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Flu Fighters: The 5 Best Ways to Boost Your Child's Immune System

Winter has definitely settled in and so have the colds and flus. Living in Canada means gusty winds, freezing temperatures, and blowing snow that is out of our control.  However, colds and flus are very much in our control! What we choose to put into our bodies and those of our children, can positively or adversely affect our resistance to immunity.

Decrease Refined Sugar

Does a spoonful of sugar really help the medicine go down? No, not really. A teaspoon of sugar can suppress your immune system by 56%; 2 teaspoons by 78%!

Did you know there are more than 2 teaspoons of sugar in just 1 glass of orange juice?

The shape, activity and number of white blood cells (which are part of our immune system) are adversely affected by heavy sick-girlsugar consumption. Ensure you read packaging labels carefully, sugar has many different forms and are added to 1000’s of products. Healthy alternatives of sugar are dates, stevia, raw honey, organic maple syrup, brown rice syrup, and xylitol. If your kids are looking for juice in the morning, try blending frozen berries, or a banana, with water and almond milk. If they need a little extra sweetness, try adding a little raw honey.

Increase Essential Fatty Acids

The #1 nutritional deficiency in children is a lack of Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs). We are a society that seems to be scared of fats.  However, every single cell of the body requires good fats and since our body does not make these fats, they are therefore essential, and need to be consumed through our diets.

EFAs can boost metabolism, increase energy levels, improve digestion, promote cellular healing, decrease inflammation and create a more efficient immune system.

Where can you find sources of such amazing nutrition?  You can venture to your local health food store, but many of the following food sources can be found right at your local grocery store:

Hemp oil, flaxseed oil, cod liver oil, nuts, seeds, chia, beans, and some fish (such as salmon, tuna and mackerel).

Adequate Daily Water Intake

I cannot stress the importance of daily water intake in anyone’s life. Our bodies are comprised of 80% water.  All the functions of our body depend on water and therefore it is essential for life. Does your child experience lack of focus or concentration in school? Since our brain is 85% water, lack of water can lead to dehydration and lead to various symptoms, such as lack of mental clarity. Be sure to drink half your body weight in ounces daily. It is important to ensure a water bottle is packed every day and consumed at nutrition breaks. For a little extra flavour, add a little freshly squeezed lemon to the water.

For children that are very active in sports, it is important to replenish the fluids and electrolytes that are lost during exercise. Please try and avoid commercialized sports drinks as they do replenish lost electrolytes, but they also contain a high amount of sugar (over 20 grams). For a more natural sports drink alternative, mix 1 part water with 1 part fresh fruit juice, and that will do the trick!

Vitamin C

This amazing vitamin helps to stimulate the cells of the immune system and aids in the resistance to a range a diseases and infections. It also helps to alkalinize body.

Surprisingly foods with the highest sources are:  broccoli, brussel sprouts, black currants, collards, guava, kale, turnip greens, parsley and sweet peppers.

Of course a natural and inexpensive source of Vitamin C can also be found in the goodness of lemons. Freshly squeezed lemon in water is a cost effective way to increase your child’s immune system. You can also help to enhance your child’s digestion by giving lemon water to them 20 minutes prior to eating.

Raw fruits and/or vegetables

The amazing goodness of fruits and especially vegetables cannot be underestimated. Fibre, vitamins, minerals, enzymes, protein, amino acids, phytonutrients, antioxidants and water can all be found here! I know fruits, and more so vegetables, are not always high on a kid’s 'most-loved foods' list! However, it is important to model what you want for your child in yourself.  The more they see you eating fresh fruits and veggies, and the more that is made available to them, the better. Try offering hummus with sweet peppers, almond butter on celery with raisins, or natural (no added sugar) peanut butter on apples. Get your kids involved and keep them interested by changing up what you offer them.

We take the time to ensure our kids are protected from the elements with: scarves, hats, mittens, winter jackets, snow pants, warm socks and winter boots. Let’s also give them the protection they need from the inside out, by providing them with the essentials that our bodies require.

Cheers to great health!

Do you have more great parent/teacher-friendly tips you've tested out to boost young immune systems? Feel free to comment below! 

Posted by Krista Harrison in Parent, General ← Previous Post Next Post →

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