Support your child’s brain through their gut

Good nutrition can help to support brain health, but to ensure that the nutrients from our healthy food reach our brain, we need to ensure our digestive system is in good order.

This applies to children too and, depending on their age, it can be difficult to get our children to eat the foods and make the lifestyle choices (sleep, exercise, managing stress, spending time outdoors) to support optimum gut health.

The microbiome (gut bacteria) is key to supporting optimum gut health and the variety of species of bacteria in the microbiome has been associated with a toddler’s disposition, with a greater variety of species being linked to more positive and confident behaviour traits. And probiotics have been seen to have a positive impact on anxiety and concentration levels.

Support your child’s brain through their gut - ProVen Probiotics

The first few years of a child’s life are key in establishing their microbiome and by three years of age, a child’s microbiome resembles that of an adult. The initial bacteria are introduced at birth from the mother’s vaginal canal and the environment the baby is born into. Over the next couple of years your baby’s diet will help to further establish their gut bacteria.

We are increasingly discovering that the health of the mother’s microbiome during pregnancy can help to support their baby’s microbiome development. And breast milk contains ‘mammary microbiota’ that are established in the last trimester of pregnancy and continue to be produced until a baby stops breastfeeding.

As your child grows, the following practical steps may help to provide continued support for a diverse and robust microbiome throughout childhood:

  • Include as wide a variety of vegetables as possible in your child’s diet every week. The fibre from the vegetables provides food for the friendly types of bacteria in the microbiome.
  • Include specific prebiotic foods in this vegetable list – prebiotics are specific fibres that feed the friendly bacteria and they include onions, garlic, leeks, bananas, asparagus, Jerusalem artichoke and dandelion greens.
  • Reduce the amount of sugar your child has each day – sugar feeds the more ‘unfriendly’ types of bacteria.
  • Add a serving of probiotic foods that contain healthy bacteria to your family meals daily – these foods include natural live yoghurt, natural kefir, sauerkraut, kombucha, kimchi and pickles. Find a food from this list that your child enjoys and include it as often as possible.
  • Only give your child antibiotics for bacterial infections – antibiotics kill both the friendly and unfriendly bacteria and can affect the composition of the microbiome following use. If you or your child does need to take antibiotics, take a research-backed, high-strength friendly bacteria supplement both alongside and following the course.
  • Be wary of antibacterial cleaners and soaps as these also remove all bacteria (both good and bad) from the skin and the environment.
  • Encourage your children to play outside and get dirty as often as possible.

You might also consider giving your children a friendly bacteria supplement on an ongoing basis, particularly if their diet does not include a lot of vegetables or the other foods mentioned above and especially if they have taken multiple courses of antibiotics.

Please contact us if you would like any further information about our ProVen Probiotics.

Want to know more?

Pro-Ven Probiotics aim to provide the best support for both you and your health. If you wish to know more about gut health and brain development in your child, please do not hesitate to call us on 01639 825107 or alternatively, learn more via our blogs or in-depth proven research.

ProVen Probiotics, Unit 2 Christchurch Road, Baglan Industrial Park, Port Talbot, SA12 7DJ. Tel: 01639 825107