July 25, 2024

Drgreesh

Health Can Do

How to Supercharge Your Kids Gut Health

11 min read
How to Supercharge Your Kids Gut Health

Are you ready to learn the secrets to improving kids’ gut health?

Whether you are worried about your child’s constipation, or loose stools, taking care of your child’s digestive system is the first step towards better gut health for kids.

In this article, we’ll explore how to heal your child’s gut. We’ll do this by learning how to improve the microbiome for an optimal digestive system and immune system.

We’ll also cover the best foods for gut health to protect against common coughs and colds.

Why is gut health important?

Believe it or not, your child’s gut health can have a big impact on their overall well-being.

In fact, there are trillions of bacteria living in their gut. These friendly bugs play a crucial role in maintaining a healthy microbiome.

They help protect against infections, improve digestive function, and even impact mood and behaviour.

That’s why it’s so important to prioritise your child’s gut health! By making sure they eat a balanced diet that includes plenty of fibre-rich foods and probiotics, you can help support the beneficial bacteria in their gut.

This can translate to better gut health for kids, fewer sick days, and a happier, more energetic child.

So, what are you waiting for? Keep reading to learn how you can support your child’s gut health today!

constipation-relief-guide

Signs of poor gut health in toddlers and children

Did you know that 70% of the immune cells also live in the gut?

So it’s no surprise that good gut health in children is also linked with their immunity.

If your child’s gut is not in tip-top shape, it won’t be a strong barrier against common coughs and colds.

Other common signs of poor gut health in toddlers and children include constipation, diarrhoea and stomach pain.

As a parent, if you have health concerns and want information on how to improve gut health in kids, then keep reading to learn more.

How to heal your child’s gut

If you’re wondering how to heal your child’s gut, the key is to focus on the friendly bacteria that live in the large part of the colon.

But keep in mind that what helps gut health for one child might not work for another.

If you want to repair digestive system and improve children’s digestive health, it’s important to understand how to improve gut flora.

While some people might suggest a gut cleanse for child, that’s not the best approach to improve gut health for children.

Instead, I recommend trying my Happy Belly Programme.

It focuses on simple, effective nutrition strategies to support your child’s gut health.

By incorporating fibre-rich foods, probiotics, and other gut-friendly options into your child’s diet, you’ll learn how to restore stomach flora to restore the friendly gut bacteria.

breastfeeding-baby-gut-health

What about baby gut health?

Did you know that breastmilk contains prebiotics and probiotics that can help promote good gut health in your baby?

Prebiotics are a type of fibre that help feed the good bacteria in your baby’s gut. Probiotics are live bacteria that help maintain a healthy balance of bacteria in the gut.  Human milk probiotics help to maintain a healthy balance of gut bacteria and prevent harmful bacteria from proliferating and causing health issues.

Breastmilk is also easily digested by babies. This is a great way to ensure that your baby’s digestive system gets the nutrients it needs to thrive.

Therefore, breastfeeding is highly recommended to promote healthy gut development in babies.

Healing leaky gut in child

If you’re concerned about your child’s gut health, you may have heard about leaky gut.

While there is some debate about whether a leaky gut is a real condition, there’s no question that a strong gut barrier is essential for optimal digestive function.

How to increase good bacteria in gut

One of the best ways to support your child’s gut is to focus on fibre-rich foods. Fibre help feed the beneficial bacteria in their gut.

By nourishing the good bugs in their digestive system, you can help promote healthy gut function. This subsequently reduces the risk of inflammation and other gut-related issues.

With the right approach, you can help your child achieve optimal gut health and support their overall well-being.

The Gut Brain Connection in Kids

Did you know that your child’s gut health can actually affect their mood and behaviour? It’s true! The gut-brain connection is a complex relationship between the digestive system and the brain, and it plays a crucial role in your child’s overall health.

The gastrointestinal tract is the home to 100 trillion bacteria, yeasts and more!  These friendly bacteria also live in the skin and other organs, but we will focus on the research around friendly gut bacteria.

