4 Tips for Taking Care of Your Children's Microbiota

Taking care of children's microbiota is easy if a series of simple and practical tips are implemented. Keep reading!
4 Tips for Taking Care of Your Children's Microbiota

Last update: 01 May, 2022

Taking care of your children’s microbiota is key to maintaining good intestinal health. This is a group of “good” bacteria that inhabit the digestive tract and condition its functioning. If they’re not preserved, other populations of harmful bacteria overgrow and develop unpleasant symptoms or more complex diseases.

It should be noted that it’s important to pay attention to your children’s microbiota from the earliest stages of life. Breastfeeding alone will have a positive influence on the composition of the baby’s intestinal flora. Therefore, as much as possible, breastfeeding should be offered at least during the first year of life.

Tips for taking care of your children’s microbiota

Here are the main tips for taking care of your child’s microbiota in an efficient way. However, in the case of suffering intestinal symptoms, it may be best to consult a specialist to attack the source of the problem.

1. Introduce yogurt into their diet

Yogurt, along with other fermented dairy products, is a food with a high nutritional density that should appear in the daily diet.

This food has proven to be able to generate several health benefits, some of them related to its exquisite supply of proteins of a high biological value and calcium. But also because it has beneficial probiotic bacteria that selectively colonize the digestive tract.

A mother and daughter eating yogurt.
Natural yogurts are an excellent source of probiotics. They should always be preferred over commercial options, which contain sugar and other potentially harmful additives.

2. Don’t forget about fiber

Another key aspect to achieve good microbiota is to increase fiber intake. There’s a portion of it, known as soluble fiber, which stands out as an energetic substrate for the bacteria that live in the intestine. This is evidenced by research published in the journal Nutrients.

In fact, experts recommend a total intake of about 25 grams of fiber each day to maintain good digestive health. The bad news is that most diets fail to meet that requirement. Including apples and oats on a regular basis will help quite a bit.

3. Beware of trans fats

The quality of fats contained in foods can influence the composition of the microbiota. As a general rule, it’s best to prioritize cis-type fats, which are present in fresh foods. These can keep inflammation in the internal environment under control, which prevents the development of chronic and complex diseases over the years.

But in addition to the above, it’s important to restrict the intake of trans fatty acids, which abound especially in ultra-processed or industrial foodstuffs. These are generated by subjecting lipids to high temperatures, mainly those of low quality, such as palm oil.

4. Help them to sleep 8 hours a day

There are hardly any doubts about the bidirectional connection between the intestine and the brain, as what happens in one organ affects the other in a decisive way. For this reason, it’s key to get adequate sleep and keep stress levels under control in order to avoid unfavorable changes in the intestinal microbiota.

Some therapies, such as meditation or even avoiding the use of cell phones before going to sleep, will make a difference.

It’s also worth mentioning the option of including a melatonin supplement in the diet. This isn’t always advisable for young children, but doctors may recommend it for children over 5 years of age. There are certain products in pharmacies that can help improve the quality of rest without side effects, but you must have the endorsement of your doctor before purchasing them.

A father reading a story to his daughter as she falls asleep.
Ensuring a good night’s rest in a quiet environment away from screens is a key factor to preserving the microbiota and improving overall health.

Apply these tips to care for your children’s microbiota

As you have seen, the tips that can be put in place to take care of your children’s microbiota are simple. In this way, you’ll be able to reduce the incidence of developing intestinal diseases in the medium term. For example, obesity, diabetes, allergies, or intolerances to certain nutrients or foods. All this will have a positive impact on their well-being.

Finally, remember that there’s always the possibility of introducing a probiotic or prebiotic supplement into the diet. However, you should first consult with a specialist to choose the most appropriate option.

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  • Kok, C. R., & Hutkins, R. (2018). Yogurt and other fermented foods as sources of health-promoting bacteria. Nutrition reviews76(Suppl 1), 4–15. Disponible en: https://doi.org/10.1093/nutrit/nuy056
  • Cronin, P., Joyce, S. A., O’Toole, P. W., & O’Connor, E. M. (2021). Dietary Fibre Modulates the Gut Microbiota. Nutrients13(5), 1655. Disponible en: https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13051655