If you have never considered much about gut bacteria, it’s time to change your perspective. New research has determined there is an important link between gut bacteria and your toddler’s early development. Maybe you have noticed your child isn’t as sociable as he/she should be. This could be caused by the digestive tract, and you didn’t even know about it.

What’s Gut Bacteria?

This might surprise you but there are 300 to 500 different kinds of bacteria living inside your gut. They’re paired with other tiny organisms, including fungi and viruses. Each person’s gut is unique because the mix of bacteria is different for everyone. It’s determined partly by your mother’s microbiota, the environment you’re exposed to at birth, and your diet and lifestyle habits.

Playing An Important Role

Bacteria live throughout your entire body, but it’s important to consider the ones inside your gut. These bacteria (containing nearly two million genes) have the biggest impact on your well-being. They line your entire digestive tract and affect everything from your metabolism to your mood, and even the strength of your immune system.

What The Research Shows

New research, conducted at The Ohio State University, has found that gut bacteria affect a toddler’s temperament. Researchers studied stool samples of 77 toddlers, aged 18 to 27 months, and concluded more parents need to focus on their child’s dietary habits. The foods your child eats play a pivotal role in his/her development.

Affecting Your Kid’s Mood

If you have noticed your toddler is acting “grumpy,” it could be because of his/her gut bacteria. Researchers determined that gut bacteria are linked to a toddler’s mood, curiosity, sociability, impulsivity, and extroversion (especially in boys).

“There is definitely communication between bacteria in the gut and the brain,” said study co-author Dr. Michael Bailey.

How To Improve Gut Bacteria

How do you improve communication between gut bacteria and the brain? It’s easy: just eat healthy. Scientists recommend eating more vegetables, fruits, fermented foods (yogurt, sauerkraut, etc.), foods with whole grains, and foods rich with polyphenols, including blueberries, almonds, broccoli, and green tea. Scientists also recommend breastfeeding your baby for at least six months. Breastfeeding helps an infant develop a healthy microbiota and lowers the rates of allergies, obesity, and other digestive disorders.