The microbiome has become a buzzword of late, and with good reason; the sizeable number of microorganisms residing in the intestinal tract provide a symbiotic relationship with their host; namely, us! Keeping them happy results in us being healthier.
Adequate microbiota diversity provides benefit to many aspects of health, including immune support, appetite, digestion and absorption of nutrients and neurobehavioural traits. Supporting the microbiome with simple but smart dietary choices is one of the easiest ways we can support the health of our loved ones.
Feeding our microbiota (gut environment) with the use of probiotics has been linked to improved outcomes in both children and adults post-diarrhoea episodes, preventing and /or reducing the severity ofallergies, eczema, asthma, upper respiratory tract infections, some inflammatory conditions and as a mood stabilizer in those experiencing depression.
Well documented strains of probiotics shown to be beneficial in cases of gastrointestinal infections and diarrhea, stimulating the immune responses that promote vaccination or even prevent certain allergic symptoms include Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Lactobacillus reuteri, and Saccharomyces boulardii.
So how do we get our kids eating more of the good stuff?
Fermented foods are not exactly lunchbox friendly, and many a child will turn his/her nose up at Sauerkraut (I know I sure did!!).
Other alternatives include –
Fresh veggie sticks (with the skin on) and hummus dip makes for a quick and filling snack, without the sugar rush. Choosing organic, seasonal produce is a sustainable way to maximise phytonutrients.
Mixing in carrot and zucchini strings with pasta is another good way to increase fibre consumption.
Homemade, Greek or plain varieties are best; however being mindful of sugar & sodium content in some brands targeted at children. There may also be high preservatives in added fruit content.
Cut up some fresh, seasonal fruit and sprinkle with mixed seeds and nuts for a yummy, wholesome breakfast (warmed, stewed apples with cinnamon in Winter is a favourite of mine!)
This fermented drink offers fermented cultures to keep the microbiota happy, and a fizzy alternative to keep the kids happy. Watch out for some supermarket alternatives that are low in the cultures and high in the sugars – the floaties are good in this case!
Nutrition is a modifiable factor that we can positively influence; supporting the gut microbiota also benefits brain development. Flow on benefits support learning and growth, and aides in development and understanding at school, helping our little ones put their best foot forward.