You’ve probably heard the term ‘gut health’ quite a bit over the past few years. But what does it mean exactly? And what can parents do to ensure their child has a healthy gut?
Gut health is determined by the trillions of microbes living in your gastrointestinal tract. They contribute to a whole range of reactions in our bodies, including allergies and immune system strength.
The microbiome starts to develop in the womb and is easily influenced in early years. Gut health in the first three to five years has far-reaching effects throughout adulthood, influencing conditions such as obesity, depression, diabetes and even cancer.
Both lifestyle and nutrition can affect gut health in the long term.
Avoid your child overeating, and maintain a high-fibre diet to promote digestive health. Moreover, try supplements containing immune system boosting probiotics such as L. acidophilus Rosell-52, B.infantis Rosell-33 and B.bifidum Rosell-71, as well as prebiotic Fructooligosaccharides (FOS) for natural fibre. These have been shown to reduce incidences of infant gut and respiratory infection.
Keeping hydrated, active and happy will also have a significant positive impact on the microbiome. Avoiding unnecessary use of antibiotics is also worthwhile - these drugs can be life-saving and should be used when needed, but kill bacteria indiscriminately, whether good or bad, so their impact on our body can linger long after the illness leaves.
Finally, excessive hygiene may be counter-productiive. Swedish scientists recently found that children whose parents sucked their pacifiers to clean them, rather than boiling them on the stove, had stronger immune systems. In this case, a little saved time and effort really does benefit your child.
Choosing A Quality Probiotic For Your Child
Probiotics can be a great way to support gut health and general wellbeing, but there are so many available it can be hard to find the right one! Luckily, we have some top tips to pick the best supplement for your family;
- Choose a probiotic specific to your child’s health issue, for instance poor digestion.
- Ensure it is backed up by clinical research to support its efficacy
- For extra convenience, you may prefer it to be shelf-stable, meaning it doesn’t require refrigeration
OptiBac Probiotics 'For babies & children' meets all of these criteria, and is ideal for supporting your child’s overall health.
Source: Dr. Kate Stephens, PhD | Food and Microbial Sciences