“A healthy intestinal tract leads to a long life.” – Dr Minoru Shirota
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), stomach problems are among the leading causes of death in young children. In underdeveloped countries, the lack of proper nutrition is the leading cause of stomach problems, closely followed by an unclean environment.
However, in recent years, medical and technological developments have made it possible for children, including those from economically-challenged backgrounds, to fight serious stomach ailments. This is why a lot of schools and communities have programs designed to provide young children with probiotics.
What are Probiotics?
Probiotics are fundamentally good bacteria found in the intestinal tract. These are known to boost immunity. However, for children who do not eat regularly or are quite picky with food, such bacteria fail to thrive well. This makes children prone to tummy aches, diarrhoea, and constipation.
However, the regular consumption of probiotics can automatically increase the number of good bacteria in the body. The best sources of probiotics come in different forms.
Different Sources of Probiotics
In Asia, most people get their probiotics from fermented food and drinks like kimchi, kombucha, natto, and miso (which is used in all traditional Japanese restaurants serving these). Meanwhile, in Europe, the familiar sources are sauerkraut, pickles, tempeh, and kefir. But, all around the world, perhaps the most popular probiotic supplement is the yoghurt drink which children love.
The great thing about yoghurt drinks is that they’re affordable, and the little ones just need a small bottle every day for good health. However, because these are milk-based, some lactose-intolerant children cannot consume them.
Thankfully, there are so many other probiotic products to choose from. Some are tasteless, odourless, and colourless. Therefore, it’s easy to make picky children take these as a health maintenance solution or as a medicine against diarrhoea or constipation.
How to Make Kids Consume More Probiotics
Getting the little ones to eat or drink what’s good for them is not always easy, but with a few clever tricks, you can improve their health without them knowing it. Here are a few ideas you can try.
1. Turn yoghurt drinks into fruit smoothies.
Add a different layer of taste to yoghurt drinks by adding colourful fruits to them and blending them into smoothies. The drink will turn into a rich and frothy beverage, which a lot of young children gravitate to.
2. Create a yoghurt popsicle.
You can follow the same procedure for making a fruit smoothie for this one. However, prepare popsicle moulds and place the smoothie in the freezer to serve as a frozen snack for the little ones between meals.
3. Add a vial of colourless probiotic to your children’s water or other beverages.
The nutritional or health benefits of probiotics will not get compromised even if you add them to a glass of beverage. So, if your little one is wary about taking anything that looks like medicine, just add a vial or two of colourless probiotic to any drink your child has to consume. You can add this supplement or probiotic medicine for kids to lemonade, chocolate drink, and even tea.
4. Prepare kimchi pancakes.
Tone down the pungent smell and sour flavour of kimchi by turning it into pancakes. Slice the kimchi into small pieces and then add flour, green onions, seasoning, and a bit of water for a fluffy and yummy fried jeon (pancake).
Make sure to make the edges crispy because crispy kimchi pancake is actually a suitable replacement for regular potato chips. Or, you can just roll the kimchi batter into small balls, and the little ones can eat them like meatballs.
Bid Tummy Woes and Other Health Issues Goodbye
When your kids take probiotics regularly, you will notice that the occurrence of tummy issues gradually lessens. They’ll complain less about any discomfort and loose bowel movement.
But apart from better stomach health, you can also expect other health improvements such as an improvement in their skin condition. A healthier gut due to probiotics has been proven to prevent eczema flare-ups. There is less itchiness, flakiness, and redness of the skin.
A lot of people also report lower susceptibility to common illnesses such as cough and colds. This is because having more good bacteria in the system can also improve the body’s ability to absorb essential nutrients from the food eaten and supplements taken every day.
Meanwhile, parents of children diagnosed with ADHD claim that with a healthier gut, their children are less irritable and have a more agreeable mood overall.
To wrap it all up, if you want better health for your children, it’s never too early to introduce them to probiotics and make taking these a daily habit. However, do take the time to identify the types of probiotics that are most effective for them. This way, you can avoid unnecessary protestations.