Taking a probiotic can help deal with nausea and other digestive issues like diarrhea and vomiting. But should you be giving one to your child on a regular basis? And are the probiotics they get from foods like yoghurt enough, or should you use a supplement?
What are probiotics?
Probiotics, also known as ‘good bacteria’ or ‘flora’, live naturally in your gastrointestinal system. When your health is good, it means that the good bacteria have outnumbered the bad. This lets your body run as normal. In fact, there are more bacteria in your body than there are cells. Probiotics which are the ‘good bacteria’ promote a healthy immune system, support weight management, and prevent occasional diarrhea or constipation. But an imbalance of good versus bad bacteria can lead to issues such as:
- Weight gain
- Skin conditions
- Constipation or diarrhea
- Various chronic health conditions
Probiotics occur naturally in the body and can also be ingested through certain foods or supplements. For children attending creche or daycare, and are therefore more susceptible to bugs and infections, probiotics could be a way of stemming trips to the doctor. Probiotics are passed from mother to baby through breastmilk, boosting the baby’s immune system.
Research has shown that regular intake of probiotics in babies aged two to 12 months resulted in fewer rates of ear infections and less respiratory diseases.
Probiotics can be advised after a bout of antibiotics, in order to build up the good bacteria or ‘flora’ in the gut.
Probiotics in foods
Already in foods like yoghurt, buttermilk and ice cream, you may find that you’re already in taking probiotics without really knowing it. If you’d like to give it to your kids in their food as opposed to a supplement, looks for foods that say ‘Live and Active Cultures’ on the packaging.