Probiotics and Family Gut Health

After dealing with my digestive issues, due to intolerances such as wheat, gluten, and eggs, as well as my leaky gut, I made changes that significantly improved my gut health. I became intentional about my kids’ gut health, too.

Probiotics have been a part of our daily diet for a while now, and I have noticed that my kids hardly have stomach problems, such as lose stool or constipation. They have regular bowel movement every day, and their immunity is, by God’s grace, pretty good. Titus used to have eczema flare ups which have been significantly minimized as well. He also does his part to avoid food with MSG in it because it’s a trigger for him.

Elijah recently got the flu, but he hasn’t been sick like this in years! I think it’s because I overscheduled my kids while Edric and I were away traveling for two weeks.

Why are probiotics essential?

If you don’t already know this, according to Web MD, “Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts that are good for you, especially your digestive system. We usually think of these as germs that cause diseases. But your body is full of bacteria, both good and bad. Probiotics are often called ‘good’ or ‘helpful’ bacteria because they help keep your gut healthy.” In other words, they maintain the right balance of bacteria in the body.

Some time ago, my test results revealed that I had excessive candida in my gut (sounds so gross!), so my functional medicine doctor recommended that I take probiotics with Lactobacillus Rhamnosus.

Currently, I am taking:

Pills work better for me because I have to avoid certain foods (even if they do contain probiotics), and they are approved by my OB-Gyne as well. Plus, I have to try my best to stay away from foods that are high in refined sugar and certain fruits that are very sweet.

However, the rest of my family doesn’t have the same problem as I do, so here’s where they get their probiotics from:

1. Yoghurt. Edric and my kids enjoy yoghurt. They eat it as a snack if it isn’t served for breakfast. My older boys also like Greek Yoghurt parfaits.

2. Milk. They drink Friso Four everyday, which has probiotics in it which is one of the reasons why it’s been easier on my kids’ tummies.

3. Kimchi. Korean food is a big favorite in our household, and my kids devour loads of kimchi every time we serve this cuisine.

4. Erceflora Probibears. The kids like the taste. They say it’s similar to the flavor of a milk shake. I need to stop Catalina from eating more than one of these a day!

5. Other fermented foods —

Dark chocolate (Woohoo!)

Atchara (Teach your kids to eat this Filipino staple.)

Miso (Yes, what’s in Miso soup. Yummy!) Sour pickles (Another favorite in our burgers, but they have to be ones brined in water and sea salt and not vinegar) Raw and unpasteurized cheeses from cow or goat’s milk) such as cheddar, feta, Gouda, provolone, Edam, Emmental and Gruyere. I can’t eat a lot of these while pregnant because they aren’t pasteurized but it’s okay for the kids.

It’s rare for us to eat a lot of sourdough, tempeh, kefir, and Kombucha but these are options, too.

Don’t take gut health lightly. We need to keep our intestines, specifically the small intestines, working well for the following four reasons:

⁃ They are responsible for absorbing essential nutrients (calcium, magnesium, and iron), as well as vitamins and carbohydrates.

⁃ If our intestines have good absorption, then our intestinal cells will be healthy which positively affects our colon.

⁃ The intestines fight off bad bacteria or harmful substances from entering the body. It’s a defense system.

⁃ Cell membranes in the intestine protect the stomach from bad bacteria, saliva, and gastric acids.

For more info read about the functions of the small intestine here: (http://www.ivyroses.com/HumanBody/Digestion/Function-of-the-Small-Intestine.php)

The good news is, it only takes three to four days to replenish your bacteria flora! This is according to Gina Sam, MD, MPH, Director of the Mount Sinai Gastrointestinal Motility Center at The Mount Sinai Hospital.

So if you or your kids have been suffering from stomach issues or even health issues, you might want to consider introducing probiotics into your family’s diet. Within two weeks, you are bound to see some changes if you also eliminate foods that mess up the balance of good bacteria…like…no surprise here…sugar. If probiotics cause constipation for you, you can always eat prunes. This always helps me!

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