Junior Immune Boosters
Here I write about a topic that is particularly familiar and close to my heart: How to get our little ones through the winter without too many hiccups!
You will learn
- how our digestive health affects our immune system and how to improve it,
- how sugar affects the immune system and our susceptibility to illness and
- what healthy treats you could make to boost your children’s immune system.
When concerned parents ask me what I do to protect my little ones’ immune system during the harsh winter months, two things always come to mind first: digestive support and sugar intake! Obviously, nutritonal therapists have a myriad of tools avaliable to help strengthen their clients’ immune system, but these two seem to have the biggest impact in my own clinical experience. Here is why:
Given that 60-70%- some experts even claim it is up to 80%- of our immune system lives in the gut, it is very clear that we need to pay particular attention to this part of our children’s bodies. Good bacteria that live in our gut help us digest our food but they also perform numerous other housekeeping jobs. They are critical in programming our immune system and when they are out of balance- for instance through a course of antibiotics to fight an infection- our overall health might suffer. Hence, a course of microbiotic supplements like for instance Udo’s Choice Infant or Chilren’s Probiotic Blend is certainly very beneficial when we feel our child’s immune system needs a boost. I also use them preventatively when I hear that some nasty bugs are making the rounds!
One of the more damaging food components to our immune system is sugar. Having sugary drinks, for instance, reduces the ability of white blood cells to overpower and destroy bacteria for a few hours. The other problem with these refined products is also that it fills our kids with nutrient-poor calories. The secret to a healthy, immune-boosting diet for a young child is not complete deprivation of sugar, which is likely to be an unrealistic goal. It is all about finding ways of “sneaking” unprocessed, fresh and nutrient-dense foods as treats into the diet. I try as much as possible to make these treats myself so that I can include some extra nutrients and replace refined sugar with more natural sweeteners such as dried fruit and raw honey. Manuka honey in particular has been shown to have antibacterial and immune-enhancing effects. For instance, my children and their friends adore these chocolate teddies that I make. In addition to the Manuka Honey, they contain not only 100% raw cacao that is full of antioxidants, but also coconut oil for digestive support and cinnamon, which helps balance blood sugars. It makes for a perfect immune-boosting winter treat and is ideal for combatting colds and flus.
½ cup coconut oil
¼ cup raw cacao powder
1 tbsp Manuka Honey Kids Syrup
1-2 tbsp Manuka Honey
1 tsp cinnamon
Melt the coconut oil in a pan over very low heat, add all the other ingredients and whisk well. When liquidised, pour everything into silicone ice cube trays and freeze for about half an hour. Best stored in fridge thereafter.