5 Ways To Boost Gut Health (And The Kids Won't Notice Either)

Boosting the bacteria in your child’s belly can be instrumental in setting them up for a lifetime of good health. Dietary choices and antibiotic use can seriously affect our microbiomes. Your microbiome is made up of the good and bad bacteria in our guts. Weighing in at a whopping 2 to 6 pounds per person, these bacteria help control the immune system, determining things such as whether your child has an allergic reaction to a peanut, how effectively they fight off a cold virus, to regulating metabolism and weight gain. It is thought to be wired to the brain meaning that it could influence mood and potentially protect your child from mental-health disorders such as depression. 

Our microbiomes are a product of our lifestyle and environment. The general make up of a child’s microbiome is established in childhood and will remain with them for years, decades, or even their entire life. That sounds like a lot of pressure but on the plus side, nurturing your child’s microbiome isn’t very hard. 

Take a read below for our top tips.

Let The Good Bacteria Thrive  

Good bacteria thrive on dietary fibre, the complex carbohydrates found in plants. Feeding your child a diet rich in vegetables, whole-grains, lentils and beans ensures that their developing microbiome has lots of nourishment. It should be noted though that under 2’s shouldn’t have wholegrains and pulses at every meal as they are too heavy for them and they will fill them up too quickly before they get the energy they need. The under 2’s should have some whole-grains and pulses though, to get them used to them and to allow them the benefits.

Up The Plants 

Research from the See and Eat project suggests reading books about vegetables can increase your child’s willingness to try new vegetables. Ebooks show children how vegetables are grown, harvested and cooked. You can also play with food and get children involved in shopping, cooking and growing to help promote a varied diet.

Stay Hydrated 

Staying hydrated can help our microbiome too. Most of us don’t drink enough water. Letting your child choose their glass and having glasses, cups or bottles of water which are accessible to them will help with this and then encouraging them to drink at mealtime and between meals. Not sure whether they are drinking enough? Check their wee! It should be pale yellow and not strong smelling.

Out With Unnecessary Antibiotics 

These drugs can be lifesaving, but that doesn't mean they don't have drawbacks. Because they kill bacteria indiscriminately, they get rid of the good parts of your microbiome along with the bad; and that loss can have a broader impact on your child's long-term health than you might realise. Antibiotics are also now used heavily in processed meat and dairy products so children's food does have a hierarchy when it comes to quality. There are plenty of kids probiotics available these days to help counteract the effects, and you can add prebiotic foods to your child’s diet too – foods like leeks, garlic, onions, artichokes and plain yogurt are all good options, as well as fermented foods.

Get Grubby 

Get your kids to dig up the garden and get that snuggle on with your pets! Easy ways for your child to encounter good bacteria while avoiding the ones that can make them sick. Remember to wash their hands afterwards and before eating.

Lots of food for thought (no we couldn’t find a way to make bacteria for thought work). At Rumble Tums, we use an array of organic veggies, sometimes up to nine different varieties in one meal. We also use different grains, seeds and beans, and a variety of wholegrain carbohydrates such as brown rice and wholemeal pasta and flours. All of our meats and dairy products are high-welfare and 100% antibiotic free. 

Are you ready to Rumble Tums? #letsgrow