Happy Tummies, Happy Kids: The Good Bugs Kids Need
As parents, we want to protect our kids from anything that threatens their health. We’ve been told that this means shielding them from germs, the tiny little bugs that make us sick. While it is true that some germs threaten heath, not all germs are bad. In fact, most of the 100 trillion bacteria collectively known as the microbiome that inhabit the digestive tract do no harm, and some actually promote health. The latter are called probiotics, which literally means for life. It is a fitting title when you consider all the functions science has revealed these friendly bacteria perform, including:
- assisting in the digestion of food
- producing vitamins
- supporting the development of the immune system
- maintaining the integrity of the intestinal wall
- helping to maintain healthy body weight
Given the importance of a healthy microbiome for immunity, digestion and beyond, exposing kids to good germs is as important as protecting them from bad ones.
Here are 5 tips for encouraging the growth of the good guys in your little ones:
1. Load them up on prebiotic plant foods.
Whole fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts and beans contain special indigestible fibers called prebiotics that act as food for probiotics, encouraging their growth. Tomatoes, bananas, leeks, onions, chicory, Jerusalem artichokes, apples, garlic, beans, spinach, kale and whole grains are especially rich in prebiotics. Even picky eaters should be offered a variety. The more they see these foods on the plate, the more likely they are to try them.
2. Enrich their diet with probiotics.
Consuming fermented foods like yogurt, kefir and sauerkraut is an excellent way to ensure live, healthy bacteria is added to the digestive tract each day. As an alternative, consider a daily probiotic supplement.
3. Supplement with probiotics during and after antibiotics.
Antibiotics are non-selective with their killing effects, so good germs are sacrificed with the bad ones. Giving kids a therapeutic dose of probiotics during and after antibiotic treatment can help their microbiome bounce back faster.
4. Let them get dirty.
Evidence suggests that early exposure to a diverse array of harmless bacteria, fungi and other microbes present in the soil is essential for normal immune development in children. Researchers believe this explains why children who grow up on farms are less sensitive to the environment than children raised in urban environments. Encourage outdoor play and exploration of the natural environment everyday.
5. Avoid antibacterial products.
Antibacterial soaps and cleaners act like antibiotics, killing both good and bad bacteria on the skins surface. They are also known to contribute to antibiotic resistance. While hand washing is still important for the spread of unhealthy bacteria, regular soap and water will get the job done!
OLLY Kids Happy Tummy was expertly blended to replenish and nourish the good bugs kids need. It features a special combination of probiotics, prebiotics and soothing peppermint packed into a delicious gummy both their microbiomes and taste buds will love.