Children between ages 1 and 4 who drank milk fortified with both probiotics and prebiotics (a mix known as synbiotics) daily for one year got sick significantly less often than children who drank unfortified milk, according to Johns Hopkins research. Synbiotics refers to the complementary action of prebiotics (antioxidant and soluble-fiber compounds that encourage the beneficial bacteria known as probiotics to grow in the digestive tract) and probiotics.

Children who received synbiotics had fewer cases of dysentery, pneumonia, and severe acute lower-respiratory infection. To maximize health benefits, pair probiotic-rich foods like yogurt and kefir with prebiotic-rich foods, such as whole-wheat products, oats, and beans. Added probiotics and prebiotics can be found in children’s supplements and foods, including yogurt and other dairy products. Look on the ingredient list for inulin, FOS, or fructan.