The word bacteria can strike fear in any mother. But did you know that your baby's growth and development depends on the presence of trillions of good bacteria in his gut? Read on to find out more.
Just the mention of the word bacteria is enough to strike panic in many mums. After all, aren’t they the monstrous microscopic creatures that cause their children to fall sick?
They are dangerous little things and must be rid of, right? Actually no, not quite.
There are some bacteria that are absolutely essential to help support your child’s healthy gut, which can affect his total well-being. These “good” or friendly bacteria help support the functions of his gut such as digesting his food, protecting him from infection-causing bad bacteria and influencing his mood, thus supporting his physical and mental well-being.
Where do the good bacteria live?
Here is an astonishing fact: The microbes in our body outnumber human cells by 10:13, and majority of them live in our gut. In fact, taken together, the gut microbiota (all the microbes in the gut) weighs more than the brain2.
Given this rather large concentration of bacteria in our bodies, it is logical to assume that they do actually play a rather important role in the functioning of our bodies, right from birth.
What do the good bacteria do?
One of the main, and most obvious, functions that the bacteria in your baby’s gut perform is to support digestion.
However, that is just one of the things that your baby’s gut does. It is central to your baby’s overall health and well-being because it impacts his physical growth and brain development through nutrient absorption, builds his natural defences, as well as influences his mood.
Research is increasingly linking digestive health to overall health11. Here is how your baby’s healthy gut microbiota positively impacts his gut health and total well-being.
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