Can Probiotics and Prebiotics Improve Your Child's Gut Health?
Date: Tuesday, Nov 20,2019
As they grow, children's nutritional needs cannot be met by milk alone and, therefore, they need solid food too, for their healthy development.
The importance of good gut health through probiotics and prebiotics has been discussed a lot more in recent years, as more research makes the link between our gut and our overall well-being. We’ve learned that the gut is important for a healthy immune system, determines what allergies you will have, and even affects your brain health.
The gut helps with digestion and waste removal. It's also where we absorb the nutrients that we consume; keeping your child’s gut healthy ensures that they are getting the most out of the food that they're consuming.
Why is gut health important?
Children with an unhealthy gut won't be able to digest food well (thus being more prone to stomach aches or constipation) and will have a weak immune system, which means they'll be ill more often.
More than 70 per cent of our immune system is located in our gut, and good gut health also regulates the immune system in terms of allergies and intolerances.1 Our gut also produces brain chemicals – neurotransmitters – and a healthy gut produces more of these good chemicals such as serotonin and dopamine.2
An unhealthy gut reduces the production of these chemicals; low levels can lead to depression, anxiety and behavioural issues. A poorly-functioning gut may also lead to mood fluctuations, sleep issues and feelings of tiredness.3
Can we boost our children's gut health?
Your gut microbiome – the trillions of bacteria living in your digestive system – are altogether very important for your immune system and overall gut health. This micro-community of microbes gets started very early in one’s life: parents should ensure that their children are given the right foods in order to build a strong, healthy gut.
The best way to keep your child's gut healthy is by eating 'real food'. This means loading them up with lots of fruits and vegetables and limiting (if you can't eliminate) their consumption of processed foods and additives such as artificial flavours, colours and preservatives.
Certain foods also stock the gut up with essentials like probiotics, prebiotics and fibre: all super-important in different ways to keeping your child’s gut in tip-top shape.
The benefits of probiotics and prebiotics
Probiotics are live microorganisms - “good bacteria” - that can be found in certain foods. They become part of the gut microbiome when consumed; getting a good dose of them will boost your child's gut health.
Foods rich in probiotics include dairy products such as yoghurt and fermented milk drinks like kefir. If your child isn't a fan of these – kefir especially can be a bit too tangy for children's tastes – you can mix them with fruit for smoothies.4
Another good source of probiotics is tempeh (fermented soy beans), which is a popular dish in Singapore and is easily available and affordable too.5
Prebiotics are a type of dietary fibre that also promote the growth of good bacteria in the gut. Prebiotics are found in foods such as fruits (especially bananas and apples), nuts such as cashews and pistachios, and grains like oats, barley and bran.
Other prebiotics have been added as essential nutrients in certain foods. Milk formula with sn-2 palmitate, for instance, have been shown to lead to higher numbers of Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria,6 beneficial microbes that help food digestion and absorption of nutrients.
Another unique and useful prebiotic is A2 ß-casein, an easily-digestible milk protein that supports baby's gastrointestinal well-being by reducing gastrointestinal discomfort and flatulence. This sets the stage for a less fussy tummy that helps the baby’s body better absorb the nutrients it needs.8
Fibre and Natural Food: Hidden Gut Heroes
Fibre is also an important element for good gut health; its different types have various functions and effects. Soluble fibre slows down the emptying process in the stomach, keeping your children fuller for longer. This type of fibre is found in barley, oats, fruits and vegetables.
Insoluble fibre, on the other hand, helps to soften the contents of your bowel, so your child will have regular and more comfortable (bye bye, constipation!) bowel movements. This type can be found in wholegrain breads and cereals, as well as the skin of fruits and vegetables.
Illuma Stage 3 Growing-Up Formula Milk Powder is suitable for children from one year and above. This advanced growing-up formula contains a unique combination of sn-2 palmitate and A2 β-casein, offering a range of nutritional and gastrointestinal benefits for your little one.
For more tips, Contact Us to chat with our friendly Club Illume consultants.
- 1. https://www.ecowatch.com/how-good-gut-health-can-boost-your-immune-system-1882013643.html
- 2. https://www.caltech.edu/about/news/microbes-help-produce-serotonin-gut-46495
- 3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6290721/
- 4. https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/health-benefits-kefir
- 5. https://www.escoffier.edu/blog/culina
- 6. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23201699/
- 7. https://nutritionj.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12937-016-0147-z
- 8. https://www.stanfordchildrens.org/en/topic/default?id=gastrointestinal-problems-90-P02216