Whole Story

The Official Whole Foods Market® Blog

Kids and Probiotics

Here’s a tidbit that will impress: Do you know that roughly 70% of your immune system is housed in your digestive tract? Okay, maybe that won’t impress everyone, but it sure impressed me. See, now that I am a parent, my health-seeking goals focus on my kids. I try not to obsess about germs, nutrition and naps too much, but let’s be honest; a sick kid is no fun for anyone. Especially in a sleep-deprived household.

Which brings me to probiotics. Meaning “for life,” probiotics, such as L. acidophilus and Bifidobacterium, aide our bodies in maintaining healthy levels of beneficial bacteria in the gut and intestines. These good bacteria are indispensable for young (and old) immune systems, good digestion and proper nutrient absorption.

Probiotics can be found in dietary supplements and certain types of foods. There is general consensus to aim for about 10 billion colony-forming units daily for benefits. So, while foods such as sauerkraut, yogurt, kefir, miso, tempeh, kimchi and some juices and soy beverages contain this friendly bacteria and are certainly healthy -- it might be difficult to eat enough to reach therapeutic levels.

This is why you might also consider a quality probiotic supplement. Look for a supplement with a high amount of live active cultures and a delivery system that ensures proper absorption. Probiotic supplements are available in tablets, capsules and powder form, which is especially easy to add to smoothies or baby food! There are also chewable probiotic supplements available for children and young adults.

Need another science-minded fun fact to impress and/or gross out the kids? Try this one: Humans have over 5,000 square feet of intestinal lining. That’s about ¼ of a football field!

That’s a lot of gut to care for so I encourage you to find out more about high-quality probiotics. Ask your health practitioner and consider getting more of them into your household’s wellness routine.

For more on supporting your kids’ health pick up a Be Good to Your Whole Body pocket guide in the Whole Body Department of your local store or visit the Whole Body section of our website.

How do you get your probiotics?