I’ve been lucky enough to meet Jess from NATURAL SUPER KIDS who has written this guest blog for us and our community as I know we’re all interested in the health benefits of outdoor nature play for our kids.
Here’s a bit of background:
THE FOUNDER OF NATURAL SUPER KIDS
“I HELP BUSY MUMS RAISE SUPER KIDS WITH HEALTHY FOOD + NATURAL MEDICINE
As a Naturopath I have an intricate understanding of how the body works and natural therapies that can help support optimum health in our children. (many of which are already in your kitchen 🙂 )
In my clinical work, I’ve helped hundreds of parents to transform their children’s health. My results have been from minor issues like getting picky kids to eat a more varied diet to helping clients to navigating chronic issues like cystic fibrosis and everything in between from eczema to tummy issues.”
Why is our Kid’s Gut health important?
Gut health is the foundation of health and well-being, especially for your kids. If digestion isn’t working properly, every other system in the body is affected. But if digestive issues are addressed, it can have a positive flow-on effect for mood, immunity, behaviour and more.
Your child’s gut health affects their overall health in 6 main ways.
For kids to absorb the nutrients from the food they eat, they need to have a healthy digestive tract. You could feed them the most nutrient-dense diet possible, but if their gut health isn’t up to scratch, they might not get those nutrients in.
The digestive tract is also responsible for most of the elimination that takes place. The body will send waste out through the bowel movements.
But if the gut isn’t working optimally, you will reabsorb the waste back into the body. This means a greater toxic load for the body to deal with, which can lead to a host of other complications.
Appetite & food preferences
When I work with my clients in clinic, I often get the feedback that kids accept a wider variety of foods after working on their gut health.
This is because an overgrowth of bad bacteria in the gut can increase sugar cravings, making it difficult to get nutritious foods into your kids.
There is a very close relationship between the immune system and the gut. In fact, 70-80% of the immune system is located in the gut! So it’s no surprise that a healthy gut plays a key role in protecting us from infections and illness.
The gut also places an important role in regulating the immune system. A lack of diversity in the gut bacteria has been associated with issues such as allergies, intolerances and atopic conditions like eczema and asthma. But a balanced microbiome could protect against and reduce the risk of developing these conditions.
Mood, behaviour & sleep
The gut and the brain are directly connected by a nerve, the vagus nerve. Using the vagus nerve, the bacteria in the gut are able to communicate with the brain.
Mood, behaviour and sleep are all reliant on balanced levels of brain chemicals and a healthy balance of these brain chemicals is dependant on a healthy gut!
How does outdoor play help boost our Kid’s gut health?
There are many diet and lifestyle factors that have led to the decline in the diversity of our gut bacteria and our more sedentary, indoor lifestyle has a big part to play.
Early exposure to microbes is thought to reduce our children’s risk to allergies and atopic conditions such as eczema. Research shows that Kid’s who grow up on farms or with pets are less likely to develop these conditions.
When Kid’s are outside they are exposed to different microbes in the environment which helps increase the bacterial diversity in their gut. This important microbe exposure doesn’t occur when Kid’s are inside in more sterile environments.
Vitamin D from sunlight has also been shown to have a beneficial effect on microbiome diversity.
Where do we start with our Kids Gut Health?
There is a lot to consider when we are looking at our Kid’s gut health and there is a lot of information out there that is confusing and overwhelming.
When we look at the research the MOST important thing to focus on is diversity in the gut bacteria. Basically the more different species of beneficial bacteria our kids have in their gut the better.
Compared to the hunter-gatherer days, our Gut diversity has HALVED and this is thought to be contributing to an increase in many modern-day childhood conditions including allergies, eczema, asthma, A.D.H.D and Autism!
Want to learn more about your Kid’s Gut health?
Come along to Jess’s free masterclass on March 3rd – 3 Proven ways To Transform Your Kid’s GUT HEALTH to improve Behaviour, Immunity, Allergies and Fussy Eating.
Register below for the free masterclass