Photo Credit: Cookies For Breakfast
There’s a whole host of reasons to start integrating probiotics into your baby’s diet. The same can be said for toddlers and older children – the benefits at all ages are numerous.
Probiotics are microorganisms (bacteria) that have wonderful health benefits. Your digestive tract naturally contains over 500 different types of healthy, good bacteria, and supplementing with probiotics helps boost the amount of healthy bacteria in your body – and in turn, helps strengthen your immune system.
You can find probiotics in food products such as yogurt and kefir. The labels on these products typically state: “Live and active cultures,” which refers to the probiotic bacteria that is living in the food. Bacteria? In food? Sounds gross, but it’s actually incredibly healthy!
If you’re interested in starting a probiotic regimen for your child, we strongly recommend purchasing probiotics that must be refrigerated (you wouldn’t purchase non-refrigerated milk or eggs, would you?). Refrigerated probiotics can be slightly more expensive than their off-the-shelf counterparts, but they’re also more effective.
Want to learn more? Read on!
Helps Reduce Eczema Flare-Ups Associated with Dairy Sensitivities
If your little one is facing a dairy sensitivity or allergy, one of the biggest symptoms is often eczema. These itchy, scaly, red patches all over your baby’s skin tend to pop up after he or she ingests dairy – either from table food or through your breastmilk, if you have dairy in your diet. Probiotics have been shown to help reduce the number of eczema flare-ups, and also lessen the severity of flare-ups.
And, probiotics have also been linked to helping boost your baby’s immune system enough that he/she has a greater chance of outgrowing the dairy allergy! Make sure you purchase a probiotic that was not cultured (grown) with dairy ingredients, to keep your little one dairy-free.
Helps With Diarrhea and Tummy Troubles
Okay, we didn’t want to go there, but it’s true. Probiotics can be a huge help when your little one has diarrhea and other tummy troubles, including those associated with the use of antibiotics. They help restore the natural balance in your child’s digestive tract, which is crucial to helping him or her get over tummy troubles.
Probiotics also help your child be less likely to catch a stomach virus in the first place. If he/she does come down with a stomach bug, the symptoms will be less severe, thanks to a regular regimen (both before and during the illness) of probiotics!
Helps Reduce The Sickies
No one likes seeing their child sick with any kind of illness, and probiotics are such a great immune-system-booster that they have been linked to reducing the number of childhood illnesses such as colds, flu, strep throat, and stomach bugs! Now who wouldn’t want to sign up for that benefit immediately?
Probiotics help strengthen the lining of the digestive tract by not allowing bad bacteria to pass through and enter the bloodstream. Think of it as armor for your child’s immune system. And as mentioned above, if your child does get sick, he/she will likely experience less severe symptoms because of the probiotics!
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Remember to take it slow at first and gradually build up to the recommended dose. This allows your child’s digestive system to get used to the probiotics and not cause any discomfort. You can mix your child’s probiotics with water, juice, milk, yogurt, or any of your child’s other favorite foods (be sure not to mix the probiotics in warm/hot foods or liquids, or you will risk killing the healthy bacteria and rendering your probiotics useless).