Boost That Immune System

Back to school brings excitement and worry. Parents know that this time of year brings coughs and colds for kids, and for parents, lack of sleep. Many parents feel the pressure to bring their children in for the flu shot to avoid the dreaded winter months, but there are more effective ways to prevent illness! Diet, exercise, and sleep are three important factors for building a strong immune system.

DIET
The type of food you feed your child affects how well your child will fight illnesses. Yes, all kids will eventually get sick, but you can shorten the duration and degree of the illness. Diets high in sugar, especially refined sugar, depress the immune system. Therefore, avoid foods high in sugar such as juice, candy, pop, bread, and crackers. Restore a healthy gut through fermented foods, such as fermented cod liver oil, and yogurt. Eat raw vegetables, fruit, beans, and nuts. If your child has a cold, avoid mucous-forming foods such as dairy products.
Hydrate! This is the one I struggle with the most for myself because I am constantly changing diapers, running kids to activities and so forth, so I forget to drink water. Drinking water is very important because it increases circulation and allows the immune cells to rid harmful ones more quickly. Vitamin C from a whole food source helps fight off illness as well. I say “whole food source” because our body absorbs the vitamin c from foods more effectively than from a synthetic source such as Emergen-C. So let your child munch on an orange or some acerola cherries.

Here is a great article on the power of Vitamin C and using it for whopping cough. My pediatrician said the whooping cough vaccine is not preventing people from getting the illness – scary! This is why we need to rely on wholesome food as a vaccination.
EXERCISE
I know this is sometimes hard in Minnesota, but take your kids outside to play, or for a quick walk. Exercise helps increase blood flow which in turn helps circulate the body’s immune cells. In addition, playing outside gives your kids some much needed vitamin D. Read my previous blog on the benefits of vitamin D here. In the winter months, I make sure to give my kids (2 year old and 5 month old) their vitamin D supplement.

SLEEP
Get those Zzz! Sleep allows your body to rest and recover. Too little sleep can affect growth and the immune system. Setting a consistent bedtime and having a bedtime routine will help your children receive the rest they need. 

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