Baby Food With Probiotics

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The Baby Food With Probiotics blog serves as a platform to share insightful information and content relating to baby nutrition and growth. This blog will help parents make more informed choices when it comes to the food they feed their children. The idea is that you can have a happier baby, who sleeps better, has fewer allergies and less tummy troubles when they’re eating the right foods.

Baby Food With Probiotics

Probiotics are microorganisms, such as bacteria or yeast, that can be beneficial to your health. Some types of these microorganisms live in your body – in your intestines, for example. Probiotics are also found in food, such as some kinds of yogurt. They’re also available as dietary supplements, and some baby formulas even have added probiotics.

Some adults take probiotic supplements to help with digestive problems. Probiotics may also have benefits for infants, such as easing colic and treating diarrhea.

But there isn’t scientific evidence to support all the claims made in favor of probiotics. Before giving your baby a probiotic supplement or probiotic-enhanced formula, talk to your child’s doctor and do a little research.

Read on to find out how probiotics work and what the evidence shows about their benefits and safety.

How do probiotics work?

Your body hosts trillions of microorganisms, mostly bacteria, that are collectively known as your microbiome. Some types are considered harmful and others helpful, but ideally they coexist in balance with one another. When the balance is disturbed, resulting in too many “bad” bacteria, it can lead to diarrhea or other health problems.

Certain illnesses can upset the balance of bacteria in your intestines. So can taking antibiotics, which wipes out both good and bad bacteria. The body usually restores this balance on its own over time. But studies show that taking probiotics can sometimes help speed up this process and may prevent or ease certain symptoms.

How can probiotics help babies?

Probiotics may help infants with:

  • Diarrhea: There’s strong evidence that certain probiotics can help treat diarrhea caused by infection or antibiotics. One study showed that giving babies certain probiotics as soon as they started having diarrhea caused by a stomach virus shortened the course of illness by one day. There’s not as much evidence that probiotics can prevent diarrhea in babies.
  • Colic: The cause of colic is unknown, but some experts believe that it may be related to gas-producing bacteria and low numbers of a certain type of bacteria in a baby’s intestinal tract. Probiotics may reduce colic symptoms by tipping the balance in favor of good bacteria in the intestines. One study found that colicky, breastfed babies given a probiotic supplement cried for a shorter period of time each day than untreated infants within one week of starting the treatment. However, more studies are needed to confirm this effect.
  • Eczema: In another study, researchers gave probiotics to women with a history of eczema in their last months of pregnancy. They breastfed their babies and gave them probiotics for six months. By age 4 years, kids who received this treatment were almost half as likely to have eczema than those who didn’t. However, other studies found no benefit.

PROBIOTIC FOODS FOR KIDS

You might recognize yogurt as a source of live and active cultures, yet, you might not realize there are several other fermented foods from which to choose.

The six I list here are kid-friendly fermented foods with which your child may enjoy.

1. Yogurt (with Live Cultures)

Made from milk that has been fermented with bacteria, yogurt has been shown to help with diarrhea and irritable bowel syndrome in children.

Not all yogurt is equal, though. Some yogurts have live cultures, which means there are active probiotic strains within the yogurt. In other yogurts, the cultures have been killed during processing.

Tip: Choose yogurts with live or active cultures.

Here’s a guide for choosing the best yogurt for your child.

2. Kefir

Kefir is a fermented milk drink made by adding kefir grains to cow’s milk or goat’s milk. Personally, it’s one of my favorites and I’ve had great success introducing this option to kids, even picky eaters!

Even though kefir can have a sour flavor, many brands offer flavored versions like mango, strawberry and blueberry.

More potent than yogurt, kefir hosts a wide variety of gut-friendly probiotic strains. It’s also well-tolerated by people with lactose intolerance.

Tip: Offer a few ounces in the morning with breakfast.

3. Pickles

Pucker up! Pickles may be fermented in a solution of salt and water, or in a vinegar solution. Cucumbers pickled with salt and water ferment over time. Coupled with the naturally present lactic acid in cucumber, this produces active cultures and a sour flavor. Pickles made with vinegar are not a source of live and active cultures.

Tip: If you’ve never tried pickling cucumbers in salt and water, give it a whirl!

4. Buttermilk

Buttermilk may contain live, active cultures, however, the buttermilk products available in the grocery store may not contain live, active cultures due to processing. Always check the label for evidence of cultures. Cultured buttermilk can be made at home and is started with live, active cultures added to fresh milk or cream. The buttermilk is allowed to ferment, producing a cultured buttermilk.  Cultured buttermilk can be an addition to baked goods like biscuits and to make delicious pancakes.

5. Cheese

Most cheeses are fermented, but only some cheeses are a source of live cultures. You can find them by looking for a label that states “with live and active cultures.” Gouda, mozzarella, and cheddar cheese are examples that may contain living cultures.

6. Tempeh

Tempeh is a high protein meat substitute made from fermented soybeans. Fermentation lowers the phytic acid in beans, making nutrients like iron and zinc more available to the body for absorption. The process of fermentation also causes the production of vitamin B12, which is not typically present in beans, making tempeh a nutritious meat alternative for vegetarians.

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