The Difference Between Probiotics, Prebiotics and Antibiotics
They sound the same, but probiotics, prebiotics and antibiotics play different roles in helping parents raise happy, healthy kids. The key is microflora and the balance between good and bad bacteria in the digestive system.
What You Need To Know About Good and Bad Gut Bacteria
Did you know that not all bacteria is bad for you? In fact, the digestive tract contains microflora, which is made up of both good and bad bacteria. The human body contains more bacteria (microflora) than living cells. This microflora needs to be in good balance to help us stay healthy. However, all sorts of environmental factors can leave things imbalanced, which can lead to diarrhoea, constipation and even allergies and other health issues. It’s simple.
Too much bad bacteria causes infections, whereas an abundance of good bacteria helps fight off the bad ones. That means balancing the microflora can help your child maintain a healthy immune system.
What Are Probiotics?
Probiotics are good bacteria (live microorganisms) that can help restore the balance of microflora in your child. They occur naturally in the body, but you can also add them to your child’s diet with
a supplement or certain food types. Many fermented foods such as yoghurt and kefir use lactobacilli as an acidifying agent and have shown to possess protective qualities. Not all probiotics are created equal, and for a probiotic to remain beneficial for your children, it must be consumed live and remain intact throughout the digestive processes.
What Are Prebiotics?
Prebiotics are food ingredients that, when eaten, reduce bad bacteria and increase good bacteria in the digestive system. Onions, garlic, banana, asparagus, leeks, and other fruits and vegetables contain prebiotic sugars that feed good bacteria and help it grow.
What Are Antibiotics?
Antibiotics are medicines that your paediatrician prescribes to treat infections and disease. They kill bad bacteria so that your child’s immune system has a fighting chance against bacterial infections. Sometimes, they can kill good bacteria too, which is why you should give your child probiotics to boost good bacteria and prevent complications from antibiotic use, such as antibiotic associated diarrhoea. Look out for strains that include Lactobacilli reuteri, Bifidobacterium lactis, Bifidobacterium longum, as these have shown specific beneficial effects in children.
Raise Healthy Kids With Probiotics, Prebiotics and Antibiotics
By boosting good bacteria, you are keeping your little one healthy. The next time you are prescribed a dose of antibiotics, remember to ask your doctor for a course of probiotics too. Also remember that it’s not just antibiotics that deplete good bacteria. Other infections and bad eating habits can also add to this depletion. By giving your child pre- and probiotic rich foods, such as cereals, fresh bananas and other fruits and vegetables, you can play a key role in preventing diarrhoea, constipation, other infections and even allergies