The Foundation Of Resilient Children: A Simple Guide To Understanding Pre- And Probiotics
As we step into parenthood, our utmost priority is the health and well-being of our children. We can’t fully protect them from illnesses and infections, but we can try our very best to reduce the risk of them getting sick. Learn about your child’s immune system and how you can help them build resistance towards illnesses, which is essential to ensure they’ll grow up embodying the five pillars of resilience.
Do you see a vision of your children accomplishing great things? That one day they’ll live an amazing life, blessing everyone that crosses their path, and constantly surrounded by love and gratitude? To unlock this achievement, there are several conditions parents must realise.
The first prerequisite is a child whose body is strong enough to reject illness. Because with a healthy body comes a vibrant mind - one that is constantly inquisitive and always learning new lessons. And the greatest teacher of all is life itself. Going out into the world gives your children a chance to discover purpose, passion, and progression. All of which come in equal measure with disappointment, frustration and trauma1.
How do you get your child in the right frame of mind to negotiate life’s challenges? This is where you need to understand the importance of the immune system.
Understanding The Immune System Of Resilient Children
What is it?
The immune system is the body’s defensive network against harmful substances like viruses, bacteria and other toxins. It is made up of different organs, cells and proteins, and is known as the body’s most complex system.
How does it work?
Pathogens (viruses, bacteria, parasites or germs) can infect the body and cause illnesses. Antigens are parts of the pathogen that warn the immune system when the body is being attacked. When this happens, the immune system responds by getting white-blood cells to produce antibodies and other mechanisms to get rid of the infection. The antibodies would then remain in the body so should the immune system get another attack from the same antigen, they could easily fight it off2.
According to an article from the National Centre for Biotechnology Information, the immune system also fights “against the body’s own cells that have changed due to an illness, for example, cancerous cells”.
The symptoms we get during an infection such as headaches, fever and rashes are signs that our immune system is working to fight the infection.
When does a child’s immune system start to mature?
A child's immune system begins to mature during the early years of childhood. They produce their own antibodies each time they're exposed to germs and viruses.
What are the signs of a weak immune system?
We usually don’t take notice of our immune system until something goes wrong. The list below is only a crude guide, but some signs of a weakened immune system may include:
- Bowel movement problems - either diarrhea that lasts for more than two to four weeks, or constipation
- Eye discomfort - dry, pain, blurry vision, redness, stringy discharge or a sandy feeling in your eyes
- Mild fever
- Joint aches
- Repeated infection
- Sun sensitivity
- Unexplained weight loss
- White patches of skin on body
- Yellowing of skin and eyes
The Immune System and Mental Health
Think of our immune system as a thermostat. Low temperatures means the body is doing just fine. But if infection sets in, that thermostat turns up the heat. Due to any number of reasons (such as an improper diet, stressful living conditions, or even a lack of parental affection) some people have thermostats that fluctuate more than others. While clinical studies are not conclusive, scientists have discovered individuals with immune systems that are constantly being stressed, to be at a higher risk of developing depression and psychosis.
While we are only beginning to understand the complicated relationship between mental and physical health, researchers have found tons of evidence that an enhanced immune system contributes to positive emotions3.
Healthy Body, Strong Mind, Better Future
Now we know mental health is a crucial part of any child’s overall makeup. A great way to support your child’s healthy growth is by providing wholesome and healthy foods from day one. Eating well affects children’s overall health and helps them perform well in their daily activities too.
Here are some of our top picks for kid-friendly immune-boosting foods:
- Probiotic foods such as yogurt, tempeh, miso, sourdough bread ￼and cottage cheese with live cultures
- Prebiotic fruits such as bananas, watermelon and custard apple
- Salmon and tuna for Omega 3 fatty acids
- Oats and barley for soluble fibre
- Broccoli, oranges, carrots and strawberries for a good dose of vitamin C
A child with a physically healthy body and a strong mind is more likely to ace through childhood with flying colours. Growing up active with lots of play and exploration provides your child with a variety of experiences that are essential for their developing personalities. With a happy and invigorating childhood, your child is most likely to mature into adulthood with a resilience that few can match.
Supplementary Formula Packed With Pre- and Probiotics
If you’re considering a milk formula that specifically aims to boost pre- and probiotics in young children, AptaGro™ is one such option. As the no. 1 company* in formula milk for children in Europe**, AptaGro™’s ￼philosophy is based on a simple but crucial principle: children must be exposed to the world to help build their resilience. Driven by the objective of building resilient children, AptaGro™ has a track record of over 40 years of pioneering research. This has led to formula milk containing a patented combination of prebiotics and probiotics. On top of this, there are many important nutrients that help support children’s bodies and their learning development, so you can let them build their resilience by experiencing the world.
Learn more about it here.
1 Simon, A. K., Hollander, G. A., & Mcmichael, A. (2015). Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 282(1821), 20143085. doi: 10.1098/rspb.2014.3085
2 Kids and the Immune System - CHOC Children's." www.choc.org/health-topics/kids-immune-system/. Accessed 4 Dec. 2019.
3 Immune system and mental health are connected." 15 Aug. 2019, medicalxpress.com/news/2019-08-immune-mental-health.html. Accessed 4 Dec. 2019.
*Danone Dumex is part of Danone Nutricia Early Life Nutrition
**Danone Nutricia Early Life Nutrition calculation based in part on information reported by Nielsen through its Scan Track, MarketTrack and Retail Index Services for the Children nutrition milk formula for children aged between 12 and 36 months segment (client defined) in the Children nutrition milk formula category (client defined) for the 52-week period December 2017, for the total grocery channel in Belgium, Czech, Estonia, France, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovak Republic, and Switzerland. (Copyright © 2017 The Nielsen Company.)
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