Let’s get gutsy for a hot second and talk about gut lovin’ for kiddos. So why is gut health for kids important? A child’s gut health and microbiome are formed in the first four years, after which time it can be impacted by nutrition, diet and other lifestyle factors. A healthy gut for kids contributes to some super important areas like immunity, mood, digestion, sleep, brain health, heart health and skin health. Maintaining gut wellbeing has a positive roll-on effect on these important areas of whole body wellbeing. With kids' gut health being so integral to kids' wellbeing, it deserves some time in the spotlight to understand how to better support your kid's gut health. Not sure where to start? No problems, we’ve gut you with this handy guide on supporting kids’ gut health.
Signs and symptoms of an irritated gut in kids
Symptoms of an irritated gut in kids can range from poor digestion, irregular bowel movements, uncomfortable digestion or stomach aches, and other roll-on effects like poor immunity, sleep, and general fatigue (more than the norm for kids). A healthy gut aids in nutrient absorption, and those nutrients will do some essential things like support the immune system and support growth and development.
How to support kids' gut health
Supporting your kid's gut health starts with the right foods and cutting down on foods that can be potential irritants. Diet is responsible for around 75% of a healthy gut.
1. Fibre & hydration - One of the most delicious ways to support your kid’s gut health and wellbeing is by consuming high-quality fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables contain fibre that contributes to healthy digestion. Fruits and vegetables are soluble fibre, which also helps kids feel fuller for longer, win-win.
Other sources of fibre include whole grains, oats, barley, legumes and potatoes. We completely understand the struggle when it comes to getting fussy kids to get their daily intake of nutrition, fruits and veggies, if that’s you then Veggie Hero is your go-to for wholefood nutrition. With 15 veggies, fruits and super greens designed for kids’ taste buds and parents' peace of mind when it comes to providing healthy meals for picky eaters. Veggie Hero is easy to sneak onto rice cakes, into noodles, into baking and kid's favourite pasta and meals. It’s important to mention here too that with an increase in fibre there must be an increase in water. If kids' bodies aren’t well hydrated it can actually add to constipation. So staying well hydrated is essential alongside fibre intake.
2. Pre and pro-biotics - Pre and pro-biotics feed the good bacteria in the gut. Prebiotics act as food for the microflora and probiotics improve the good bacteria that already exist in the gut. Prebiotics can be found in foods like bananas, oats, barley, flaxseed and of course in our family-friendly Thriving Protein. Thriving Protein contains sprouted & bio-fermented pea and brown rice proteins combined with prebiotics & 1 billion CFU of probiotics per serve, Thriving Protein supports gut health and is easily digestible for tiny tummies. Thriving Protein also delivers a wholesome boost of protein, calcium, iron, selenium, vitamins C, D, E, folate and other B vitamins, all from organic wholefoods to support optimal health and wellbeing. Other foods with beneficial pre and pro-biotics include yoghurt (lactose-free if your child needs) kefir and fermented vegetables. Remember too that if you are breastfeeding, probiotics will be transferred to your bubba via milk and skin contact.
3.Vitamin C - Vitamin C is essential for the growth, development and repair of all tissues and is great for collagen production which is essential in connective tissue, such as the gut lining, and a healthy gut lining is essential for a healthy gut. Vitamin C is also involved in the absorption of iron, a healthy functioning immune system, wound healing, and the maintenance of cartilage, bones, and teeth. Berry Immune is our top pick for a great vitamin C boost with bioavailable vitamin C, zinc, iron & vitamin D from magical ingredients like rosehip, sea buckthorn, echinacea and 9 super berries.
4. Collagen & Gelatin - Collagen and Gelatin are not only high-quality proteins, but they also contain the amino acid L-glutamine which feeds the cells lining the gut, helping them to create a strong surface and healthy lining. As a total win, kids love squishy and bouncy gummies. Hot tip, make gummies with gelatin and combine with Choc Whiz, Berry Immune, Captain Calm or Veggie Hero for some extra flavour and wholefood nutrition. Check out our gummy recipes for some ‘gum-spiration’.
5. Limit gut irritants - Cut back on processed and artificial foods and sugars. These foods can often cause constipation. Foods like chips, processed meats and other packaged foods aren’t contributing towards a healthy thriving gut, so limit these foods as occasional treats.
A wholefood diet free from synthetics is the best way to support your kid's gut health, yet we know full well the battles that take place when trying to get your kids to eat fruits and vegetables. We get it, and we know the importance of wholefood nutrition; we set out to solve a problem and give parents peace of mind and fussy kids the nutrition they are missing out on, the end result - the Superfoods for Kids range. These wholefoods to deeply nourish are family friendly and super duper easy to add into kids' diets and their favourite foods.
Try incorporating one or two at a time and remember, all good things take time, and the same applies to creating a healthy gut for kids, along with healthy habits for long-term maintenance for gut health and overall wellbeing.
Struggle with fussy eaters? Read Our Guide to Food for Fussy Toddlers.
~This blog is for informational purposes only, regardless of the advice of holistic health practitioners. This article is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice. Please obtain medical advice relevant to your particular circumstances from your health professional.