In this article, you learned the importance of probiotics in controlling eczema. As a parent, you are very eager to stop your child’s suffering and probably added a lot of foods that should contain probiotics to your child’s diet. But before you check probiotics off your list, are you sure your child is getting as many benefits as you believe?
The exact role of probiotics is still uncertain, but we do know that probiotics help by increasing the number of microbial organisms, or “good bacteria” in your intestinal tract. These good bacteria help control the threat signals which trigger an immune system response to allergens and irritants. Because it does not feel threatened, the immune system does not over-respond when exposed to a trigger. Therefore, a flare-up is averted.
Probiotics are found naturally in most fermented foods. The highest concentrations of probiotics are found in fermented dairy. Fermented dairy is also known as yogurt. Yogurt has always been popular. In the past decade, the yogurt industry has increased its popularity by capitalizing on the known benefits of probiotics. Today, almost all yogurt advertisements and labels make large claims about the probiotics inside.
Parents have given children yogurt for centuries. For the parents of children with eczema, it made sense to add ample quantities to the diet. However, children can be hard to please and parents often find it easier to get their children to eat the yogurt packaged in unusually shaped containers or decorated with cartoon characters.
Unfortunately, most yogurts marketed for children aren’t giving your child any probiotic benefits.
They are made from over-processed fermented dairy products. The process of fermenting dairy, freezing it for transport, heat-lamp drying it to powdered form, and then reconstituting it into your child’s yogurt is done at the cost of nutrients. Not only are you not getting probiotics, but you also are not getting any of the calcium and vitamins you expect either.
Reconstituted yogurt powder does not give the yogurt a creamy texture. Therefore, soybeans and soy oil are pureed together and added as filler. This does achieve the texture goal but falls far short of the nutrient goal. In fact, soy adds an additional supply of hormones and potential allergens which could make your child’s eczema worse. Furthermore, processed soy will bind to the probiotics present in the intestinal system which means you actually end up with fewer probiotics than you started with.
To make it seem more appealing, most children’s yogurts are filled with sweeteners, dyes, flavors, and aromas. These yogurts are not sweetened with sugar, but high-fructose corn syrup which is difficult for your body to metabolize and can be an eczema trigger. Dyes, artificial flavors, and aromas are always the primary suspects when you are trying to identify an eczema trigger.
Yogurt seems like too simple a food to mess up. Yet, somehow our super-chemical, over-processed food industry has managed to do it. It is all there on the back of the label, but most of us don’t check the label on the food we grew to trust when we were children ourselves. Fortunately, there is a better option. If you can move beyond the silly containers and packages, there are probiotic-rich alternatives out there that your child will love. The yogurt with the most probiotics is “raw” unprocessed yogurt.
However, it can be difficult to find raw yogurt in stores. The next option is organic Greek yogurt which has been more thoroughly fermented and is always made from fresh, whole dairy. While most adults love the taste of potent Greek yogurt, you may find your child turns away from it. If so, don’t worry.
Greek yogurt can be easily made to taste as good, and better many would say, as any children’s alternative. Start by adding just a hint of sweetener, such as honey or whole cane sugar. Increase the sweetener as much as is necessary to appeal to your child, but remember to reduce the sugar elsewhere in their diet accordingly.
Next, add flavor. Most commercial yogurts, no matter what flavor, begin with vanilla. You can easily add a drop or two of pure vanilla extract to any Greek yogurt. Next, consider adding pureed or crushed fruit to the mix. Not only will this add flavor, but also the color, aroma, and texture to which your child is accustomed. The same goes for juice, cocoa, and other extracts.
As long as it is natural, don’t be afraid to experiment. You will find a unique flavor your child will crave. Making children’s Greek yogurt is very easy, very cheap, and very versatile. However, the best part is that for a fraction of the price, you can make a yogurt your child loves and which has 500% more probiotics than the commercial alternative. It really is a no-brainer.
Your child deserves to be free from the burden of eczema. Probiotics will help you achieve this goal. But next time you’re at the grocery store, check the label and make sure you are giving your child all the anti-eczema benefits you can.