This week Catherine, one of our fantastic nutritionists, and Lisa, our expert Paediatric Pelvic Health Physio went live on Instagram, chatting to us about all things gut health – what it is, why it’s important for you and your family, signs of constipation in your kids, things to eat for a healthy gut, and much more. Here are a few of their key takeaways:
What is the microbiome?
Gut Bugs! The trillions of bacteria, fungi, viruses and yeast that live in our gut. They all work together, synergistically, to keep us healthy.
Benefits of a diverse gut microbiome are: improving heart, kidney, brain and liver health. A diverse gut microbiome can also boost metabolism, immunity, mood and help with autoimmune disease, diabetes and depression. Read more about improving your microbiome here.
What are probiotics?
The live bacteria shown to have beneficial effects on health. They are often referred to as ‘good bacteria’ or ‘friendly bacteria’ and can be found in the following foods:
· Live yoghurt
What are prebiotics?
Prebiotics are non-digestible foods which support the growth of the probiotics in the gut. Examples of prebiotics include artichokes, leeks, onions, garlic, asparagus and other plant-based foods.
How can I improve my gut health?
The best way to support your gut microbiome is to eat a diverse diet with plenty of plant-based foods. There is evidence to suggest that including at least 30 different plant-based foods (this could be anything from herbs and spices, to lentils and grains) in your diet each week supports a diverse gut microbiome.
Do I need to take a probiotic supplement?
Probiotic supplements usually contain just 1 or 2 strains of the good bacteria. Eating a varied and balanced diet including plenty of plant-based foods is a more effective way of improving the diversity of your gut microbiome for most of us. Having said that, there is some evidence that probiotic supplements can be beneficial in managing IBS symptoms, helping to avoids traveller’s diarrhoea and for those taking antibiotics however the specific strains are important. It’s a good idea to get individual support from a Registered Dietitian or Nutritionist to ensure you’re taking the right probiotic for you.
One cause of constipation can be a poor gut microbiome.
A large number of children are constipated without parents realising as their child poos daily – a few signs of this are:
– disproportionately large poos
– small hard poos
– tummy ache
– lethargy (this can be a sign of other things so please consult your GP)
– never feeling hungry (this can be a sign of other things so please consult your GP)
– still wearing a nappy to poo when they have been potty trained a long time
– hiding to poo in the nappy
A paediatric pelvic health physio can help you manage these symptoms.
Overall, focusing on your child’s gut health is an essential part of maintaining their overall health and ability to thrive in this world.