How to Boost Your Children's Immunity

We think of winter as influenza and cold season. There are easy, natural ways to bolster your children’s immune systems to avoid or shorten the length of these viral illnesses. Some of these methods are common sense and others are natural remedies that I have come to rely on.

The 6 best ways to boost immunity:

  1. Healthy Eating: Eating a healthy, whole foods diet is one of the most important ways to stay healthy all year round.  It is important to avoid sugar, which suppresses the immune system, and all artificial sweeteners, flavorings and colorings. Try to focus on fresh (organic as much as possible) vegetables, whole fruits, nuts, seeds and legumes. Soup is a wonderful, healthy, warm meal for winter. Rebecca Katz has a recipe that I like called ‘Magic Mineral Broth’. I like to add an ounce or so of dried astragalus root slices and shitake mushrooms to the broth to boost it’s immune-building capacity.
  2. Healthy Microbiome: Nurturing your children’s gut microbiome will promote resistance to illness.  The ‘good’ bacteria in the gut protect from invading viruses and bacteria and are in communication with the body’s nervous and immune systems. Read more about the gut microbiome in our recent blog post.  Consider adding a small amount of fermented food like yogurt, kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir, or miso to your diet. You can buy cultures to make your own fermented foods at www.culturesforhealth.com.  A good book is "The Art of Fermentation: An In-Depth Exploration of Essential Concepts and Processes from Around the World".

  3. Sleep: Disruption of the circadian rhythm and sleep deprivation have been linked to a weakened immune system.  Develop a consistent bedtime routine that your children can count on.  A warm bath, reading, listening to calming music and/or short mindfulness exercises can be helpful for falling asleep.
  4. Stress Reduction: Managing stress is a very important factor in reducing illness. Maintaining strong social support and community is healing in many ways and is as important as a healthy diet and sleep. Children need down time for creative free play. Reducing screen time will lead to stress reduction and will encourage kids to become imaginative with play.
  5. Exercise and Playing Outside: Moderate daily exercise enhances our immune system. Quoting Richard Louv in ‘Last Child in the Woods’, ‘Yet, at the very moment that the bond is breaking between the young and the natural world, a growing body of research links our mental, physical, and spiritual health directly to our association with nature-in positive ways. Several of these studies suggest that thoughtful exposure of youngsters to nature can even be a powerful form of therapy for attention-deficit disorders and other maladies. As one scientist puts it, we can now assume that just as children need good nutrition and adequate sleep, they may very well need contact with nature.’
  6. Herbs:

If you incorporate these methods in your life, you will notice an increase in health and vitality for yourselves and your children. 

Author
Dr. Cheri Standing

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