10 Ways to Boost the Immune System:
As a mom, you not only have to keep yourself healthy, but you are responsible for your little one’s health as well. While germs and illness are not completely avoidable, you can take preventative action by boosting the immune system to handle any incoming threats.
If your little one is still an infant, and not eating solid foods yet, make sure that you breastfeed as often as possible and that you boost your immune system. Keeping yourself healthy and strong will pass on all the right nutrients for baby to stay healthy and strong. Your infant can take powdered probiotics and vitamin D3 drops to strengthen his immune system, but talk to your pediatrician about dosage and frequency.
Nursing moms can boost their babies’ immune system via breastmilk by taking Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Omega 3 Fatty Acid, and Probiotics regularly. This, of course, will be paired with a whole foods diet full of leafy greens, garlic, ginger, fruits, vegetables, and all as organic as you can manage and plenty of exercise! (Choose your supplements wisely – they are not created equal!) If your little one is crawling around and eating food, continue to breastfeed as often as possible, but feel free to also boost their immune system with these 10 suggestions.
If your child is beyond the breastfeeding years, definitely start working on his immune system!
10 Ways to Boost the Immune System:
1. Supplements: Can be taken preventatively to boost the immune system or as treatment if you are sick.
- Vitamin D3 – Vitamin D rapidly destroys the cell walls of bacteria, fungi, and viruses, including the influenza virus. Getting as much sunshine on your skin will also boost the immune system!
- Elderberry – In 2000, a study was done showing that within 2 – 3 days 90% of the elderberry-treated group were better (compared to at least 6 days in the placebo group). Elderberry is very high in antioxidants and is a good source of potassium, vitamins A, B and C and nutrients like amino acids, carotenoids, tannin, and rutin. You can find elderberry in liquid form and even make your own gummy versions at home!
- Echinacea– Medical research has shown it to be safe and effective in decreasing the frequency, duration, and severity of common illnesses such as ear and sinus infections, colds, and the flu. Echinacea comes in adult tablets and liquid, as well as children’s chewables and drops. (Best used to shorten the duration and severity of colds and other upper respiratory infections (URIs) when given as soon as symptoms start.)
- Vitamin C– This simple vitamin can fight off invading germs -available as a powder, chewable, or capsule. You can get enough Vitamin C through a good diet, but if sick, a boost can help!
- Fruits and Vegetable Supplement– The immune-boosting properties of nature’s food is remarkable. If your kids won’t eat enough fruits and vegetables, taking a “raw foods multivitamin” will help.
- Zinc– Zinc is an important nutrient required by the body for proper growth, better immune, nervous and reproductive systems. Unfortunately, the body cannot produce this nutrient on its own and hence it needs to make up for it through a proper diet.
- Probiotics– Probiotics help to regulate the immune system by balancing the good bacteria in the tummy. These “good” microorganisms potentially reduce the risk of diarrhea and respiratory infections. Strengthen your child’s immune system by serving live-cultured products like organic yogurt or by adding a probiotic supplement to their water or applesauce. Be sure the probiotic is of high quality.
2. Nutrition/Diet: A healthy immune system begins with a healthy diet. Processed foods are full of chemicals, and toxins that weaken our ability to fight illness and stay healthy. Skip anything that comes in a box (or a bag typically) and stick with whole foods. Yes, this means you will be preparing and cooking more, BUT grab a crockpot and let it do the work for you.
Foods to Include: (Superfoods list)
- Tumeric: a powerful anti-inflammatory, new studies show that turmeric also lowers fevers.
- Garlic: It’s antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-fungal. Garlic has some serious infection-fighting capabilities.
- Bone Broth: Homemade can’t be beaten. A cure-all in traditional households, bone broth or stock can be made from chicken, fish, or beef bones. It builds strong bones, soothes sore throats and nourishes the sick.
- Almonds: Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin, meaning it requires the presence of fat to be absorbed properly. Nuts (especially almonds) are packed with vitamin E. A half-cup serving provides nearly 100 percent of the recommended daily amount.
- Citrus: Almost all citrus fruits are high in vitamin C and with such a variety to choose from it’s easy to add a squeeze of C to any meal.
- Red Bell Peppers: red bell peppers have twice as much vitamin C as citrus, as well as being a rich source of beta-carotene.
- Broccoli is super charged with an arsenal of vitamins and minerals. Packed with vitamins A, C, and E, as well as numerous antioxidants, broccoli is one of the healthiest vegetables you can put on your table.
- Ginger: helps prevent a cold from taking hold of you
- Spinach: full of antioxidants
- Yogurt, kefir: Probiotic-packed foods!
- Mushrooms: Numerous medical studies have shown that beta-glucans (found in mushrooms) can positively modulate and strengthen the immune system and prevent infections.
3. Lose the Sugar: If you do only one thing to boost your immune system, eliminating sugar will do the most good. Refined sugar is a poison which, among other things, dramatically decreases immune function.
4. Herbs and Salts: Epsom Baths, salves, teas, steams, tinctures have all been found to have immune-boosting qualities! You can make your own, or purchase high-quality versions to use at home on yourself or your little one. Mixing magnesium flakes and Epsom salts with a few drops of essential oil will give you boost. Same with a steam shower with a few oil drops. Doing these things weekly will keep your body cleansed and ready to ward off illness.
5. Massage: Just what you have wanted to hear! A massage session calms you down, eases your anxieties, and even helps you sleep at night. A study by the government’s National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine finds that those sessions help you ward off illnesses, too.
6. Exercise: Physical activity may help flush bacteria out of the lungs and airways. This may reduce your chance of getting a cold, flu, or other airborne illness. It causes changes in antibodies and white blood cells, which circulate more rapidly and detect illnesses earlier. The brief rise in body temperature while exercising may prevent bacteria from growing and fight off any existing infections more effectively.
7. Essential Oils: While it is not shown safe to ingest any essential oils, you may diffuse them, use them in salves, rubs, baths, etc. There are “hot” oils that should not be used on children, so make sure you know what you are purchasing and how you are using it.
8. Sleep: If your child is 12 and under and gets less than 10 hours of sleep per night, or if your tween or teen is getting less than eight and a half hours— they ’re prime candidates for a weaker immune system. Make sleep a priority in your home.
9. Fresh Air, Germs, and Play: A theory, the “hygiene hypothesis,” developed by immunology experts, states underexposure to germs and bacteria are decreasing the body’s ability to fight allergies and asthma later in life. Allow your kids to be kids, get dirty outside and play with friends—and don’t worry incessantly about germs.
10. Skip The Chemical-Filled Products: Anything you put on the skin is absorbed into the body, either helping or hurting yourself or your child. From toothpaste to shampoo, read your labels or make your own products.