3 Ways to boost your child's gut health

As parents and carers, our key goal is to give our kids what they need to grow, develop, build a strong immune system and be happy, right? Being at the root of where the immune system, moods, and development flourish, your child’s gut health is central for a lifetime of good health.

Here are three things you should have in your child’s gut health toolkit.

Nourishment

Ensure you and your family are eating whole food diet, with lots of diversity. This makes for happy and healthy gut microbes, and happy guts means ultimately happy kids.

When it comes to foods, make plant foods the hero of the meal.  Feeding your child a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and legumes ensures that her developing microbiome has lots of nourishment. Also include bone broth in your diet, and foods with probiotics, like yoghurt and kombucha.

Pro Tips

  • Include bone broth in soups, cook rice in it, add to pasta, mashed potatoes and sauces.
  • Add protein to all meals, for example if you are having crackers add hummus or nut butters.
  • If you have a super picky eater, keep encouraging them to explore. In the meantime you can always supplement by secretly adding in a superfood powder (like Nutra Organics) into pancakes, smoothies or icy poles.
  • Always have stewed apple-berry coulis on hand to add into unflavoured yoghurt.

Defence

Get dirty: Kids need to play in the dirt and get exposed to a whole heap of different bugs to help strengthen their microbiome, which therefore strengthens the immune system. Go easy on the hand sanitiser and let them play with the pet and make those mud cakes.

Sunshine: There is a strong link between Vitamin D (from sunshine) and gut dysbiosis. Studies have shown that sunlight exposure helps the cells that fight off infection (T-cells) to get to an infection and sort it out faster. So if your kids have the sniffles or around those that do, sending them out for some sunshine daily is a great idea.

Pro Tips

  • When the kids are sick and the sun is shining, get them outside for a picnic or time laying on a rug reading books. If they need encouragement, pillows and blankets on the trampoline work a treat.
  • Instead of constantly hand sanitising, switch to hand washing with soap.

Protection

Reduce chemical laden products in the house. Laundry powder, cleaners and skin products can have a detrimental impact on our gut microbes. Although we cannot 100 per cent get away from this, we can reduce the toxic load.

Go easy on the medications, too. Although they are sometimes essential, they can also be over prescribed. If prescribed antibiotics, always take a probiotic afterwards. Taking probiotics during and after a course of antibiotics can help reduce the risk of diarrhoea and restore your gut microbiota to a healthy state.

Pro Tips

  • Keep a bottle of probiotics in the fridge, you can buy powders for the littlies. Hide it in smoothies, yoghurt or milk, just remember not to add it to anything hot otherwise you will kill the bacteria.
  • At home try naturally sweet desserts like apple crumble, yoghurt with berries, homemade banana frozen ice cream.
  • For rewards, instead of sugary treats, try stickers, small toys, or special choices of what to have for dinner instead.

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Written by Alissa Mack

Alissa Mack is a naturopath at GutAid. Together with her sister Kristyn, GutAid's philosophy is that good gut health and nutrition is a corner stone of health. Alissa believes that although very common, poor gut health and consequent symptoms are indicators something is not right. This is not something to ignore or learn to cope with but something to be paid attention to and fixed. You can find out more at www.gutaid.com.au

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