Prebiotics For Babies
Many people confuse prebiotics with probiotics. The difference between the two is important to understand. Prebiotics are non-digestible components of food that promote the growth of helpful bacteria in the gut, while probiotics are living microorganisms found in the gut.
What Is Prebiotics?
Prebiotics are nondigestible food ingredients that selectively stimulate the growth and activity of the probiotic bacteria present in the gut. Prebiotics provide the gut bacteria with ‘food’, while probiotics provide the body with good bacteria.
Different Types Of Prebiotics
Prebiotics come in many forms. In general, prebiotics is subsets of carbohydrate groups called oligosaccharides. Listed below are oligosaccharides that act as prebiotics.
• Galactooligosaccharides – It is derived from galactose, a sugar found in milk and milk products, including yogurt.
• Fructans – An example of this type of compound is inulin and fructooligosaccharides. Inulin is commonly found in root vegetables. A variety of fruits and vegetables contain fructose.
• Starch and glucose-derived oligosaccharides – A large molecule of starch or glucose is usually broken down to create them. Glucose and starch are commonly found in fruits and vegetables, whereas glucose is found in grains.
Is It Necessary For Babies To Take Prebiotics?
There is no clear consensus on whether babies need prebiotics. Prebiotics can be safely absorbed from breast milk if your baby is breastfed. The prebiotic formula may be introduced to your baby if she/he is on a formula diet, since standard infant formula may not contain any prebiotics.
A study found that babies who consumed prebiotic infant formula had similar gut microbiota to breastfed babies and had better stool consistency. However, it is not known whether prebiotic infant formula-fed infants will have a longer-term advantage over standard infant formula-fed infants.
Make sure you discuss the pros and cons of prebiotic infant formula with your pediatrician.
How Does Prebiotics Benefit Babies?
The health benefits provided by prebiotics go beyond basic nutrition, which is why they are considered functional foods.
Several studies, although not conclusive, suggest that prebiotics help manage the following conditions in babies:
• Boosting the immune system
• An atopic eczema
• Wheezing recurrently
• An allergic urticaria
• Dermatitis caused by allergies
• Intense diarrhea
• Colitis with chronic ulcers
Sources Of Prebiotics For Babies
Best Sources Of Prebiotics:
• Chicory root
• Dandelion greens
• Jerusalem artichoke
• Wheat bran
In addition to improving metabolic health, prebiotic food can help prevent certain diseases. During cooking, the fiber content of these foods may change, so it’s best to consume them raw rather than cooked.
Formula With Prebiotics
Breast-fed babies have different gastrointestinal microbiota from standard formula-fed babies. Standard infant formula lacks prebiotic oligosaccharides and probiotics, unlike mother’s milk. HiPP Dutch Stage 1 formula contains prebiotic oligosaccharides, including galactooligosaccharides, fructooligosaccharides, and polydextrose. Adding prebiotics to infant formula alters the GI microbiota in a manner similar to breastfed babies. As compared to infants on a non-supplemented standard formula, children on these supplemented formulas have lower stool pH, better stool consistency, and a higher concentration of bifidobacteria in their intestines.
It may be beneficial for babies to take prebiotics to improve their gut health, immunity, and resistance to allergic reactions. After six months, breastfeeding and a balanced diet of solids can provide infants with the necessary prebiotics. A pediatrician should be consulted before adding prebiotic supplements to your baby’s diet.
Read more – Discover The Many Flavors Of Prebiotic Soda
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