Supporting our kids through the winter is integral to the whole family’s wellbeing. With the right tools we can not only lessen the likelihood of constant sickness, but also treat colds and bugs when they do arise in a timely and efficient manner. Today we are going to take a look at how to best support children’s immunity with lifestyle tips, nutrition advice and natural medicine tools. Let’s start with a look at lifestyle adjustments.
Lifestyle adjustments to support your child’s immunity
Immunity is the bodies first line of defence against any type of invader, whether that be bacterial, viral, chemical or otherwise. In order for the immune system to function in an optimal manner it requires good nutrition, adequate rest, low stress levels and more. Some of the basic things that you can do to support your child in creating strong immunity include:
- Ensuring they get adequate sleep and rest. This needs to be a priority, especially for young children who cannot manage this themselves. The body detoxifies and recovers during sleep, and not getting enough can create a big stress and lots of inflammation within the body, hence lowering immunity.
- Eliminating junk food and foods filled with sugar. Most often this will be packaged foods and premade snacks. Instead of these, offer your child lots of fresh fruit and veggies in their lunch box, and homemade rather than store bought muffins and cookies etc. The foods your kids are eating play a large part in their overall wellness, and immunity is no exception.
- Ensure adequate water intake. Immune cells swim in the lymphatic fluid, so being dehydrated can greatly affect this.
- Sunshine. When the sun does come out in winter, get outside and enjoy it. This will help with vitamin D levels, which are essential for strong immunity.
- Movement. Keep your kids active even in winter. If the body becomes stagnant, so does the immune system.
Nutrition for immunity
The key to providing a diet that is supportive of immunity is loads of fresh vegetables and fruits. The more colour the better, as this will ensure high antioxidant intake. Here are some other nutritional tips:
- Add garlic into meals as often as possible. Ginger too! They help to fight off any unwanted infections.
- Herbal teas with herbs such as echinacea and elderberry are wonderful for kids. Both as a preventative and when sick to help keep fluids up.
- Chicken soup, veggie soup, stews with loads of veggies and protein are all valuable for immune health
- Fruit every day – oranges, kiwis, mandarins etc.
- Use homemade stock or bone broth in cooking. It is full of immune supportive nutrients.
Natural remedies for kids colds and flu.
When it comes to treating sickness in kids, here are my top tried and true remedies.
Echinacea. This is a very well-known immune supportive herb, and for very good reason. It is highly supportive of immune function and helps to reduce any inflammation and over activity of the immune system. It can be used in both viral and bacterial infections, and also as a preventative measure during the winter months.
Elderberry and elderflower. This is a great herb to use because it is high in antioxidants and other nutrients that help to boost your child’s immunity. It also boosts the bodies production of immune cytokines, making for a stronger defence against illnesses.
Probiotics. If your child constantly gets sick, they could have a bacterial imbalance in their gut. The immune system largely stems from the digestive tract, and so supporting this with the right strains of probiotics can really boost your child’s overall strength and resilience.
Vitamin C. Another well-known immune system superhero. Vitamin C helps to shorten the duration of colds and flu. It also supports various cellular functions of the immune system, contributing to stronger immunity overall.
Zinc. This mineral helps the body to fight off any invading bacteria or viruses. It also helps the body to produce healthy and strong immune cells and recover quicker from any illnesses.
Cod Liver Oil. This nutrient rich oil is very high in vitamins D and A, which are both essential for robust immunity.
Essential Oils. Eucalyptus and peppermint essential oils are wonderful in a diffuser or vaporiser to help clear the airways and sinuses. Especially at night-time when everyone needs some sleep.
Like with all natural medicines, you want to make sure you are getting reputable and pure brands.
If you need support to help your child with constant sickness, or to boost your family’s immunity in general, please get in touch with me to book an appointment. I can then provide personalised advice, and ensure you are getting the right products and correct dosages for your needs.