SIMPLE WAYS TO IMPROVE YOUR KIDS GUT HEALTH
My daughter has had the worst luck over the past 12 months, unfortunately she has had to battle numerous staph infections. She caught the original infection whilst on holidays and has spent the past year trying to fight it off. This has meant she has had more than her fair share of antibiotics. Thankfully, we have found what looks like the winning antibiotic and we are on the other side of it now.
The biggest consequence hasn’t been the staph infection itself, it has been the impact of the antibiotics on her gut health. Don’t get me wrong I am all about the natural approach whenever possible but completely embrace modern medicine as well. There is nothing wrong with working with your Doctor to create a plan that has the best of both worlds, hopefully you have a Doctor that loves to work this way. Thankfully we do!
So the antibiotics have done their job and healed the infection, what do we need to do to heal her little gut and get it back to its full health?
First a little about the gut
The gut (gastrointestinal tract) is the long tube that starts at the mouth and ends at the back passage (anus). For kids, the gut’s main role is to regulate their digestion (and keep things moving!), as well as to give them the immunity they need to fight off any bugs that they get exposed to. Our gastrointestinal system is the CENTRE OF EVERYTHING. It is where we digest and absorb the nutrients we ingest. If this is functioning at its best, we effectively utilise all the nutrients we put into our body. A healthy gut means a healthy body.
HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR KIDS GUT HEALTH
- Stay away from processed foods. If it is in a packet and it has numbers listed on the ingredients list, avoid it at all costs.
- Eat whole foods. Prepare and serve them a diet full of variety. Include fruit, vegetables, meat, seeds, good fats (see FAT IS BACK for more info) and whole grains.
- Never give up on fibre! Fibre will nourish the gastrointestinal tract and feed the healthy microflora. Fibre is key to a healthy digestive system. Think wheat bran, rye-based breads, barley and whole oats.
- Ensure they drink enough water. This is key especially when you are feeding them the right amount of fibre.
- We all benefit from exercise and so does our digestive system. When we exercise it massages our digestive system to help it process our food faster.
- Stop over sterilising everything. As parents we try and protect our kids from germs, it’s a natural instinct. However, if they come in from playing outside it’s ok for them to not wash their hands. A little exposure to germs and dirt is good for their immune system and gut. You can read about the 5 SECOND RULE here.
I’m pleased to say we are making progress. My daughter’s stomach cramps are finally easing, her digestion seems to be improving, her headaches are far less frequent and she seems much happier. However, it takes time. I also add many different forms of probiotics to her diet. I cook with homemade bone broth, I add probiotics, yoghurt and Diatomaceous Earth (Fossil Shell Flour) to her smoothies. I also encourage my kids to drink Kombucha, this has taken a few years but they are getting there.
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