“Good” gut bacteria play a key role not only in developing a healthy immune system in infants, but also in ensuring that the immune system functions properly. To confirm this, researchers analyzed stool samples from nearly 300 infants, age 1 month to 11 months old, finding three categories of bacterial and fungal makeup.
According to the National Institutes of Health, babies pick up beneficial microbiota (the colonies of bacteria that live in our gut) from their mothers in the birth canal. This microbiota are believed to be essential for the development of a healthy immune system and metabolism. (source)
When it comes to fostering a healthy microbiome in your child, exposure to dirt and germs is a good thing. Fighting off minor invaders is how the body builds a stronger immune system. Time spent in nature is wonderful for a child’s physical and emotional wellbeing.
Fermented foods such as kimchee and sauerkraut are loaded with probiotics, but we all know kids can be picky with such strong flavors. Encourage them to eat yogurt with live or active cultures. Kefir and kombucha are also good choices. Even some soft cheeses such as gouda and cottage cheese contain beneficial microbes.
Cutting back on refined sugar and some grains is essential to good gut health. Many people with seasonal allergies report major improvement when gluten-containing grains or even complete avoidance of grains and sugar is followed particularly during allergy season.