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How can you support your child’s microbiomes?

From infancy to adolescence, teach your child how to nourish their gut microbes to give them the best start in life.

You might be surprised to learn that the friendly bacteria that live naturally inside your child’s gut can influence their health, including digestion, immune health, skin health, and mental well-being. 

Did you know that your child’s gut microbiome develops over the first several years of life but changes and adapts to their nutrition, lifestyle, and environment? 

With allergies, skin disorders, asthma, and digestive troubles on the rise, scientists wonder if our obsession with cleanliness has gone too far. Of course, hygiene is necessary to keep harmful microorganisms at bay, but what about the friendly, helpful microbes that contribute to the formation of our microbiome?

Microbiome research is becoming increasingly popular, and we are only now beginning to unveil the secret world of bacteria. Numerous research indicates that the microbiome is an important participant and health regulator. It protects our children from chronic diseases, enhances mental health, and lowers the chance of allergies.

How is my child’s microbiome formed?

A child’s microbiome is formed during the first 1000 days of life. This means that their microbiota is heavily influenced by their birth, breastfeeding, and toddler experiences. 

So, how can we help children’s microbiomes? Read on!

Allow your children to become messy

Allowing children to play in the dirt and mud is a great method to encourage microbiome variety. According to research, soil is not just a source of bacterial diversity but contains bacteria that activate the serotonergic system, which means that getting your hands dirty causes your body to release serotonin, the happy hormone.

Encourage your child to consume probiotic and prebiotic foods

Maintaining the microbiome after it has been created in the first 1000 days with healthy prebiotics and probiotic meals is critical. Including them in your children’s everyday diet will aid in the feeding and populating of their microbiome. In general, fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grains like wheat, oats, and barley are all excellent sources of prebiotic foods.

Whenever possible, encourage your child to eat organic

It may appear to be old news, yet it is worth mentioning when discussing the microbiome. Non-organic foods are sprayed with pesticides, fungicides, and herbicides, all of which are designed to kill germs. As a result, it has the same effect on your child’s sensitive microbiota, which is still forming. If there was ever a time to eat organic, it is when you are a youngster. Children’s bodies cannot eliminate all of the heavy metals and poisons found in non-organic food. So, if money is an issue, it is time to start growing your own and purchasing organic food for the family’s children.

Promote sugar-free days

Avoiding sugar may seem obvious, but it can be difficult when it comes to children. Children frequently crave sugary foods. It can be really frustrating. One reason for this is that sugar feeds the ‘bad’ bacteria in the gut. As a result, the more sugar children consume, the more dominating it gets, leading to increased cravings. To get around this, start with sugar-free days. Begin introducing sugar-free goodies disguised as ‘regular’ treats.

Encourage your child to cultivate their own food

It’s well established that kids who grow greens eat greens and other vegetables and fruit, which are all essential for feeding ‘good’ bacteria. Gardening allows you to save money on organic food because you can grow it yourself. Gardening is also a great way to bond with your child.

When should you seek medical attention?

Recurrent colds, infections, skin problems, stomach disorders, and the usage of antibiotics are all signs that your child’s microbiome is out of balance. Because the causes of microbiome imbalance vary from person to person, determining the underlying cause is critical. If your child is experiencing health issues that could be related to their microbiome, consult a naturopath or nutritionist to learn how to best support your child’s health and microbiome.

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