Why are some people ambivalent about eating sourdough bread? It's their yeast favorite.
We know that a nutritious, balanced diet is a key factor in helping kids stay healthy and feel their best. We also know that diet helps shape the microbiome (that is, the trillions of good bacteria that inhabit the gastrointestinal tract). Research increasingly indicates that having diverse gut bacteria plays an important role in strengthening the immune system. So, if you’re hoping to keep the bad bugs at bay this season, you may want to focus on what you’re eating.
Here are a few suggestions:
First and foremost, minimize or avoid processed foods. This includes fast food, chips, packaged cookies and crackers, processed meats, and anything artificially sweetened. They just aren’t doing that much for anyone nutritionally. Plus, they can disrupt the mucus layer of the GI tract, preventing beneficial bacteria from thriving, and increasing inflammation.
So, what SHOULD you feed your kiddos to boost their gut health?
When we eat fermented foods that contain live, active bacteria cultures, the microorganisms actually take up residence in our guts – which is a good thing! A recent Stanford School of Medicine study concluded that eating fermented foods can increase the diversity of gut microbes and decrease inflammation. But often the strong flavor of fermented foods can be a turnoff for kids. Yogurt is often a good place to start – just be sure to look for the words "live and active cultures" on the label. As for other fermented options, try kimchi, sauerkraut, miso, sourdough, kombucha, aged cheese, and kefir!
Tip: to make plain yogurt more appealing to young palates, try mixing it with applesauce or mashed up berries.
Those good bacteria – the ones we just talked about – they thrive on dietary fiber. When we eat plant-based foods we’re providing a fibrous feast for the microbiome! And the greater variety of these we ingest, the healthier the microbiome becomes. So, your Mom’s advice still holds true: eat your fruits and veggies (and whole grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes, too!)
Tip: Kids love to dip! Our Classic Cowboy Crave-able Caviar packs loads of veggies into each bite!
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