You’ve heard it everywhere — in magazines, at the grocery store and even on the TV. Probiotics seems to be all the rage these days but they’ve always had great health benefits for us. Read on to find out more about probiotics and how you can start incorporating it into your little one’s diet.
Is all bacteria bad?
Our body is full of bacteria, both good and bad. Probiotics are the good bacteria that keep your gut healthy. It helps send food through your gut by affecting the nerves that control gut movements. Although it’s not yet fully understood by scientists, many agree that probiotics help with digestive issues like colic, constipation, inflammatory bowel disease, lactose intolerance and more
Probiotics and your little one
While probiotics can keep your digestive system in great shape, it may not work the same way they do with children. It pays to be informed about which probiotics you give to your child.
Probiotics can help your little ones relieve constipation, acid reflux, diarrhoea symptoms and flatulence. Research also suggests that it can improve gut immunity and manage eczema too.
So how can probiotics help your little one? For starters, they are especially helpful for diarrhoea or constipation, both of which are common for kids, especially during potty training. Some research suggests they could also improve gut immunity and oral health, plus help manage eczema.
Probiotics can also help children who are taking antibiotics, which can cause stomach pains, constipation or diarrhoea — probiotics can ease these side effects. Remember to talk to your paediatrician about whether probiotics is best for your little one!
Sources of probiotics
Luckily for us, many food sources around the world naturally contain probiotics. These include:
- Greek yoghurt
- Sourdough bread
- Gouda, Swiss, Cheddar, and Parmesan cheese
Fermented foods can be purchased in the store, and you’ll be surprised how much you can find at your grocery stores. Just make sure that whatever food you’re buying contains live cultures or strains — look out for words like Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium bifidum on the ingredients list.
When introducing new foods to your children start small and take note of the effects — both good and bad.
Bringing probiotics to the table
Let’s face it — most of the food with probiotics might be a bit overwhelming for our little ones. But that shouldn’t get in the way of a healthy gut! It might just take a lot of smelling, touching and sampling the probiotic foods before they’re willing to eat them.
For kids that can take probiotics, there are some ways to encourage them to start incorporating it into their daily meals:
- Replace sour cream with greek yoghurt
- Add yoghurt to their diet, or make yoghurt smoothies
- Avoid sweetened yoghurts and instead substitute them with fresh, chopped fruit
Probiotics are generally safe for children, unless they have a compromised immune system, cancer or are premature infants. In that case, probiotics might do more harm than good — remember that unlike adults, their digestive system hasn’t yet fully formed. As always, check with your healthcare provider as they’ll be able to give you the best advice.
Start small with probiotics and you’ll quickly realise how important good bacteria is for your family’s health — both inside and out!