Natural Immune Support for Children – Help Keep Bugs at Bay!

Having a Blast by Wolfpix

By Erin McCann NT, ND mBANT – Nutritional Therapist with diplomas in Naturopathy and Herbal Medicine

Through interaction with other children at daycare or school, children frequently pass on and acquire common bacterial and viral infections. There are a number of natural ways to reduce the risk of your children picking up coughs, colds and infections going around the classroom. The best insurance against illness is to support your child’s immune system through diet and lifestyle.

Ways in which you can boost your child’s immunity naturally include:

  1. Wash hands but don’t be a germophobe
    Good hygiene at school and at home is important reducing the spread of germs. Washing hands is a particularly easy and effective. However, extreme hygiene practices may have a negative effect on your child’s maturing immunity. Contact with pathogens and allergens aids a child’s immune system to develop antibodies and modulate responses to allergens. However, excess sterilization has been associated with allergic and atopic conditions. Finding a balance in cleanliness can support your child’s developing immune system in the short and long-term.
  2. Eat foods packed with immune-boosting nutrients
    Once your child walks out the door, he/she is subject to what is served at school or at friends’ homes. However, while at home, you can serve nutrient-dense foods to help boost your child’s immunity. Here are a few nutrients and foods, which are essential to supporting a balanced immune system:Vitamin C – This is the go-to vitamin for immune support. Citrus fruit such as oranges, lemons, and grapefruit are not the only foods high in Vitamin C. Broccoli, kale, green beans, berries, cantaloupe, and watermelon are all quality sources of Vitamin C.Zinc – Zinc supports immune cell function. Foods rich in zinc include pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, Tahini, and seafood.Probiotic and prebiotic foods – Balanced gut flora is essential to a balanced immune system. Natural, organic yogurt with no additives is a natural pro-biotic food. Foods high in soluble fibre like apples and oats are important in maintaining gut flora balance and health.
  3. Reduce refined carbohydrates and sugary foods
    Refined carbohydrates like pasta, bread, biscuits and cakes and sugary foods like soda and candy, can tax the immune system. They feed bacterial growth and contribute to inflammation which depletes and exhausts immune function. By reducing these foods, you allow the immune system to focus on bacterial and viral infections, rather than dietary inflammatory triggers.
  4. Exercise!
    Research has shown that moderate exercise improves immune function for all ages. Turn off the TV, limit the video games and get the kids outdoors!
  5. Try natural immune support supplements
    Herbs and foods have been used for centuries to help ward off colds and flu and to reduce the duration. There are a number of immune-boosting plant-based products that are extremely safe and effective for children. One of these is bee propolis. This resin is collected by bees, from tree and plant buds and is a natural antiviral, antifungal and antibacterial agent. Olive leaf extract is an effective antimicrobial nutrient which is also safe for all ages. Black elderberry has been used in numerous forms including cordials and syrups to help children fight viral infections. Bee Prepared Immune Support Daily Defence contains these ingredients and others (all of which have a proven history of benefits) in therapeutic dosages, which are safe for children, plus has the added benefit of not containing sugar. Capsules may be swallowed or broken open and put into juices, smoothies or yogurt.A practical, delicious, and child-friendly way to include a few of these recommendations into your daily routine is with an immune boosting smoothie.

Immunity Smoothie Ingredients:

  • 1 apple, cored, peeled and sliced
  • 1 lemon peeled and seeded
  • 1/2 cup filtered water or organic apple juice
  • 1/2 cup natural yogurt
  • 2 tsp manuka honey
  • 1 tbsp pumpkin seed butter
  • 1 (2-inch) piece of fresh ginger root, peeled.
  • 1 capsule Bee Prepared Daily Defence (open capsule and use the powder)

Combine all of these ingredients in a blender. Enjoy!

Photo © wolfpixCC BY-ND 2.0

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