How To Boost Immune System For Kids?
I meet many moms who’s kids’ immune system is weak, the respiratory track is clogged up with mucus, non-stop cough, runny noses, fever and the other symptoms which are all very well known to us.
Most moms are scared and terrified when their kids are sick (including me!).
Before we get into more detail I want you to know that viruses, bacteria and other pathogens are naturally occurring and when our body is strong and healthy will pass after a short period of time (in most cases) all the while boosting our immunity against that certain pathogen not to return ever again. In general, our kids’ immunity is building up and developing through that encounter with various bacteria and viruses. More on that you can read in “A Simple Guide to Boosting Kids’ Immunity”.
Although the process of illnesses and various childhood diseases is vital for developing a healthy immune system (especially in kids), they are not supposed to happen every two-three weeks, and if they do appear, kids’ should be able to get over them within a day or two maximum.
It is important to understand that when our body is weak, even the simplest of colds might lead to unwanted reactions and even to chronic diseases.
In order to help our children have a strong immune system, we must firstly follow healthy nutrition principles which support their developing bodies and immune system and avoid foods which damage their digestive system and respiratory system.
I’ve prepared a list of rules and tips to help you support your child’s immunity. We’ll start with the damaging foods first and talk about healthier food options later on in the article.
Basic Rules for Healthy Nutrition and a Healthy Lifestyle
I’ll start with the rule that all my clients probably know by heart – avoid cold foods, mucus forming foods and sweets.
Sweets – bacteria, viruses and fungi LOVE sweet food! Sugar and sweets lower the functionality of our digestive system, decrease the reactive time of white blood cells and are an excellent breeding ground for various pathogens which might lead to chronic illnesses. Therefore, decrease your kids’ consumption of candy, chocolate, sweetened drinks, cakes, cookies, etc.
Cold Foods – cold food shuts down the digestive system and therefore lowers its functionality and the efficiency of our immune system. Avoid cold food, cold and sweetened drinks (yes you will have to give up Coke).
Mucus Forming Foods – lower the consumption of mucus forming foods, especially dairy. When kids are sick, avoid tropical fruit – banana, mango, pineapple, avocado and citrus fruits.
I advise you to eliminate dairy products completely from your and kids’ daily menu because they contain chemicals which affect the immune system directly and damage the digestive system (especially the intestines).
Yogurt, popsicle, cold watermelon, chocolate, cold fruit shake (yogurt based), cold sweetened juice – are all examples of awful combinations (which I constantly see in kids menus) of sweet, mucus forming and cold foods which over time lower the immune function.
If you want your child to stay healthy and to be able to fight off or completely avoid various childhood diseases make sure to adhere to these rules, they are by far the most important!
Avoid and Keep Away From ‘The Four Whites’
We’ve already discussed why you should avoid dairy.
What are the four whites? White sugar, white rice, while flour and dairy.
White sugar, white rice and white flour are all highly processed foods which are totally void of any nutritional value – I call them empty foods, because they weaken our digestive system, create mucus in our body all the while not adding any benefit to eating and consuming them. Other than that they create wonderful breeding grounds for viruses and bacteria which feed off of these foods (empty carbs).
Talk with your children and explain them what are the damages these food cause to their bodies.
Two additional and important rules:
- lower the consumption of refined oils and processed foods which weaken your kids’ immune system
- avoid the usage of poisonous oils such as hydrogenated fats and vegetable oils – instead use coconut oil (use grape seed oil occasionally)
An example of a horrible combination of the four awful whites and the poisonous oil is the cheese cake which contains – margarine, dairy, white sugar, white flour and of course served cold.
Useful nutritional tips to help your child have a healthy immune and digestive systems
- make sure your child eats a cooked, warm and homemade meal every single day. Warm and cooked food helps to support the digestive system and prevents pathogen settlement in the digestive tract.
- vegetable are crucial for our kids’ immunity but try as much as you can to serve them in room temperature as opposed to straight from the fridge (I wash veggies in warm/hot water)
- make sure kids eat breakfast! Breakfast is the most important meal of the day but pay attention it doesn’t contain cold, mucus forming or sweet food. For example, sweetened cereal with cold milk is not a healthy meal, in fact it is a weakening meal. Instead feed kids with sprouted whole grain bread with almond/coconut spread or oatmeal with dry fruit.
- dinner should be as easy for digestion as possible, a warm soup, sweet potato latkes, vegetable quiche, etc.
- soups are a great food for kids! They are super easy to digest and support immune and digestive functions. My kids’ favourite soup is chicken soup with orange vegetables (don’t be afraid to use a few croutons if your kids resist soups without them).
- feed your kids with pomegranate or squeeze a fresh pomegranate juice for them – it is packed with antioxidants which will help them fight off various pathogens.
- enrich your kids nutrition with bee pollen (1/2 teaspoon a day)
- include whole grains (brown rice, quinoa, oatmeal) and legumes is kids’ menu daily.
- teach your kids to get into the habit of drinking warm herbal teas such as camomile, ginger, fenugreek, thyme, etc.
- use the spices oregano and turmeric in all your foods – they have phenomenal anti inflammatory properties
- include as many cooked orange vegetables as possible – squash, pumpkin, sweet potato, carrot.
- include as many green and leafy vegetables as possible – broccoli, parsley, dill, celery, lettuce, zucchini, cabbage.
- incorporate fermented foods into kids’ daily menu – sauerkraut and homemade pickled cucumbers
- explain the importance of personal hygiene and instruct them to get into the habit of washing their hands after washroom use and after they come back home.
Does your child get sick a lot?
Change is hard, I know. But I am sure you understand by now that it is super important to teach our children healthy eating habits!
These habits are the best gift you can give to your child – they will always stay with them, wherever they go. Don’t wait until they are teenagers, it is much easier to make changes while they are young and under your control.
Don’t give up, all you need to do is start. Each family has its own pace, but do it!
You are giving your kids the gift of choosing right, and this gift is priceless!
I believe in you!
As a kids’ nutritionist I have seen many different cases, but I believe that you can do it! It is not as complicated as you think…
Sometimes you need the right direction and the appropriate knowledge, and for that purpose I am here for you. Together we will concur that goal and I will instruct you all the way. For that purpose I have designed a short, easy and professional program to get you started. This program consists of 3 hours – after which your kids’ and family health will look completely different!
NO MORE runny noses, NO MORE coughs, NO MORE missed work days, NO MORE wasted hours at the doctor’s office!
If you are ready to take that step I am only a phone call away 😉
To your kids’ health!