Toddler gut health is more important than you might think. When babies are born, they have a sterile digestive system. Right from birth, then from breastmilk or formula and later on from food, probiotic bacteria make their way into their precious little systems.
Did you know that these microscopic organisms contribute in a most vital manner to your little one’s health?
What you must know about Probiotics for Toddlers
The truth is, most kids don’t need a probiotic supplement. They can boost gut health by simply eating a wholesome, balanced diet that includes natural probiotics like yogurt and kefir. However, if you’ve got a toddler that’s prone to stomach problems like constipation and diarrhea, you might wish to consider a probiotic supplement.
The thing is, the guts of all human beings, young and old, are made up of a microbiome of different bacteria that might play a vital role in assisting overall health. Our guts have both good and bad bacteria, and sometimes the balance can be thrown off by things like illness and even antibiotics.
Probiotics, in that case, might very well be the need of the hour. Firstly, a look at the many wonderful benefits these ‘good bacteria’ provide.
Some Key Benefits of Probiotics for Kids
Looking for the best probiotic for toddlers? Here’s a look at some of the key benefits that probiotics offer your child. Benefits that extend well beyond good stomach health.
If there’s a shortage of good bacteria in your child’s tummy, they will possibly not get all the vital nutrients that they need, on account of poor digestion. The resultant poor nutrition only leads to lowered immunity. Introducing probiotics in their diet will work wonders to keep their immune systems well-primed.
Children today are more prone to eating junk food, than ever before. These foods increase inflammation in your child’s body, leading to allergies like asthma and eczema. Probiotics help prevent inflammation, thereby protecting your little ones from these ailments.
Safeguarding against the side effects of antibiotics
Antibiotics attack not only the bad bacteria, but those of the good variety, too. When you supplement your child’s diet with probiotics, it will help speed up their recovery. Bonus: Probiotics will also help in alleviating antibiotic-induced diarrhea.
The Best Probiotic for Toddlers
There are several probiotics in the marketplace that are safe for toddler use. Here’s a look at the best.
- Culturelle Kids Purely Probiotics Packet
These powdered packets are a great alternative for kids who won’t have chewables and gummies.
Recommended for: Ages 3 and up
- Renew Life Ultimate Flora Kids Probiotics
This great option uses 6 strains of healthy bacteria that were specifically chosen to help kids with tummy troubles.
Recommended for: Ages 2 and up
- Garden of Life Probiotics Organic Kids
For those that prefer organic probiotics. These chewable tablets are not only laced with live bacteria, but also packed with a good dose of vitamins C and D. Note: If you’re giving them a multivitamin, ensure you check the dosages so you don’t give them more than needed.
Recommended for: Ages 4 and up
- Jarrows Formula Yum-Yum Dophilus
Another great chewable option, these have a raspberry flavour that little kids will love.
Recommended for: Ages 2 and up
- Olly Kids Probiotic and Prebiotic
These have 500 million active bacteria, and also a healthy dose of prebiotics (that help your good bacteria). Bonus: They are infused with peppermint, that helps soothe stomachs!
Recommended for: Ages 2 and up
Probiotic Foods for Gut Health
If you’re averse to giving probiotic supplements to your toddler, another great option would be introducing special food for gut health, into their diets. Here’s a look at foods that are rich in probiotics.
- Yogurt. This can be made at home and is a fully fermented food.
Tip: When buying from the supermarket, ensure that yogurt is packed with live cultures.
- Sauerkraut. Not only is this great food laced with plenty of lactic acid bacteria, it is also one of the tastiest probiotic foods for kids.
- Kefir. Packed with several strains of friendly bacteria, this one is considered a better probiotic food than even yogurt! Great for mixing into smoothies.
- Miso: This one’s a fermented soybean sauce that is superbly delicious. That Miso soup in a Japanese restaurant you ordered? This probiotic food is where the name came from!
- Pickles. Yes, those pickles we have relished eating over the years are a wonderful probiotic food, too. Believe it or not, plenty of children love eating pickles. If you haven’t introduced them to your kids already, now might be a good time. Note: Pickles made with vinegar are not a source of live and active cultures.
- Buttermilk. Homemade buttermilk is a really good source of live and active cultures. However, the kind you get in the supermarket is processed and devoid of live bacteria cultures.
- Certain cheeses. While most cheeses are fermented, there are only certain cheeses that contain live and active cultures. You can find these in the supermarket by reading the labels on them. Gouda, mozzarella and cheddar, are examples of cheeses that might contain living cultures.
- Tempeh. This one’s a high protein meat substitute made from fermented soybeans. Bonus: The process of fermentation also leads to the production of vitamin B12 that is not typically found in beans, thereby making it a nutritious alternative to meat for vegetarians.
- Kombucha. Talking about fermentation, this one’s a fermented drink that often resembles a sweet version of green or black tea.
- Olives. Olives that are brined and packed in saltwater, are packed with probiotics. Tip: Try a combination of cheese and olives, that makes for the perfect probiotic mid-afternoon snack for your kids.
We at EuroKids believe that probiotics from natural foods are the safest option for your children. If you do believe, however, that probiotic supplements would benefit your child, ensure you first have a talk with your doctor. Also, you can never be careful enough, so make sure you opt for a reputed brand.