A Healthy Start that begins with a Healthy Gut!

A Healthy Start that begins with a Healthy Gut!
With thanks to Little Inca

Did you know that the average human with a healthy gut has around 100,000,000,000,000 bacterial cells? These cells – or microbes – provide essential nutrients and ensure the proper development of the immune system and brain and so are crucial for proper early body development and lifelong health. 

Research suggests the gut bacteria in healthy people is different from those with certain diseases. People who are sick may have too little or too much of a certain type. Or they may lack a wide variety of bacteria. It’s thought some kinds of bacteria may protect against ailments, while others may raise the risk. When the balance of the gut bacteria is not aligned, this could lead to health conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, asthma, diabetes and obesity, anxiety, depression to name a few. The good thing is that this knowledge has led to developments which help keep the gut healthy, such as probiotic and plant based prebiotics and dietary guidelines. 

This is also true for babies. Ensuring a healthy gut bacteria from birth can help protect against pediatric disorders and diseases appearing later in life. 

Quinoa is an edible, grain-like crop from the Andes region of South America and is rich in protein, vitamins, and minerals. Quinoa is a natural organic super-grain that promotes the good bacteria in the gut and therefore is considered to be important for normal child development. The effects of Quinoa in human gut microbes was first tested back in 2016 when a group of scientists observed that Quinoa increased the presence of “good bacteria” that are known to promote health. 

Quinoa contains 10% total dietary fibre, which is not only considered essential for optimal digestive health, but also imparts various functional benefits. The soluble fibre content is higher than that of wheat or maize, and helps the body to increase the favourable bacteria, thereby serving as ‘prebiotics’. It can help balance the immune system to fight off infections as it is rich in essential fatty acids which play important role in immunity and inflammation. 

All about quinoa

Quinoa is also a low foodmap food! Some readily-fermentable short-chain carbohydrates, referred to as “fodmaps,” can induce symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. Foodmaps include fructans present in wheat and rye, and foods with fructose content that exceeds glucose content, such as apples. Quinoa does not contain fructans and has a low fructose content. Therefore, quinoa is an integral part of the “low fodmap diet” that has been shown help ease irritable bowel symptoms. 

The consumption of quinoa can therefore have a positive impact on the maintenance of our intestinal ecosystems. We may have heard quinoa being mentioned as a ‘superfood’ as an adult, but as diet can directly influence gut microbiome from infancy, quinoa provides a perfect first weaning food! 

One company is championing this super-grain as the main ingredient in their range of organic baby food as it is packed with microbiome-friendly compounds, so not only has significant health benefits for baby but tastes great too! 

Little Inca Stage 1 weaning pouches are a range of delicious flavour combinations containing a high organic quinoa content and a careful selection of plant-based ingredients, scientifically proven to support gut health and cognitive development, focusing on the powerful gut-brain connections in babies as they grow. This allows baby to enjoy the nutritional benefits of this super-grain whilst also being gentle on the developing digestive and brain systems. The Little Inca formulas are based on cutting-edge research and brought together by a respected science team, developed to support the baby’s gut health. And what’s more, it contains no allergens, nothing artificial, no additives, no added sugar or salt and are dairy and gluten free. 

Founded by Erick Vera in November 2018, Little Inca aims to offer a healthy, gentle alternative to classic baby food by bringing tradition and knowledge of Peruvian healthy eating to families all across the globe. Erick’s research into UK brands and ingredients revealed limited choices and health benefits, so inspired by his heritage and armed with his knowledge and findings, he created initial samples and took them along to consumer exhibitions. Feedback was overwhelmingly positive and by late 2019, Little Inca was in full production using bio-based pouches and renewable energy in the production process for a low carbon footprint. Little Inca now has an established distribution network nationwide including Amazon (£8.99 for a box of 6), with plans to launch with Holland and Barrett in summer 2020. 

The food your baby eats, right from their first few bites, can help them to be healthier adults. That’s why Little Inca are is determined to make sure that every morsel we pack into our products, provides goodness for your little one. 

Each pouch contains delicious flavours: 

Yummy Purple Contains quinoa, for added fibre and complete protein, combined with iron and folate boosting spinach and antioxidant rich blueberries. All in a base of apple, an excellent source of soluble fibre, potassium and natural sweetness. 

Joyful Green Contains protein rich plant power from peas and quinoa, the complete superfood from the Andes. Blended into a smooth puree with pears and bananas, and just a dash of lemon juice, this is the perfect stage 1 nutrient boosting weaning food. 

Happy Orange Contains nearly 50% vegetables, providing just the right amount of fibre for healthy tummies and slow releasing carbohydrate. Orange provides beta-carotene for a healthy immune system plus 9% superfood quinoa, one of the most nutritious grains on the planet. 

Little Inca is working with nutritional expert Catherine Jeans who has some top tips to help get your baby’s weaning off to a flying start. 

“There’s so much to learn when you have a baby isn’t there! And when it comes to weaning, the first few weeks can seem a little daunting, as you worry that you’re doing everything right. The biggest tip I can give you is to go at your baby’s pace, and just try to focus on healthy and natural ingredients… right from the start. 

When your baby is ready for weaning, it doesn’t mean they suddenly need to get all their nutrients from food. In fact, it’s a slow gradual process as they move from milk to solids… and the first few weeks are just about getting them used to flavours, textures and what to do with them in their mouth! 

So whether you decide to start with purees or do baby lead weaning, or a combination of the two… here are some principles you can follow to help give your baby the healthiest start to their journey with food. 

  • Focus on savoury and not on the sweet stuff. 
  • Boost those vegetables! Veggies are packed with goodness 
  • Include some plant-based protein then move onto other sources of protein. 
  • Get in the healthy fats… as your baby goes through their weaning journey, they will need some healthy fats. 
  • Gradually introduce the slow carbs… grains like quinoa. 

Finally, take it slowly… and remember a lot will end up on the floor initially! The first few weeks are about experimentation with textures and flavours. Let your baby play with their food. Introduce them to a new food every few days and add new things at breakfast or lunchtime… just so you can see how they react to new solids. No one wants a midnight gripey baby!” 

Find out more

You can find out more about Little Inca on their website.

Disclaimer: The views and advice given in this article are those of the guest writer and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Weaning World or any other organisations represented on this platform

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