Your child’s gut, second brain, plays a vital role in their overall wellbeing. We know that the bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract help control the immune system – how it fights off colds and allergies. But additionally, gut bacteria is also linked to your child’s brain and can influence mood and digestion.
“Scientists call this little brain the enteric nervous system (ENS). And it’s not so little. The ENS is two thin layers of more than 100 million nerve cells lining your gastrointestinal tract from esophagus to rectum.” – Johns Hopkins Medicine
The best time to nurture your child’s gut is during early childhood when it is still malleable. And it isn’t hard to do – a few simple lifestyle and dietary steps can go a long way.
Dish up vegetables, wholegrains, and nuts
Feeding your child a diet rich in dietary fibres ensures that the bacteria in the gut gets optimal nourishment. Dietary fibre is the term used for the plant-based carbohydrates that help keep our digestive system healthy. Wholegrain breakfast cereals, wholewheat pasta, wholegrain bread and oats also prevent constipation.
Yay for yoghurt!
Yoghurt and other dairy products like maas and sauerkraut contain active cultures of good bacteria that help fight off pesky gut infections. However, be careful, many yoghurts that are marketed for children may have a lot of sugar and little to none of the good bacteria you want.
We love Sportron’s Floraplex as an added supplement to your child’s diet. It is a probiotic supplement that helps maintain the microflora in the gastrointestinal tract. The recommended dosage for young children is half a capsule daily.
Be cautious with antibiotics
Yes, antibiotics are life-saving drugs that should always be prescribed by a doctor. But, be aware that antibiotics kill all the bacteria in the gut – the good and the bad. Consider all the possibilities with your doctor, and ask the doctor how you can restore the good bacteria after the treatment.
Again, we can recommend Sportron’s Floraplex Capsules or Floraplex Spray. To boost your child’s overall health, try Sportron’s Melotone Junior Chewables. These chewable capsules contain essential fatty acids that play a central role in your child’s health. It will help balance sleeping patterns that get disturbed when your child is sick and help with mood regulation.
Play and introduce your child to the world
All parents want to keep their children safe, but locking them up in a sterilised room can have unhealthy consequences. Your child’s immune system is developing, and the more it is exposed, the more it learns and the stronger it becomes. Play in the garden and allow them to interact with pets. Not only are you boosting their immune systems by introducing them to bacteria, but you are also promoting healthy social development that affects their mood and mental health.
You can also add Sportron’s Calcitone to the mix. During times of rapid growth, children need more calcium than ever. The body does not produce calcium naturally. Therefore, children benefit from a diet rich in dairy products, dark green leafy vegetables, or bony fish.
A nourishing diet and a balanced lifestyle will supply your child with the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients they need to grow and develop. Taking care of your child’s gut from the early years is the kick start they need for a lifelong healthy lifestyle.
Please note that the foods and supplements listed above may boost your immune health, but they don’t protect specifically against COVID-19.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this communication is not to be construed as medical advice. Consult a professional on any medical or psychological concerns. The articles and blogs are posted only as opinion or ideas, and are general in nature. The administrator takes no responsibility for any action or outcome a reader may make as a result of reading a post.
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Parent & Educational Training
Dr Elna Steenkamp (Clinical Psychologist)