Babies and toddlers need to be eating plenty of fruit and vegetables to give their immune system the start it needs and boost ‘good’ bacteria in the gut.
Parents should be making the foods central to the diets of their children for at least the first three years, say researchers from Graz University of Technology.
They are the essential follow-on foods after breastfeeding and are the richest sources of ‘good’ bacteria that help establish a healthy gut microbiome.
The researchers say they are the first to establish that micro-organisms from fruit and vegetables colonise the gut. People of all ages should be eating large amounts of fruit and vegetables, of course, but the researchers say that early childhood is the perfect ‘window of opportunity’ when good health can be established.
They analysed around 2500 stool samples and were able to see the vital importance of fruit and vegetables in the creation of the billions of bacterial sequences they observed.