5 min read
It is never too early to start taking care of your baby’s gut health. As soon as your baby is born, the diversification of the gut microbes begin to start interacting with the environment. Maintaining gut health in babies is very crucial because it helps strengthen their immune system, brain development and overall wellness.
To support gut health consider probiotic supplements for babies as well as these foods to include in your baby’s diet.
There is a reason mothers are encouraged to breastfeed their babies. Breast milk contains a good amount of healthy fat and bacteria and is a rich source of probiotics. Apart from this, 10% of breast milk contains human milk oligosaccharides (HMOs) probiotics. These serve as food for the bacteria in the large intestine of babies.
Dilly carrots are fermented foods that can help maintain your child’s gut health. Consider prepping your carrots at home. This also ensures that you have total control over its quality. To make dilly carrots you’ll need dill, salt, garlic and water – put all of it together in an air-tight container and leave it to ferment on its own. Puree the fermented mixtures and it is ready for your little one to slurp up. To sweeten the mix add a drop of honey before you puree it.
Yogurt is the most readily available fermented food that supports gut health in babies. Greek yogurt or full fat and plain yogurt is recommended compared to sweetened and flavored varieties. Sweetened flavors often contain sugar which feed the bad bacteria in your baby’s gut.
Considered a more potent probiotic rich food than yogurt, kefir is a fermented milk drink. It uses either goat’s or cow’s milk as its base. Kefir grains, cultures of lactic acid bacteria and yeast, are added to this milk. Did you know that if you combined grains and milk overnight you’ll get lactic acid? Although the sour taste is similar to that of yogurt, it has a thinner milk-like consistency.
Sauerkraut is traditionally made with cabbage, salt and water. To ensure that good microbes are not killed, there is almost no heat applied while making this dish. It is the probiotic bacteria in cabbage that is responsible for the fermentation that gives sauerkraut its tangy taste. Choose homemade sauerkraut instead of store-bought versions to ensure you are getting the highest quality of the ingredients. Since you will be feeding it to young ones, it is best to use organic ingredients.
Goat Milk Based Formula
If you’re looking for alternatives to cow’s milk formula or breastmilk consider formulas derived from goat milk. Goat milk as well as soy milk have been linked to the good bacteria that comes from breast milk. One reason goat milk is more recommended than cow milk based formulas for gut health is due to the similar glycans found in human and goat milk.
Fermented applesauce is a healthy and delicious alternative if your baby refuse to eat sauerkraut or any of the other probiotic-rich foods due to the tart taste. Fermented applesauce helps build up the number of good bacteria in the gut of babies, and thereby, helps support gut health. Apples, sea salt and whey is all you need to make a mouthwatering batch of fermented applesauce. Give this dish more flavor by mixing in a bit of cinnamon.
The high fat content and low acidity of cheese is what makes it a great source of probiotics. However, not all types of cheese will contain live cultures of bacteria. The kind of cheese that you are looking for is made from the raw milk of cows or goats. Some of the cheeses that contain probiotics are edam, feta, gouda, gruyere, emmental, and cheddar. Often packaging featuring the terms ‘made from raw milk’ or ‘unpasteurized’ are written on the food label while searching for these cheeses at the supermarket.
Buttermilk is a fermented drink that is the byproduct of making butter from milk. It is often called Grandma’s probiotic because it contains live cultures of good bacteria. The milk offers different strains of probiotics and is also low in calories and fat. Beware while buying buttermilk in the supermarkets because it is likely to be the cultured type which does not have any probiotics in it. The ideal way to ensure that you are giving your baby quality probiotics through buttermilk is to make it at home. Check out this easy, 2 ingredient recipe.
Supporting your child’s gut health starts with healthy eating and choosing foods rich in probiotics. If you find that your child resists some of the probiotic foods mentioned here or have been looking for a probiotic to support your baby’s gut health consider a high quality probiotic supplement for babies.
For more information on how to choose the right probiotic for your baby read our guide on the best probiotics for babies.
Electrophoresis. 2014 Jun;35(11):1560-70. doi: 10.1002/elps.201300619. Epub 2014 Mar 19.
Mueller, N. T., Bakacs, E., Combellick, J., Grigoryan, Z., & Dominguez-Bello, M. G. (2015). The infant microbiome development: mom matters. Trends in Molecular Medicine, 21(2), 109–117. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.molmed.2014.12.002
O’Sullivan, A., Farver, M., & Smilowitz, J. T. (2015). The Influence of Early Infant-Feeding Practices on the Intestinal Microbiome and Body Composition in Infants. Nutrition and Metabolic Insights, 8(Suppl 1), 1–9. http://doi.org/10.4137/NMI.S29530
Selhub, E. M., Logan, A. C., & Bested, A. C. (2014). Fermented foods, microbiota, and mental health: ancient practice meets nutritional psychiatry. Journal of Physiological Anthropology, 33(1), 2. http://doi.org/10.1186/1880-6805-33-2
University of Granada. (2007, July 31). Goats’ Milk Is More Beneficial To Health Than Cows’ Milk, Study Suggests. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 27, 2018 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/07/070730100229.htm