In this series I am discussing the human microbiota and the incredible role it plays in your overall health and vitality. (See my article Why Is Gut Health So Important ?) Our body contains over 100 trillion microbial cells and a similar number of viruses. We are mostly comprised of bacterial cells. (1) They impact how we look, think, feel, and the condition of our immune system. The key is that we want the beneficial bacteria to rule and outnumber the pathogenic bacteria. This keeps our immune system strong and enables our body to be healthy and fight disease.
Therefore, it is of utmost importance that we give our children the building blocks to help foster and build healthy gut flora. This can be accomplished through a healthy diet and lifestyle.As parents, it is our responsibility to teach our children how to eat in a way that fuels their body for a healthy life and successful future. In this post, I want to give you tips 3 and 4 to help build your child’s gut bacteria.
Tip 3. Eat Gut Healing Foods
How I wish my mom would have incorporated gut healing foods into my family’s daily meals. I think that’s the trick. Make these foods a part of every day life so your kids are familiar and accustomed to eating them. The good microbes in your gut make it a priority to keep the intestinal wall tightly sealed, keeping toxins from leaking into your bloodstream (as in the case of leaky gut). Yet, it is ideal for you to support the health of your intestinal lining through the consumption of healing non-irritating foods.
Here’s my list of Gut Healing Foods:
1.Bone Broth. There are so many incredible healing benefits to bone broth! But I will save that for another post. You can easily incorporate this by using bone broth as a a base for soups or even a warm drink before bedtime.
2. Coconut Oil. I cook with this for almost everything. I even put a scoop into my morning smoothie! It is loaded with medium-chain triglycerides and is great for the health of your intestinal lining.
3. Omega-3 Foods. There is so much toxicity and mercury in the fish from our oceans and farmed-fish have a host of other issues. I give my son a fish oil supplement. Not all omega-3 oils are created equal (again, for another topic). However, Wiley’s Finest Beginner’s DHA Fish Oil is the supplement my son takes until he is old enough to handle Krill Oil.
There are many more gut healing foods I could include but these are my top three recommendations for now.
Tip 4. Avoid Gut Irritants in Your Diet
I would recommend avoiding common gut irritants in your child’s diet to avoid damaging the gut lining. By avoiding these foods,you will help prevent common digestion problems and food allergies from forming. If left unchecked for many years they could eventually lead to leaky gut.
The most common gut irritants are as follows:
Even if your child does not have celiac or an autoimmune disease, it is a wise idea to eliminate gluten from their diet. Surprisingly, many children exhibit signs of gluten intolerance through outlandish behavior, tantrums, mood swings and ADHD. (To learn more about signs of a gluten allergy, click HERE and HERE) (2) (3)
2. Non-Organic, Pasteurized Dairy. (More on this in future posts).
3. Gluten-free Grains, Nuts and Legumes that haven’t been properly prepared.
If you are going to eat grains the key is to prepare them properly. Grains/Nuts and seed-like grains such as quinoa are encased in phytonutrients such as phytic acid. These phytonutrients act as a defense mechanism for the plant. This anti-nutrient ‘shield’ is very irritating to your intestinal lining and if consumed on a regular basis can lead to leaky gut. Phytic acid also binds to the minerals in your food inhibiting you from absorbing the nutrients from other foods on your plate. Yes, grains can be real troublemakers if not prepared properly. (4)
4. GMO Foods (Specifically Corn and Soy).
GMO foods irritate the gut not because of their genetically altered state. However, the gut irritation comes from the glyphosate that the GMO foods are heavily sprayed with.
These GMO foods are altered to absorb the glyphosate as food. Many will tell you that Roundup or glyphosate is harmless to a human being. They are dead wrong. The reason being is that glyphosate kills plants.
Glyphosate kills plants because it disrupts their metabolism, specifically the Shikimate pathway. This pathway exists in the good gut bacteria living inside of you. Thus, it murders the good gut bacteria. The research is even showing us that the bad bacteria thrive on glyphosate (5).
How To Build Your Child’s Gut Flora: My Top 8 Tips will be continued in Part 3 (coming soon)!
4. Hotz, Christine, and Rosalind S. Gibson. “Traditional food-processing and preparation practices to enhance the bioavailability of micronutrients in plant-based diets.” The Journal of nutrition 137.4 (2007): 1097-1100.