As another half-term approaches, your week is mapped out to keep the kids busy, but have you thought about their health on returning back to the classroom? As children have had less interaction with one another than ever before, it is important to keep immune systems strong and to ensure that the little ones are at their healthiest. Dr Kate Stephens offers her advice to amplify the overall health and wellbeing for your family.

A healthy diet goes a long way/Photcredit:Pixabay
A healthy diet goes a long way/Photcredit:Pixabay

Eat right

What we eat, especially foods that contain chemical additives and ultra-processed foods, affects our gut environment and increases our risk of diseases. This impacts our mood, because it’s important to remember that 90% of serotonin receptors are located in the gut. Our gut health and diet has the potential to positively or negatively affect our mood. When the balance between good and bad bacteria is disrupted, this leaves us more as risk of disease and more unhappy in mood.

Up their fibre content

High fibre foods such as beans, peas, oats and bananas have been shown to have a positive impact on digestive health and will help keep your child’s bowel movements regular. Another easy fix is swapping white bread or pastas for wholegrain alternatives, they might not even notice!

Get physical

We all know that being active is a vital part of keeping our bodies and minds healthy, however emerging research suggests there may also be a link between physical activity and promoting a healthier gut composition. Physical movement can also help keep the bowels moving, so keep up the walks and the family’s activity levels when getting back into the school routine.

Catch up on zzzz 

Not getting enough or sufficient quality of sleep can have a negative impact on your gut health, which can in turn contribute to more sleep issues. While being at home encourages a more flexible routine, going back to school is the best excuse to implement a new routine to kickstart improved sleeping habits. Try to aim for at least 7–8 hours of uninterrupted sleep per night and ensure there is a good bedtime ritual not involving screens to help your child relax and recharge.

Spend quality time with the family pet

Some studies show that having an animal in the house could be great for the immune system and your gut microbiome in early years.  In fact, studies in infants suggest that having a dog may reduce the risk of asthma and allergies. Others suggest that having more than one pet, especially dogs, had a more protective effect. A perfect excuse for a dog walk or puppy cuddles!

Take a daily probiotic

Probiotics are friendly bacteria that help to support and maintain a healthy gut and digestive system. Try supplementing fermented foods with a specially formulated children’s probiotic that’s easy to take and free of added nasties. Optibac Probiotics’ latest ‘Kids Gummies’ product is a great choice as it supports immune, digestive and gut health with the friendly bacteria, calcium, Vitamin D and fibre ingredients. Made with real fruit, each strawberry flavoured gummy tastes good too!

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