Offer any child a choice between a piece of yummy, all-natural chocolate, or a serving of lactobacillus and bifidobacterium, and watch how quickly they reach for the candy jar. But if the cute little candy jar has a babyflakes label on the front, everybody’s happy, because the premium chocolates are tasty and healthy, providing healthy probiotics in every serving.
Babyflakes are the latest product from Enteral Health & Nutrition, created by dermatologist Dr. Helen Kim-James and her husband, gastroenterologist Dr. Dustin James. Parents of three children—Andrew, Joshie and Emily—the doctors got the idea for babyflakes after developing a similar product for adults, GI Health Probiotic Chocolate. “In the beginning, Helen was making the chocolate by hand,” says James, “And when you pour it into the molds, there are little flakes that form in the spaces between the molds. Our daughter, Emily, was very excited about the flakes! That’s when the light bulb went off, and we thought: What a great way to get probiotics into a kid’s diet!” Although their own children love yogurt (an excellent source of probiotics) the doctors recognized parents need other options, says Kim-James. “Yogurt definitely is not for every kid.”
Probiotics provide natural assistance for digestive health, James says, and can be especially helpful in preventing common childhood stomach complaints, such as constipation or diarrhea. “Probiotics are a hot topic in medicine—not just for G.I. health—but almost all of medicine, including immunology. The most simple way to look at them? You have so many bacteria in your entire body—most of them in your colon—and like so many things, there can be a mixture of good and bad. By adding good bacteria (probiotics) you can actually shape the balance more toward the good side.” Bad bacteria in the colon, he adds, can cause a variety of health problems for children and adults.
Children who have been treated with antibiotics can often benefit from having probiotics added to their diet. “Most kids get treated with antibiotics somewhere alone the line, like for an ear infection,” Kim-James explains. “But the antibiotics can kill off the good bacteria in their system, and if you get rid of the good, the bad are a little more hardy, and they may take over the system. If you keep things balanced with probiotics, it can decrease the likelihood that they get diarrhea.”
In addition to the benefits of good bacteria, both doctors are enthusiastic about the proven benefits of chocolate, as well. “It seems like there’s a new study every day with good news about dark chocolate. It’s a great source of antioxidants!” James says. “So instead of fried chips, you can give your kids a piece of dark chocolate that is all natural, glutenfree and filled with nutrients. And what kid doesn’t love chocolate?”