Gut health for kids can be a daunting task.
Focusing on supporting our children’s gut might help to prevent tummy troubles and help to add in some healthier options.
- Avoid overeating – this is difficult in the face of the constant ‘I’m hungry’ pleas, but children don’t need to be fed constantly and having breaks between meals and snacks helps our digestive system to function optimally.
- Eat good bacteria – our gut contains billions of bacteria, which are essential for many functions in the body. These bacteria can be found in foods such as live plain yoghurt, friendly bacteria supplements and of course Bodkin's.
- Feed the good bacteria by increasing fibre intake – our good bacteria eat carbohydrates that contain indigestible fibres – try oats (porridge for breakfast), broccoli and other fibrous veg, beans and legumes (hummus or other dips), onion, garlic, berries and other fruit.
- Avoid processed and ‘fast’ foods – these have the opposite effect of feeding the bad bacteria, so can exacerbate tummy problems.
- Stay hydrated – make sure your child is drinking enough as this will help to support regular bowel movements. This is particularly important alongside increased fibre intake.
- Keep them active – computer games and hand-held devices are reducing the amount of time kids spend outdoors and doing exercise. Being sedentary may also affect gut transit time and we all need to be exercising to support our gut function.
- Find alternatives to anti-bacterial products – we need bacteria to keep our gut balanced, so whilst washing our hands is clearly beneficial to health, using lots of antibacterial soaps and cleaners is not.
- Avoid unnecessary antibiotics – they save lives by killing bacteria, but this also impacts our gut bacteria and can cause an imbalance that is difficult to restore.
- Play in the garden and with pets – both the soil and our pets help to expose our children to different kinds of bacteria.