Your gastrointestinal tract (your gut) harbours a community of microbes – the good gut bugs - that play a central role in many aspects of health and are particularly important for maintaining your digestive wellbeing and immune health. Much like the human body, the gut microbiome grows and changes across time and context but never loses its importance - it is a foundational aspect of health for us all.
Why does gut health matter throughout different stages of your life?
When born, you’re relatively sterile - your only interaction with good or bad bugs the last nine months are inside the safety of the womb.
It’s during the first three years of life that you develop the foundations of your adult microbiome.
This developmental stage of your microbiome is influenced by several factors including:
- The makeup of your parents' microbiome
- Birth method (i.e. vaginal or caesarean)
- Feeding practices (i.e. breastfed or formula fed)
- Dietary intake (i.e. dietary fibre)
- Antibiotic use
- Environment factors
The combination of these factors can either support or impede the development of a healthy gut and contribute to a child's development, digestion, nutritional wellbeing, immune function, and brain health.
This early developmental stage is crucial for setting up the foundations of your wellbeing later in life but can be positively influenced by dietary intake, lifestyle choices, and the addition of digestive aid - probiotics and prebiotics at any age or stage.
The good news? You can enhance your microbiome for greater species diversity, and ultimately support your whole wellbeing. With a healthy diet and the helping hand of probiotic and prebiotic supplements, you can maintain your healthy gut microbiota during childhood and adult years, supporting gut resilience and long-term health.
3 tips for fostering good gut health for your whole family
- Eat a wholefood diet rich in the foods our microbes love
For our little ones, this means feeding them breast milk or a formula that contains prebiotics similar to those found in breast milk. These prebiotics are special fibres that feed our good bugs and set up the foundations of our inner microbial rainforest. For the rest of your family, eat as many different coloured fruits, legumes and vegetables as you can. These are the foods that our microbes absolutely love and thrive on.
- Take a daily probiotic
For infants, this can be as easy as adding a specialised kids probiotic to their formula or favourite foods. Look for a product with strains that support their immune system and contains prebiotics to help with the growth of good bacteria. For adults eating fermented foods like kimchi and sauerkraut in conjunction with taking a probiotic supplement is one of the easiest ways to foster microbial diversity and richness within.
- Create your inner healthy environment from the top down
For a lot of us this simply means chewing our food well - ideally until liquid. Many of us rush our meals and as a result hinder our gut health by inhibiting our body from breaking down our food before our good gut bugs feed on it. If you already chew until liquid and eat in a calm environment, the addition of digestive enzymes, bile support and hydrochloric acid in supplement form, like BePure’s Digest Assist, can be a big win for feeling good from the inside out.