Are you guys familiar with probiotics? I have friends who swear by them but, for whatever reason, I’ve never really looked into them much. Today we’ve got a great guest post introducing all of us newbies to the who, what, when, where and why of probiotics.
P.S. Thanks so much to everyone who weighed in on the question of the day on Friday – it’s such a nice feeling to ask for conversation and actually get it! Hugs to each of you who took the time to comment – and don’t forget to check out today’s “question of the day” at the end of the post.
Until having children, I didn’t understand what probiotics were. I remember my husband bringing home a Goodbelly probiotic drink once and, truthfully, I was kind of grossed out. The idea that there were billions of live bacteria partying in a box in my refrigerator seemed, well bizarre!
These days our whole family lives for these “good bugs” as they are absolutely essential to our health. Without getting too scientific or above my own head, I can tell you that having a healthy gut (created largely by these healthy bacteria) will greatly improve overall health. I was shocked to learn that close to 80% of the immune system is housed in the gut. Say what? That’s a pretty significant bit of information, especially during cold and flu season.
Here are some probiotics rich foods that we try to incorporate into our girls’ meal plans on a daily basis:
Organic, plain whole milk yogurt. To make this tasty, we stir in raw honey to sweeten and frozen, organic berries for a good dose of antioxidants and flavor. The berries also color the yogurt when stirred in, which is a fun morning experiment, and a great way to get your kids in the kitchen with you. Last, we sprinkle on chia seeds – we try to incorporate these tiny super seeds into any meal we can.
Sauerkraut. I was surprised that my girls love sauerkraut. Part of me still believes it may have been partially because when they asked for a bite, I told them I didn’t think they would like it. It was love at first forkful, which is great because sauerkraut (and all fermented foods) is probiotic packed. Above the girls are enjoying both original sauerkraut and red cabbage and ginger sauerkraut – equally delicious.
Kefir. This probiotic powerhouse can be tasty, too. Our store-bought kefir smoothies are a HUGE hit at home – we are talkin’ bribe-worthy here! We like
Probiotic supplements. We mix a loose powder probiotic into the girls water during and after a stint of antibiotics, which kill bacteria (healthy bacteria included) in the gut. We keep them on a supplement for weeks after an antibiotic, and then focus on getting a healthy dose daily from our food.
It’s also important to know the assailants. If we are going to help maintain or restore those little guts, it is crucial to know what feeds the “bad bugs.” Sugar, processed foods, fried foods, and foods that you suspect your child may be sensitive to are all culprits in fighting off the “good bugs.” Suspicions regarding food sensitivities such as seeing rashes, eczema flair ups or unexplained changes in behavior are certainly worth looking into. What we see on the outside is usually just the tip of the iceberg.
That’s it. Now that you know the basics, let’s kick off this month of love by giving those little guts the TLC they deserve.
Question of the day:
My BFF is big on probiotics and so is her naturopath pediatrician. The last time S was on antibiotics I asked my ped about them and she didn’t have much to say either way. What type of pediatrician do you use and have you talked to them about using probiotics with your littles?
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