You may be surprised to learn that young children catch an average of six to eight colds a year.
While there are more than 200 different viruses that can cause this infection, a culprit called rhinovirus is the most common. A child experiences a cold in much the same way as an adult does ‘ with a sore throat, a runny nose, coughing, and fatigue, to name a few of the symptoms. Kids are, however, more susceptible to developing a fever than adults. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, it’s not germs that make us sick. Rather, it’s our bodies’ inability to fend these off that sees us succumbing to illness. Since most children are encountering viruses for the first time, their immune systems are not yet able to kill them as quickly as when they face them later in life. Follow these tips to strengthen, maintain and support your child’s immune system during times susceptible to colds and flu. Start strengthening your child’s immunity by adding herbs, supplements and good food for a flu-free winter.
Go for Gut Gold
Feed your child a healthy diet rich in veggies, whole grains, dairy-free yoghurt (coconut yoghurt is a good dairy free option), fermented foods (such as kefir, kombucha and kimchi) and essential fatty acids (like fish and coconut oil). Avoid sugary foods and white flour wherever possible. This will provide the good bacteria that lead to a healthy gut and, in turn, a strong immune system. Try this Make healthy ice-cream that’s delicious and probiotic-rich by blending blueberries, strawberries and cacao nibs with coconut yoghurt.
Herbs like elderberry, echinacea, mint, astralagus and honeysuckle are great for boosting the immune system. Mushrooms like reishi also help to support the lungs. Include healing herbs in your child’s daily health regime in tincture, powder, tablet, syrup or tea form. Try thisTasty homemade elderberry syrup –
Makes 1 ‘ cups
- 3′ cups water
- 2/3 cups dried elderberries
- 2 Tbsp fresh or dried ginger
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- ‘ tsp whole cloves or clove powder
- 1 cup raw honey
- Pour the water into a medium saucepan and add the elderberries, ginger, cinnamon and cloves.
- Bring to a boil and then cover and reduce to a simmer for 45 minutes to an hour (until the liquid has reduced by almost half).
- Remove from heat and let cool.
- Strain into a glass bowl.
- Discard the elderberries left in the sieve.
- Add the honey and stir well.
- Pour into a jar or glass bottle, and store in the fridge (it will last up to several months!).
- Take 2 teaspoons daily.
Remember the ABC’s
You can proactively support and strengthen your child’s immune system by starting him or her on a good multivitamin right now. While vitamin C, vitamin D and zinc are well-known immune supporters, all of the vitamins and minerals are important in maintaining a strong and healthy system. Take extra vitamin C (over and above your multivitamin) as it really is the star performer when supporting immune function.
Chew on This
Kids will more easily take fun, colourful vitamins. Look out for the Ice Age theme packaging of the BrainChild Multivamin/Fish Oil combo pack. As the taste factor is of course also important, other favourites amongst the little ones include the Animal Parade Gold Multivitamin and PhytoMulti Kids chewables.
Include the Magic three G’s
Garlic, ginseng and ginger have been used for healing colds and flu throughout history. Garlic is a powerful antiviral that’s particularly effective in helping to open the sinuses. Ginseng is known to enhance immune response and keep the body strong through periods of illness. Ginger boasts nearly a dozen antiviral compounds, and contains the chemicals that specifically fight the rhinovirus. Include this trio of powerful flu-fighters in your child’s diet and she’ll be back to good health in no time. Try ThisBlend a banana, a tablespoon of almond butter, almond milk, ice and a teaspoon of chopped fresh ginger to create a nutritious and tasty milkshake-like ginger drink for the kids.
Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
Make sure your little one drinks plenty of water to help flush out toxins from the virus. This will also help clear congestion and prevent dehydration. Try This Find a beautiful cup solely dedicated to drinking water. It could be a sparkly goblet for a little girl who wants to drink ‘princess water’, or a superhero cup for a boy’s ‘power juice’. Encourage them to get to a certain level on the cup and fill up on all the magic!
Keep Kids Active
From gardening projects to dancing, give your child time outside being active. Try This Get some brightly coloured hoops, play some fun tunes and let the little ones show off their hula skills!
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