Gut health and child behaviour

When your child’s gut is healthy, it can help produce neurotransmitters like serotonin. Serotonin is often referred to as the “feel-good” hormone. It is responsible for regulating mood, sleep, appetite, and even social behaviour.

On the other hand, poor gut health can lead to imbalances in these neurotransmitters. This can cause anxiety, depression, and other mood disorders in children.

Studies have shown that a healthy gut can help improve memory, attention, and even problem-solving skills in kids. And when kids are feeling good mentally and emotionally, they’re more likely to be active, engaged, and curious about the world around them.

Tips For Building a Healthy Gut In Children

So what can you do to support your child’s gut-brain connection? It all starts with good gut health and gut-friendly foods!

Make sure your child is eating plenty of gut foods like fibre, prebiotics, and probiotic foods for kids in their diet.

Encourage physical activity and limit screen time, which can disrupt sleep and digestion.

And don’t forget about the importance of emotional well-being! Spend quality time together as a family, practice mindfulness, and encourage positive social connections. These can all contribute to a happy, healthy gut and brain!

Building a healthy gut in children is essential for their overall health and well-being.

By promoting good digestive health, you can help boost your child’s immune system. This can then subsequently improve their mood, and even support their cognitive function.

Here are some tips for building a healthy gut in children.

How to improve gut microbiome

gut-health-for-kids

Encourage good gut health foods

In my view, improving your child’s gut health can be as simple as encouraging them to eat more fibre rich foods.

Research has shown that increasing fibre intake can dramatically improve the gut microbiome in children.

Unfortunately, most kids aren’t getting enough of this essential nutrient in their diets (as per the National Diet and Nutrition Survey).

To boost their fibre intake, try incorporating more whole grains, fruits, and vegetables into their meals and snacks.

These foods are not only rich in fibre but also packed with essential vitamins and minerals that support children’s gut health.

Getting kids to try new foods can be tricky, but do be patient.

By making small changes to your child’s diet, you can help them enjoy better gut health naturally.

bread to reduce bloating

What are some ways to encourage children to eat more fibre-rich foods?

  1. Get creative with fruits and veggies. Try adding sliced apples, berries, or bananas to a bowl of cereal or porridge. Or mix some diced vegetables into scrambled eggs or pasta dishes.
  2. Experiment with whole grains. Swap out white bread for whole-grain varieties, and try brown rice or quinoa instead of white rice. You can also try making homemade granola bars with oats and other whole grains.
  3. Sneak in some beans. Beans are a great source of fibre, and they can be added to all sorts of dishes, from soups and stews to salads.
  4. Make it fun. Let your kids help you pick out new fruits and veggies to try at the grocery store. Or why not have them help you prepare a colourful salad for dinner? When kids feel like they’re part of the process, they’re more likely to be excited about trying new foods.

Remember, it’s important to introduce new foods gradually and be patient.

It can take some time for kids to adjust to new flavours and textures, but with a little persistence, you can help them develop a taste for healthy, fibre-rich foods that will benefit their gut health for years to come.

yeo-valley-kefir-yoghurt

Foods with probiotics for kids

Including probiotic foods in your child’s diet is another great way to support their gut health.

Foods like yoghurt and kefir, when paired with fibre-rich foods, can help increase the number of healthy gut bacteria in your child’s digestive system.

Fermented foods like sauerkraut, tempeh and kimchi to name a few, are also great probiotic-rich options.

But don’t worry if your child isn’t a fan of those!

You can also try aged cheeses like mature cheddar or yoghurt with live cultures. These are easy and delicious ways to add more probiotics to your child’s diet.

By incorporating these foods into your child’s meals and snacks, you can help support your child eat the right foods for their gut health.

benefits-of-probiotics-for-kids

Probiotics and children’s gut health

Probiotics can be beneficial for children’s gut health.

The strongest evidence supports their use in cases of antibiotic-related diarrhoea and irritable bowel syndrome.

These conditions can disrupt the balance of bacteria in the gut, leading to digestive problems and discomfort.

