Children’s development and well-being are influenced by a myriad of factors. Proper nourishment of their physical, mental, social, and emotional health strengthens the pillars that help establish a stronger foundation for their future. As parents, we make sure they have everything they need to thrive. We closely watch the environment we expose them to and carefully choose what we feed their bodies and brains.
Most of the things that greatly contribute to children’s growth and development are usually easy to spot and take care of. Others, however, are easy to overlook. Their digestive health is one of them.
Yes, we do feed them well and provide them with only the right kind of nutrition because we know that a well-balanced diet helps keep them strong, and generally healthy. But their digestive health in particular is often not as in focus as it should be.
The body carries out complex, interrelated functions, and our children’s gut health has more to do with their moods and behavior than most of us know. Here are the different aspects of our children’s growth and development that can be greatly impacted by their digestive health.
Think of it like this: The brain and the gut share a very close relationship and they constantly communicate with each other. If one of them is not in great shape, it stresses the other one out.
Research has proven that the microbes in children’s digestive tracts—also called their gut microbiome—could be influencing their behavior. The amount of bacterial microbes in their gut influences how they react to their environment and to different situations, and could even alter or determine their personality traits. If you find that your child is irritable, frequently throwing tantrums, or just generally unhappy, it’s worth checking if it has something to do with any digestive health issue.
70% of the immune system resides in the gut. Naturally, its health and the presence of good bacteria in it play a vital role in the immune function, influencing its response to diseases and infections.
According to Dr. Bhaskar Gurram, M.D., a pediatric gastroenterologist, recent researches have shown that the gut microbiome we have in the first three to five years of life could have far-reaching effects throughout adulthood, including a wide variety of health conditions beyond the digestive system, such as obesity, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, depression, and cancer.
A healthy digestive system allows the body to absorb all the nutrients from the food that you eat. When it’s not functioning well, it could leave the body short of the nutrients it needs and affect blood sugar levels, thus leaving your child feeling weak and lethargic all the time.
When the gut is working properly, the good bacteria in it gives your child a natural energy boost (some prebiotics even produce their own energy-boosting B-vitamins!) and helps maintain well-balanced energy levels.
Gut health affects the way people think, but it has a bigger impact on children because their brains are still developing. The first couple of years of your child’s life are crucial for proper microbiome development. The gut microbiome establishes at birth when your child passes through the birth canal, and continues to develop up until about two years old. It is at this time that the gut microbiome significantly influences the development of the brain, and disruption in its development during these early years can impact neurodevelopment and potentially lead to adverse mental health outcomes later in life.
What You Can Do?
Providing your child with proper nutrition is always a good start. Make sure his or her diet includes the good stuff that promotes healthy bacteria. One way of adding another layer of good microorganisms in your child’s gut is by incorporating probiotics in his/her milk.
The new PROMIL® FOUR, for example, has Nutrissentials now fortified with Oligofructose, an insoluble fiber that promotes the growth of intestinal bifidobacteria. According to studies, it helps stimulate the immune system and decrease the levels of pathogenic bacteria in the intestine, among other health benefits.
Together with a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle, the new PROMIL® FOUR with Nutrissentials that's now fortified with Oligofructose, can support your child’s proper growth and mental development to help nurture the gift.
PROMIL® FOUR is a powdered milk drink for children over three years old and is not intended for use as a breastmilk substitute.