiber. Look into the ingredients contained in the food your kids eat to gauge just how much fiber they are getting.
- Replace Fast Foods with Plant-Based Nourishment: Kids love their burgers and fries and will most likely adore you if you feed their craving for junk. But these do them no good as they are filled with trans fat and processed ingredients that are taxing on the lining of their gut. Try as much as possible to include plant-based foods in your diet, some of which contain antioxidants and flavonoids. Flavonoids have a protective effect on the tight junctions of the digestive lining, can reduce gut inflammation, and help regulate probiotic bacterial colonies.² So teach your kids to love eating plant-based foods, those veggies are great for them
- Keep Them Hydrated: Water is such an important component for health, apart from regulating body temperature and helping with excretion, water helps improve your kids’ gut health. Keeping your kids hydrated all day helps with their digestive activities. For hot weather, you could have short milk breaks with your kids so they can keep their fluid level at optimal.
- Get Them Moving: Kids are energetic by nature and so getting them to run around isn’t a problem. If anything, getting them to sit still is the challenge. Designating a time in the day for physical activity helps keep them healthy and promotes the growth of healthy bacteria in their gut. When kids play, endorphins are released which helps lower stress levels and this is great for a healthy gut function.
- Include Probiotic Supplements or Food Sources: Consuming live and active cultures, such as those found in many yogurts especially unsweetened, may help boost gut health. But in searching for yogurts it is important to look out for those that are not packed full of sugar and contain active culture. Also including fermented foods into mealtimes isn’t such a bad move either. Kid-friendly probiotic supplements are also available in the market for boosting your kids’ gut health. They reinforce the helpful microbiota in the gut, helping to prevent pathogenic microbes from becoming too powerful.
Properly fermented foods and probiotic supplements contain the type of bacteria that keep the gut environment in a healthy balance.
A great probiotic supplement recommendation is the Herbal Goodness Tummy Tonic Liquid Extract for kids. The delicious product is super kid-friendly, and without any added sugar or sweeteners, it's parent-approved. Unlike many other products on the market, this extract contains less than 1 gram of sugar. It doesn't require refrigeration, so you can keep them on the counter or take them with you on the go. All you need is a few drops of this great-tasting liquid to make sure that your kids get the digestive support that they need. This blend contains the amazing Papaya Leaf, Chamomile, Catnip, Lemon balm, Ginger, Spearmint, Cat's claw, and Turmeric. Quite the array isn't it? It is free of soy, gluten, and dairy, in case of allergies. It also contains a tint of vitamins C and D for an added immune boost.
- https://www.enterogermina.in/mothers-speak/10-tips-to-maintain-a-healthy-gut-in-kids. 10 tips to maintain a healthy gut in kids. Accessed on September 28, 2021.
- https://www.jesssherman.com/blog/top-6-ways-to-improve-digestion-in-your-kids. 6 ways to improve digestion in your kids. Accessed on September 28, 2021.