Probiotics, prebiotics and their benefits

Probiotics and prebiotics are a very popular subject in health forums these days. The role they play in fostering the growth of friendly intestinal flora in your kid’s intestines is just now being given the credit it deserves.

What’s all the fuss about?

Both of these components care for your child’s intestine (where most of the food digestion occurs) preventing unwanted substances and food particles from entering the bloodstream. Probiotics and prebiotics assist in balancing the intestinal flora (making it resistant against infections), fighting the effects of slow digestion by avoiding gas and rebuilding the bacterial flora after diarrhea.

Specifically, probiotics are living microorganisms that aid in the overall intestinal health, promoting the development of beneficial bacteria, aiding the immune system and preventing diarrhea, constipation and excess gas. For these components to be effective, they must remain active in their transit through the digestive system so that they adhere to the gastric mucosa. What this means is that the probiotic must reach their site of action intact and in sufficient numbers for it to work effectively.

Prebiotics, on the other hand, are specialized plant fibers that help nourish the existing bacteria in your child’s gut, think of it as a fertilizer for the good bacteria. They help prevent allergies, strengthen the immune system and prevent digestive disorders (constipation, inflammation, etc.).

You can find probiotics and prebiotics in fruits and veggies and some growth formulas such as Nestlé ® Excella Gold. Be sure to include them in your one-year-old’s diet to ensure better health. When choosing a growth formula that contains some of the key ingredients we mentioned make sure to talk to your pediatrician to know which may suit your child best.

It’s important to add that The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends exclusive breastfeeding during the first 6 months of life, with continued breastfeeding along with appropriate complementary foods up to two years of age or beyond.

Sources:

  • http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-and-supplements/nutrition-vitamins-11/probiotics
  • http://www.who.int/nutrition/topics/exclusive_breastfeeding/en/
  • http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/consumer-health/expert-answers/probiotics/faq-20058065

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