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The first few уеаrѕ of a сhіld’ѕ life аrе сruсіаl fоr рrореr mісrоbіоmе development, especially as solid foods are introduced. And there is now evidence to suggest that there may be a link between an unstable “gut microbiome” and a toddler’s temperament. In this study, researchers found that toddlers with the most diverse gut bacteria were more likely to be happy, curious and extroverted, especially boys.
According to The Ohio State University study’s co-author Dr. Michael Bailey, there is definitely communication between bacteria in the gut and the brain, but to what extent is still to be determined. It is impossible to say whether the bacteria actually caused the behaviour, or whether other factors are responsible for the link seen.
Our gut іѕ the centre of everything and is a hugе ecosystem оf a trillion bacteria. Healthy humans have up to 500 difference species of bacteria in their guts. However, the way we live today can have a negative influence on our gut flora by reducing the variety of flora which allows for overgrowth of “bad” bacteria.
In addition to regulating the immune system in the maturing brain, the gut also manufactures neurotransmitters throughout the lifetime. More than 90 percent of your body’s serotonin and 50 percent of your body’s dopamine are produced in your gut, along with about 30 other neurotransmitters.
So what can we do to improve the gut health of our children?
5 Steps to Better Gut Health
- Eat fermented foods such as yoghurt (can be non-dairy), kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, pickles daily
- Eat Wholefoods – enjoy a wide variety of foods including meat, vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds, good fats and whole grains. A colourful diet is a nutritious one.
- Eat lots of vegetables (5+ servings daily) which are full of fibre. Fibre will nourish our gut and feed the healthy microflora. Fibre is also useful in reducing constipation.
- Avoid unnecessary antibiotics and if your child needs antibiotics give a course of a multi-strain probiotic for a month afterwards
- Remove inflammatory foods such as sugar, additives and preservatives. Try introducing healing foods such as bone broth to your child’s diet as healing the gut lining if essential to reducing gut inflammation.
1. Kresser, Chris. “Is It The “Terrible Twos”? Or Is It A Disrupted Gut Microbiome?”. Chris Kresser. N.p., 2017. Web. 4 Mar. 2017.
2. Lisa M. Christian, Jeffrey D. Galley, Erinn M. Hade, Sarah Schoppe-Sullivan, Claire Kamp Dush, Michael T. Bailey. Gut microbiome composition is associated with temperament during early childhood. Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, 2015; 45: 118 DOI: 10.1016/j.bbi.2014.10.018