We are all are teeming with natural gut bacteria (a.k.a. gut flora) that have myriad functions including facilitating digestion and safeguarding against harmful diseases and allergies. In fact, nearly 75-80% of immune function originates in the gastrointestinal tract.
In this post we’ll give you the inside scoop on the inner workings of good gut health and helpful tips on keeping your child’s intestinal tract in tiptop shape.
Your baby’s gut flora begins at birth.
A recent New York Times article “Some of My Best Friends Are Germs,” explains that “most of the microbes that make up a baby’s gut community are acquired during birth” as a result of exposure to the mother’s vaginal and intestinal microbes. These acquired bacteria ignite the growth of the newborn’s gut flora.
In contrast, the article cautions that babies born by Caesarean are not exposed to their mother’s microbes at birth, which may lead to less than ideal immune system functioning and higher risks of allergies, asthma and autoimmune problems.
Optimize your baby’s gut before and after birth.
Gut health is largely dependent on the nutritional choices and environmental circumstances. Here are a few helpful tips to fortify your child’s digestive track from the get-go:
1. Green your womb.
GetzWell offers an integrative practice called “Greening the Womb” to women who are or wish to become pregnant. This process evaluates your nutritional needs, toxic exposures, sources of stress, prenatal/perinatal psychology, family health history, exercise, etc.—to deliver recommendations for a safe and healthy pregnancy.
“Greening your womb’ improves your child’s chance of optimal health for a lifetime. (To learn more, check out these previous posts: Greening the Womb Intro, Green the Womb, Part 2, Making Healthy Babies in a Toxic World: A Call to Action!).
2. Opt for natural childbirth.
We understand that there are situations in which C-sections are unavoidable. However, at GetzWell we always recommend natural childbirth if at all possible. As detailed above, the journey through the birth canal arms your baby with the natural bacteria required for building a strong and healthy gut.
3. Choose breastfeeding over formula.
Not only is breast milk chockfull of healthy nutrients and vitamins, it’s also a natural “prebiotic,” a food ingredient that stimulate the growth of healthy gut bacteria, and a “probiotic,” a source of beneficial bacteria. For a more in-depth look, check out our post Benefits of Breastfeeding.
4. Introduce your child to probiotic/prebiotic foods.
Certain kinds of foods promote good digestion, healthy gut bugs and optimal absorption of nutrients. From yogurt to miso to pickled veggies, here are 10 probiotic-rich foods you can introduce as your child’s taste buds develop and mature. Also beneficial are prebiotic foods which include asparagus, Jerusalem artichokes, bananas, oatmeal, onion, jicama, honey, maple syrup, and legumes.
We’re gut experts.
For more information on good gut health and optimizing immune function, or if you wish to learn more about our Greening the Womb approach, please contact us any time at 415.826.1701 or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. We also provide pharmaceutical grade probiotics for sale in the office.