The importance of digestive health is a buzz right now both in the media and the scientific community, where the health of digestive system bacteria is recognised as being essential to our overall health and wellbeing. We are not just what we eat, but what we absorb.
As parents, it’s really important that we understand how to best support a healthy microbiome (the good bugs that live in our gut), for our own wellness, but also for our precious kids. But why is the gut microbiome so important? A healthy digestive system is really essential for kids to be happy and healthy. There are many reasons why having a diverse range of gut bacteria is important for good health, but these are the most critical…
1. Nutrient absorption
The gut is how we all absorb the nutrients from our diet. So the healthier our gut is, the more nutrients we will absorb from the food we eat. In growing children, proper nutrient absorption is especially critical to support their growth and development. With many kids eating more processed foods (which are lower in nutrients) and the soil nutrient values in the whole foods available to us questionable, never has there been a more important time to ensure the gut is functioning optimally so our kids can absorb all the nutrition they need to grow and be well.
2. Elimination of waste
One of the gut’s primary roles is waste elimination and if kids don’t eliminate toxins regularly, it puts their body under undue stress. Proper bowl function is super important.
3. Immune health
With 70-80 per cent of the immune system residing in the gut, a healthy digestive system is really critical to help prevent kids picking up every bug that they come into contact with as well as protecting them from developing allergies and intolerances.
4. Brain and nervous system health
Many of our ‘feel good’ neurotransmitters are made by our microbiome, so a healthy gut can also support neurological and mental health. Low levels of these brain chemicals are linked to problems like depression, anxiety, behavioural issues, learning difficulties and so on. Think about when you feel stressed or anxious. Do you get butterflies or an unsettled feeling in your gut? This is the gut-brain axis at work.