We know that fibre is good for your child's digestive system, but did you know that prebiotics are too? So what are prebiotics and what role do they play in you child's health?
Prebiotics are carbohydrates that are not digested or absorbed in the small intestine but remain intact through the digestive tract to reach the large intestine where they essentially serve as food for the beneficial bacteria (microflora) that resides there.
Alongside fibre, they play an important role in maintaining your child's healthy digestive system.
Did you know?
Dietary fibre is found in vegetables, fruits, whole grains and legumes. Experts recommend giving your child a diet rich in dietary fibre. It regulates the digestive process, helps your child avoid constipation, keeps a balanced medium in his digestive tract and helps him avoid abdominal distress like abdominal pain, diarrhoea and infections. It is important that children more than one year old get plenty of fibre.
Importance of prebiotics in child nutrition
From the time your child begins to crawl, and as he learns to walk and run, curiosity drives much of his activity. He will touch, and even taste, whatever he can get his hands on. This exposes your child to all kinds of bacteria and microbes that can cause stomach upset, irregular bowel movements and diarrhoea that can be severe at times. Prebiotics play a role in treating constipation in children, and research shows that they also can help protect the gut from harmful micro organisms that can lead to intestinal infections.
One good way to help your child stay healthy and keep his immune system strong is to choose his foods wisely and make sure that they include prebiotics.
Good to know
Prebiotics help improve mineral absorption and balance in the body.
Where can you find Prebiotics?
Prebiotics are found naturally in fruits and vegetables such as tomatoes, bananas, berries, onions, garlic, artichoke, asparagus, chicory and spinach; it also is in grains such as wheat and barley; legumes, including lentils, kidney beans, chickpeas, navy beans and soy beans, and specialised milk fortified with prebiotics.
(This article is developed by the NIDO® Child Development Expert Panel)