When a baby is first born, his immune system is undeveloped and vulnerable to a host of infections. But research in Denmark shows there’s one food that can help fight off illness and help the baby’s immune system defend against pathogens.
The beneficial food is chest milk.
Research at the National Food Institute, Technical University of Denmark, and the University of Copenhagen demonstrates that breastfeeding helps increase friendly lactic acid bacteria in a baby’s digestive system. Those beneficial bacteria help grow a child’s immune system.
“We have become increasingly aware of how crucially important a healthy gut microbial population is for a well-functioning immune system. Babies are born without bacteria in the gut, and so it is interesting to identify the influence dietary factors have on gut microbiota development in children’s first three years of life,” says researcher Tine Rask Licht.
Other research shows that breastfed babies grow a little more slowly and are slimmer than children who feed on infant formula. Breastfed kids also are at lower risk for obesity, allergies, diabetes and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) when they grow up. Other studies at the National Food Institute and the University of Copenhagen also link these benefits to the promotion of probiotic bacteria in a baby’s digestive tract.