They cover everything, and are responsible for a lot more activity than we may notice. The human body alone is covered in multiple strains of microbes, both inside and out.
The building of the micriobiome is influenced by a couple of different factors:
Our birth environment.
Our genetic/epigenetic expression
The kind of diet we consume (high-glycemic, low glycemic)
You are what you eat takes on a whole new meaning as a mom.
When I talk about ‘our birth environment’, I am referring to everything that leads up to when we give birth. If we consume sugar-heavy diets while we are pregnant, this can actually mold our new infant’s “tastes” so to speak.
Now, it is ideal to have a healthy microbiome before you become pregnant, for all parties involved. But when that doesn’t happen, how do we support our children after the fact?
Drop the hand sanitizer!
We’ve never had a society so attached to their hand sanitizing gels and wipes. It’s important to maintain cleanliness, especially if you are in public places and your child is being exposed to a multitude of microbes. But overusing the cleansing products can be damaging to your child’s external (and internal) microbiome. You don’t have to avoid it entirely, but opting out for a healthier cleaning product may be best.
Let them play with dirt!
When Jude was old enough to sit up, I brought in a bucket of soil from the backyard for Jude to play with (it was winter). The old me would have looked at me now and said, “Are you insane? Dirt? In the HOUSE??”.
It’s important to expose our little ones to reliable sources of soil and the great outdoors for the best microbial balance. A fairly recent study run on how being in contact with soil affects our own microbial expression resulted in finding that a particular microbe, M.Vaccae, actually improves anxiety.
Feed the machine…the right foods.
When there is a steady diet of simple carbohydrates (such as pastas, crackers, etc.), there is the risk of developing an overgrowth such as Candida. Candida Albicans, a pathogenic genus of yeast, can actually influence our disposition and cause mood swings. We always have a bit of Candida present at any given time, but if we consume a higher-glycemic diet, we can encourage it to grow.
Keeping your child’s diet as low-glycemic as possible will not only help to avoid this, but also help support their little bodies with the nutrition that they need!
Protect the inner ecosystem with the right probiotics.
It’s not always easy to figure out what probiotic is right for your child (and you may even have had some not-so-good experiences with some brands!). If you have not exposed your little to any regular form of probiotics just yet, or if they have exhibited some sensitivities lately, it might be best to start them out with probiotic food first.
Check out my blog post about incorporating probiotic apple sauce!
Getting in the greens.
A regular intake of some form of greens (raw and cooked) is food for your microbes! What protects you needs to eat too, and organic greens and root veggie tops (like carrot tops) are perfect for this. Prebiotic foods keep the good bacteria you have introduced satiated and proliferating.
Where you buy your greens is crucial, since much of what is in the store is pulled from minerally-deficient soil and lacks a lot of nutrients it should have. Opt out instead to buy your greens locally.
Every day will be a little different, and the process will never be perfect, but I always try to expose Jude to the great outdoors every day for at least an hour. Letting your child explore, whether they be at the “I’m just going to chew everything” stage, or the “busy body” stage, will help strengthen their microbiome and improve their eating habits.
Struggling with getting everything on track, or still not sure where to start?
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