Gut Health and our Children
Guest blog by family nutritionist Kim Holmes
Today I had the pleasure of interviewing family nutritionist Kim Holmes from The Healthy Little B about the importance of a healthy gut when it comes to our kids health. Here’s a breakdown of what we discussed and the video interview in case you missed it.
Where do I start?! Our digestive system of gut as it is commonly known is what I like to call the ‘Hub of Health’. It really is so important to have a healthy functioning gut and a lovely balance of good bacteria. Not only is our food digested and excreted here but it also functions to:
- Interestingly, 70% of our immune system lies in our gut flora
- Our gut lining + cells are like the protective barrier against invaders we don’t want
- If your child seem to be battling back to back colds, there is a fair chance his/ her gut might need a little TLC
- Mood manager
- Another interesting fact, is that our lovely happy hormone Serotonin, is primarily produced in our gut
- The gut has been called the ‘second brain’ as it is closely linked to the brain via the enteric nervous system
- Once thought that when we are nervous or anxious; we can have diarrhoea or become constipated, tummy pains. As well as top to bottom, we now know that link is also reversed, gut to brain (healthy gut = happy kids)
- Enzyme production (starts in the mouth, where salivary amylase is produced – chew food slowly!) Then onto the stomach were we need adequate HCl acid production to break down proteins ready for assimilation in the small intestines (where most of the gut action happens!)
- Important nutrients are absorbed in the small intestines (the lining again needs to be super healthy or large undigested molecules can escape into the bloodstream)
- And obviously the large intestine acts to excrete waste
- Skin Health + Inflammation
- Many skin problems can stem from gut imbalances
- When the gut is out of action + its lining impaired, large molecules can leak into the blood stream having a systemic inflammatory effect showing on the skin
- A ‘Leaky gut*’ can manifest in the body systemically on the skin (eczema/ psoriasis etc)
WHAT CAN CAUSE GUT PROBLEMS?
- Poor diet choices (excess sugar/ gluten/ wheat/ dairy/ processed foods)
- Parasite infections
- Lack of good bacteria/ yeast infections
- Chronic stress
- Over use of NSAIDS + over use of antibiotics
WHAT ARE THE SIGNS THAT YOUR CHILD’S GUT HEALTH MAY BE IMBALANCED?
- Food intolerances/ sensitivities/ allergies
- Bloating/ cramps/ diarrhoea/ constipation/ IBS-like symptoms / undigested foods in stool/ mucus in stools (inflammation)
- Sinus infections/ recurrent colds/ runny noses/ hayfever/ allergies
- Irritability/ anxiety/ mood problems/ impatience/ fatigue
- Skin rashes (eczema/ psoriasis)
WHAT CAN WE DO?
- Reduce stress
- Reduce use of NSAIDs (Panadol/ Nurofen etc)/ anti-bitoic use – is it always necessary?
First of all remove the nasties that can be the cause:
- Processed foods
- Trans fats
- Soft drinks
*Leaky Gut – now well known around the medical industry, this is where the gut lining can become permeable – large molecules of undigested food can make their way into the bloodstream; this can lead to inflammation + manifest as some of the above signs + symptoms
Eat the right foods that promote good bacteria, healthy gut and reduce inflammation:
- Omega 3 foods
- Probiotic rich foods
- Real whole foods diet
- Lots of green veg + other veg
- Broths/ soups/ stews/ slow cooked
- Organic grass-fed meats
- Sustainable seafood
- Good fats (coconut/ avo/ etc)
- Pineapple + papaya are full of enzymes to aid digestion
GLUTAMINE – the ultimate gut healer – found in green leafy veg, cabbage, parsley + legumes. IS destroyed by heat so eat these raw. To get full benefit, take it as a supplement.
- Chew food slowly
- Don’t drink with meals
- Eat in season produce
- Eat organic where possible
- Drink lots of filtered water
Supplements to aid healing and promote gut health
- Probiotics/ Prebiotics
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