(Natural News) Breast milk is essential to the nourishment of babies, thanks to its wide range of life-sustaining compounds, such as vitamins, minerals, antibodies, enzymes, hormones, healthy fats, and even beneficial bacteria. If you want to produce healthy and high-quality breastmilk, you will need to watch what you eat, including the level of probiotics you consume daily.
Science has proven that good nutrition and probiotics have a positive effect on breast milk production and quality. In fact, a 2016 study conducted in Italy found that taking probiotics during pregnancy and while breastfeeding can have a positive impact on both the mother and the child’s immune system, digestion, and overall health and development.
Probiotics and how breastfeeding boosts infants’ gut bacteria
Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts that are good for the body, particularly the digestive system. Contrary to popular belief that these are germs that cause diseases, they are considered the good or helpful bacteria that keep your gut healthy. These live microorganisms provide health benefits when consumed, generally by improving or restoring the gut flora.
A recent study showed that women who took probiotics daily starting from the 36th week of pregnancy and four weeks after delivery enjoyed substantial positive health results, including an increase in the levels of their cytokines. Cytokines are molecules that support the immune system’s responses.
Analysis of fecal samples from infants showed that they had increased levels of a key antibody that helps block potential invading bacteria. Probiotics are known to stimulate antibody production. Furthermore, the infants in the probiotic group had fewer regurgitation issues and suffered less from abdominal pain than those whose mothers did not take probiotics.
The state of the mother’s microbiome is a key factor in the health of the developing infant, which is why good nutrition is essential during pregnancy and while breastfeeding. The gut microbiome is the diverse ecosystem of gut bacteria in the digestive tract, also where 70 to 90 percent of the immune system is located. Beneficial gut bacteria protect the gut barrier from harmful bacteria and produces and regulates antibodies, enzymes, and short-chain fatty acids used by the immune system to ensure that the body is healthy.
Breastfeeding exposes the infants to friendly flora necessary for building and cultivating a strong immune system, which is why mothers need to optimize their own microbiomes and pass ideal bacteria to their babies. (Related: Breastmilk: The gift that keeps on giving… Babies who were exclusively breastfed have less than half the risk of eczema as teenagers than those that were not.)
The best sources of probiotics
Consuming the following foods can help mothers boost their probiotic populations:
- Yogurt – This delectable dairy product is a good source of probiotics. When choosing yogurt, it’s important to select those with active or live cultures. Fat-free and low-fat yogurt may not be ideal either as these are usually loaded with extra sugar.
- Kefir – Like yogurt, kefir is made from milk. It contains kefir grains, which are solid cultures of yeast and bacteria. This drink supports strong bones and good digestion.
- Sauerkraut – Made from finely shredded cabbage, sauerkraut is one of the oldest traditional foods in the world. It is a good source of lactic acid bacteria, as well as vitamins, B, C, and K, sodium, iron, and manganese.
- Tempeh – This fermented soybean product is known in many parts of the world as a protein substitute. Aside from having probiotics, it also contains vitamin B12, iron, and zinc.
Ensure your baby’s optimal health with tips at Health.news.