Need some tips to fight the flu?
- Eat Vegetables
- Avoid Processed Sugar
- Eat Honey
- Support the Immune System with Herbs and Supplements
1. EAT VEGETABLES.
It seems so obvious, doesn’t it? Before I was a mom, I thought my kids would eat 10+ servings
of organic fruits and veggies every day. I was sure they’d grow up thinking kale was wonderful
and broccoli delightful. Well, of course, I was wrong.
I do find that they consume more veggies using these tricks:
• cutting veggies into fun shapes eg. carrot circles for eyes, red pepper slices for eye brows
spinach for hair, beets for ears
• playing “who can make the loudest crunch”
• adding dips (hummus, balsamic vinegar and olive oil)
• making smoothies with veggies or greens powder
• blending veggies in soups
• making vegetable based baked goods like pumpkin bread and zucchini cookies
And, while most “kid food” cuts out vegetables altogether, most children will eat a few veggies if
they know the veggies help kill germs that cause colds and coughs. It’s a treat when a child
comes for a follow up visit bursting to tell me that they’ve been eating green beans!
2. AVOID PROCESSED SUGAR.
Sugar slows down the white blood cells responsible for attacking bacteria. And, so called “kid
food” is laden with sugar. Once again, I find that kids make great choices when they understand
the reasoning. If you eat sugar, you’re more likely to get sick. And stay sick longer. Keeping
sweets as treats for once in while helps the body stay strong to fight infections. You can read
labels with your children to check if there is added sugar. For example, I never remember which
tomato sauce is free from added sugar. The kids love reminding me.
3. EAT HONEY.
Honey contains antimicrobial properties that body fight infections. It has been shown to be an
effective alternative to pharmaceutical cough syrup and a topical antimicrobial for burns. It
soothes sore throats and helps prevent viral and bacterial infections from taking hold. Local
honey is best and the less processed, the better. Babies under the age of 1 year should not
Again, I was certain, pre-children, that mine would go to bed early, sleep peacefully, and
generally regulate themselves with rest. Hilarious. Home from after school care / daycare,
dinner, homework, reading, bathing, lice prevention combing, after school playdates and
activities – it’s next to impossible to fit it all in. As parents, we need to be mindful that children
need loads of sleep. Not only to recharge their bodies to fight infections, but also to dream
away stresses of the day, to process new skills, and to recalibrate all kinds of systems of the
body. If any of these jobs are not completed, the child becomes more susceptible to colds and
flus. I, myself, must remember that bedtime is non-negotiable. And earlier is better. (Grownups
take note for yourselves as well!)
5. SUPPORT THE IMMUNE SYSTEM WITH HERBS AND SUPPLEMENTS.
There are so many helpful herbs and supportive supplements to help the body fight colds and
flus quickly and efficiently. Some herbs you can add to foods include: garlic, tumeric, cumin,
oregano, basil, onion. Deeply therapeutic herbs to support the immune system include:
Astragalas, Codonopsis, Eleuthrococcus, Elderberry, Yarrow, Mullein. These are wonderful for
children but best taken under the supervision of a qualified practitioner (ie – naturopathic doctor
or herbalist). Some supplements that help children’s immunity include: fish oils, vitamin C,
vitamin D, B vitamins, zinc. Again, best to check with a practitioner for dosages and strengths.
Here’s to a healthy fall season for your children! (And you too!)