Probiotics can help restore this balance by introducing beneficial bacteria into the gut.

However, it’s important to note that not all probiotics are created equal and it’s important to try clinically proven strains and species for kids’ gut health.

It’s best to talk to your child’s paediatric dietitian or doctor to determine whether probiotics are right for your child.

They can help you choose which strains may be most beneficial.

With the right approach, probiotics can be a valuable tool for promoting optimal gut health in children.

Pineapple and coconut party cupcakes recipe (dairy free)

Cut back on processed foods (foods that negatively impact gut health)

Reducing your child’s intake of processed and high-sugar foods can do wonders for their gut health. Too many highly processed foods can throw off the balance of good bacteria in their gut.

This can unfortunately potentially lead to digestive issues.

Plus, even artificial sweeteners can disrupt the beneficial bacteria in the gut. So it’s best to minimise intake of those too.

Instead, try to focus on increasing the amount of freshly prepared meals made at home. You can use plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

These foods are full of nutrients and fibre that support a healthy gut, and they taste delicious too! By making small changes to your child’s diet, you can help support your child to eat the right foods for their gut health.

How to improve good gut bacteria

Encourage regular physical activity

Encouraging your child to be physically active is a great way to support their gut health.

Kids who regularly exercise tend to have a healthier gut microbiome and stronger immune system.

Not only that, but exercise can also help improve digestion, reduce stress and promote better mental health.

To make sure your child is getting enough exercise, head to the park on the way home from school. Or why not sign up for dance, gymnastics, or cycling classes?

By making exercise a fun and enjoyable part of their routine, you can help your child stay active. This then supports their gut health at the same time.

how to sleep better

Promote good sleep habits

Getting enough sleep is super important for your kid’s gut health.

Believe it or not, a good night’s sleep can actually help the friendly bacteria in their gut work better!

Plus, we all know how grumpy and irritable kids can get when they’re overtired. So making sure they get enough sleep can also improve their behaviour.

To help your child sleep well, try establishing a regular bedtime routine. One way is to limit their screen time before bed and make their bedroom a cosy and calm space.

Prioritising their sleep will make them calm and happier whilst supporting their overall gut health.

By implementing these tips, you can help support your child’s digestive system and promote good gut health in children. Remember, a healthy gut equals a happy, healthy child!

Have fun with pets and other kids

Having fun with pets and other kids can be a great way to improve your child’s gut health.

Pets, especially dogs, can provide a source of beneficial bacteria that can help improve gut health.

Encouraging your child to play with other children is also a great way to promote a diverse range of beneficial bacteria in their gut.

Socialising with other children can help expose your child to different environments and experiences (and dirt!), which can help promote a healthy gut microbiome.

So, make sure to encourage your child to interact with other kids and pets, and watch their gut health improve.

Bottomline

In conclusion, promoting good gut health in children is crucial for their overall health and well-being. By encouraging them to eat a fibre-rich diet, including a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes, we can help support the growth of healthy gut bacteria.  This can help prevent digestive issues such as constipation and even diarrhoea.

It’s also important to limit sugary and processed foods, as these can disrupt the balance of gut bacteria and negatively impact gut health. In addition to diet, regular physical activity and good sleep habits can also contribute to a healthy gut.

Finally, if you notice any persistent digestive problems in your child, it’s important to consult with their main health care provider like a paediatric gastroenterologist and dietitian. This can help to determine the underlying cause and appropriate treatment. By prioritising our children’s gut health, we can help set them on a path towards lifelong health and wellness.

Need more help?

Chat with me and learn more about my 1-2-1 Happy Belly Programme.

Work with me

I have a number of programmes designed to help you and your child. Learn more by clicking the links below.

IBS Kids Mastery Method

Happy Belly Formula Programme

Fussy Eating Solutions

Nail Milk Allergy

Explore the Learning Hub

Bahee Van de Bor is a registered paediatric dietitian, specialising in gut health, food intolerance and fussy eating.

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