A healthy gut is essential for a child’s development. It strengthens children’s immune system to fight off the germs they encounter on a daily basis. In order to set them up for a lifetime of good health, we need to bolster the good bacteria in their belly. These bacteria help control the immune system, determining things such as how effectively your child fights off a cold virus. In addition, the microbiome is involved in regulating metabolism and weight gain and may be wired to the brain—meaning that it could influence mood and potentially protect the child from mental health disorders such as autism or depression.
By analysing the gut microbes of toddlers ages 18 to 27 months, kids with more diverse microbiomes tended to be more curious, positive, social, extroverted, and impulsive, while lower overall bacterial diversity was linked with more fear, cuddliness, and self-restraint.
By the time kids reach the school age, the general makeup of their microbiome has been established and will remain with them for years, decades, or even their entire life. Fortunately, nurturing your kid’s microbiome doesn’t have to be hard.
Simple ways to boost your kids’ gut health
- EAT GOOD BACTERIA (PROBIOTICS)
Consuming live and active cultures (another word for good bacteria) delivers good bacteria straight to their gut. SO PERF cold pressed bars contain BOTH prebiotics (to feed the good bacteria in the gut and allow them to grow) and probiotics (to add to the number of bacteria in the gut). The probiotics used in SO PERF are spore-based probiotics which means that they plant seeds in the gut and allow new good bacteria to grow.
- FEED THE GOOD BACTERIA
Feeding your children a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, herbs, beans and legumes ensures that their developing microbiome has lots of nourishment. That is because these foods feed the microbes and allow them to grow. It is important to try and feed them a diverse range of plant foods as different foods will feed different species of bacteria in the gut. The better the diversity of foods, the more diverse the bacteria and the better they can support their health – sneaking different foods onto their plate is a great way to do this!
Fibre is also important. It feeds our microbes and is known as prebiotics. Feed your children foods that are high in fibre – we should be aiming for a minimum of 15 grams of fibre per day, which is the government’s daily recommended amount for kids. Our gut uses this fibre to feed the good bacteria, allowing them to grow. Studies have shown that as we feed the good microbes, we also lower the pH level of the gut and start to naturally crowd out problematic bacteria.
- OUTDOOR FUN
Being outdoors is great for the little ones. Playing outside, in the mud, in the forest is a great way to expose kids to different factors that will strengthen their immune system. The wilderness contains its own microbiome and, when exposed to, encourages diversity and tolerance in their gut. Trees and plants release a substance called phytoncides which helps their microbiome when it’s breathed in.
- AVOID UNNECESSARY MEDICATIONS
Unfortunately, certain medications, antibiotics (both in food and as medicine), and other household and environmental toxins can indiscriminately wipe out good bacteria in the gut, leaving both your and your child’s microbiomes depleted and out of balance.
- AVOID PROCESSED FOODS
Avoid processed, refined, sugary and artificial foods as these have a negative effect on their gut and can allow for problematic species to grow.
SO PERF cold pressed bars for kids contain probiotics which are spore forming. Most probiotics are transient, this means they enter the gut and hang around for 5 – 7 days but then they leave. SO PERF bars use spore-based probiotics which start to create spores that take residence in your gut – they don’t leave and are like seeds that start to grow in your gut, becoming part of your gut ecosystem and allowing for a healthier and stronger gut and immune system.
SO PERF cold pressed bars for kids are loaded with fibre which feeds our microbes, and these are known as prebiotics. Prebiotics are important because they feed the good bacteria that are already in your gut and allow them to grow and flourish. The more bacteria we can feed the better we can support our gut and immune health. When there are good levels of the good bacteria, it makes it harder for the problematic bacteria to take hold. The government recommends the kids have 15 grams of fibre daily to support their gut health. Most children are not meeting this requirement. Each SO PERF bar provides approximately 5-7g of fibre helping our children to get more and reach this goal.
The bacteria produce short chain fatty acids (SCFA) from the fibre. The SCFA are magic! They are what heals a leaky gut, brings down inflammation, regulates our gut, immune health, supports our mood, detoxifies us, supports liver function and the gut-brain connection, regulates energy and creates vitamins.