Please Note: The following is the first in a series of blog posts that highlight health, wellness, and nutrition. While each post is carefully written and researched, please consult your personal physician prior to making any changes regarding your own health and wellness.
We’ve all heard the adage that “you are what you eat.” But, did you know that there is actually quite a bit of truth to that saying, and that what you put into your gut can boost your overall health!
According to the NYU Medical Center, a healthy digestive system directly correlates to greater health. In fact, the stomach is considered the “front line defense system” of the human body.
“All foods we eat are in communication with immune receptors in the digestive tract,” says Dr. Lisa Ganjhu, clinical assistant professor of medicine at NYU Medical Center. “[This] triggers hormones and various cell types that help the body with its immune function.”
But, beyond maintaining a healthy diet, staying active, and steering clear of germs, there is another key factor in one’s overall wellness: probiotics.
What Are Probiotics?
Probiotics are good bacteria that are essential to basic human nutrition. The more than 500 species of bacteria naturally found in the digestive tract reduce the growth of harmful bacteria, and can prevent sickness.
“When probiotics are abundant in your body, it’s harder for bacteria that cause illness to get a foothold,” says Dr. Oz. “[They can] also keep you healthy by making bacteriocins, which suppress the growth of harmful bacteria.”
Another benefit of probiotics is helping to maintain proper levels of healthy bacteria when a person is being treated with antibiotics. This has become standard practice among doctors, as more and more recommend the use of probiotics when writing a prescription for amoxicillin, augmentin, or other antibiotics.
“As soon as you start taking antibiotics, start taking probiotics,” says Dr. Andrew Weil. “[Take them] twice a day with meals and continue for a few days after you finish your prescribed therapy.”
At Preschool of Rock, we work with children on a daily basis. As any preschool or elementary school teacher will tell you, it’s nearly impossible to stay clear of germs in a classroom setting. However, probiotics can certainly help save one from calling out sick.
“After being on a series of antibiotics a few years ago, I became very, very sick,” says Preschool of Rock founder Michael Napolitano. “I eventually learned that I wasn’t getting enough ‘good bacteria’ and needed to rebuild my digestive system.”
Mr. Michael has been using probiotics for the past two years, and has noticed a dramatic change – his frequency of sickness has drastically reduced.
“I really believe in the use of probiotics,” he says. “I’ve continued to take them on a daily basis and have noticed a significant change.”
Probiotics for Children
Probiotics are also proving to be useful for children. In fact, many experts recommend a daily serving of one-quarter teaspoon of commercially available probiotics for children. Of course, you should always consult your pediatrician before beginning this course of action.
Pediatricians consider the benefits of probiotics for children to be as great as in adults – they are the “little soldiers” that “strengthen the intestinal lining so that bad bugs can’t cross into the bloodstream.”
“We give probiotics to our children as well,” says Mr. Michael. “We went all winter without a single illness. No vomiting. No strep throat. Not even an upset stomach. It’s been a total game changer.”
We want all of our little friends to be as safe and healthy as possible. While we do support the use of probiotics, we urge you to speak with a physician prior to using them.
For more information on the safe use of probiotics, as well as scholarly findings on their benefits, please visit the following websites:
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