What children eat nowadays can be very problematic for parents. Even if you regulate what your children eat at home, there’s no stopping artificially-sweetened junk foods, sodas, and other processed foods from stimulating their appetite. Because of this, their health is, specifically their digestive health, is adversely affected.
Eighty percent of your immune system is found in your gut. Every time you eat, your gut filters out the germs, pathogens, and other unhealthy substances you consume through food. In your gut reside about 100 trillion microorganisms or beneficial bacteria – 85 percent of which play a role in your digestive function.
However, with improper diet, these good bacteria are depleted, and the population of bad strains grows inside of you. This is especially true for children.
Other than poor diet, other factors that may affect your and your child’s beneficial bacteria population are intake of antibiotics, exposure to pollution, exposure to pesticides, and emotional stress.
Options You Can Take to Replenish the Good Bacteria in Your Kid’s Gut
A good way to optimize the population of beneficial bacteria in your child’s gut is taking probiotics supplements. Teenagers can take supplements in pill form. High-quality products should have the following:
• At least 10 effective bacterial strains
• Acid- and bile-resistant probiotics (so they can survive the journey going to the small intestines)
• At least 70 billion colony-forming units (CFU), which are the amount of viable microbes in a probiotic
• All-natural ingredients; nothing synthetic or GMO
Giving Probiotics to Kids with Pill-Swallowing Difficulties
However, there are children who have a difficult time swallowing pills. Until they adjust to pills and capsules, you cannot force them to take these kinds of supplements. Instead, you have two options:
1. Probiotics supplements in powder or liquid form
When it comes to children, taste matters. In other words, the supplement should be packed with a delicious flavor. Some products have naturally-flavored supplements. This means the supplement should be easy to swallow and should be tasty. With this, you won’t have any worry when asking your kids to take their probiotics.
2. Probiotics from fermented foods
Fermented foods are rich in probiotics. However, they are mostly an acquired taste, and some children may not be able to appreciate their strong taste and unique odor. Yogurt is one example of a fermented food. Be careful of commercial yogurt products, as these may be pasteurized or devoid of probiotics.
You may also add other foods to fermented dishes to increase their palatability. You can add them to soup, pasta, rice, and in some cases, even meat. There are several recipes online.
The bottomline is: with the growing number of junk food and soda brands dominating the market, it’s up to you to keep your child’s digestive health in optimal condition! Read more about probiotics and supplementation.