Gut Health and Brain Development
The human body lives by the food that we eat, so it’s vital that we pay attention to what we ingest. This is especially important for babies and toddlers, as the gut takes two years to develop so anything that happens during that time can have a ripple effect for future gut health. Good gut health supports a baby’s growth and helps develop their brain and body.
One of the biggest red flags of developmental delay is a child being a picky eater. Children should be curious about and want to explore the world around them. Likes and dislikes are normal, of course, but not even trying new foods can point to a problem. It can mean that they are experiencing sensitivities to certain foods, like stomach pain or nausea. When a baby eats something that doesn’t agree with them, it can lead to stress on their internal organs.
Typically, we start seeing a child becoming a picky eater when protein is first introduced because it is a harder molecule to break down and can lead to stomach aches. If a child is in pain after they eat, of course they’re going to pull away from trying new foods or even eating altogether. That is why we need to be careful when we introduce certain foods. For example, the development of teeth is a key sign that there are enzymes now present to break down the new proteins.
Simple fruits and vegetables are generally easier for the baby to digest than the processed chemicals in jar baby food. Making baby food at home from vegetables is the best approach to ensure that your child is getting the most amount of the vitamins and nutrients they need.
With the formula shortage that we are experiencing right now, it is especially important to talk about gut health during the early stages of development. If formula is the route that you decide to go, I encourage you to consider your options. If you give birth at a hospital, you may not get an immediate say in what they feed your newborn.
I also encourage you to do some research, as many types of formula nowadays are synthetically generated. Many also contain soy, which can not only lead to an upset stomach, but can also be an endocrine disruptor since it is estrogen based. It’s important to do your research about the different options for formula, to compare ingredients and pay attention to how your child reacts to each one.
Much of the commercial grade formula also comes from cows that have been treated with RBST, a type of growth hormone. This growth hormone is used in a lot of our food supply, so it is important to be aware of what we’re ingesting. Try eating locally and in season when you can, which will have the added benefit of providing you with the freshest produce with the most amount of nutrients.
You could also make your own formula at home, using a non-pasteurized base to ensure the best amount of enzymes and good bacteria. Pasteurization and artificial foods are a big part of the reason children have sensitivities to things like cows milk.
It’s also important to make sure that the water that they’re ingesting is high quality, not only for drinking but also for bathing. The water we use for bathing literally absorbs into the bloodstream within 20 minutes.
Even the type of bottle being used is something to consider. Hot liquids in plastic bottles can literally cause all the synthetic chemicals in the bottle to leak into the liquid that is being ingested by your newborn.
Luckily, it is easier than ever to educate ourselves on what exactly goes into our food and thus, into our bodies. Each ingredient will either help or hurt, and our body’s depend on the food we eat to give us the energy to do everything that we do.
One of the best ways to encourage a picky eater is to let them play with their food. By physically touching it, they become more familiar with the tactile sensations so the texture is not a surprise when it is ingested. We also suggest growing your own food if you can, in your garden or with planter boxes. This is doubly effective, as it teaches children about where their food comes from, lets them play in the dirt and sun, and brings the whole family together.
One of the first things that we do here at Connect My Brain is a food log. We want to be aware of the food that you and your family are eating on a regular basis so we can begin to optimize gut health. With our help, you should start to see benefits such as more energy, weight loss, and clearer thinking. Call (678) 501-5172
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