How to Boost Your Children's Immune Systems
You can’t control the bugs and viruses your child is exposed to, but you can boost their defenses with food. Probiotics, vitamin-rich veggies and cutting down on sugar are the bedrocks of good childhood nutrition. Leonora Bamford, founder of online magazine MyBaba and mother-of-two has found these simple additions work:
‘I make an immune-boosting smoothie shot most mornings. Depending on the season I might include half a frozen banana, a handful of spinach, a dash of coconut milk, pinch of cinnamon and if the children can take it a small piece of peeled ginger. I’m also a big believer in chicken noodle soup with bone broth.’
Eighty percent of the immune system is located in the gut, so one of the best ways you can improve your child’s health is to nurture their inner ecosystem. Leonora recently launched MyBaba, a children’s multivitamin and probiotic powder (in collaboration with fertility expert Zita West) which you can sprinkle on smoothies or stir into juices. Probiotics are also found in cultured/fermented foods, so try introducing your kids to coconut yoghurt (add blueberries for extra antioxidants), kefir, as well as miso soup and pickles. For bubs over six months you can simply puree cultured cucumbers (or carrot sticks) and add it to their vegetable mash.
Getting more Greens
While toddlers might greedily gobble courgette and pumpkin puree, older children often turn their noses up at vegetables. Try sneaking kale and broccoli into your next pesto (lightly steam, before whizzing with the usual basil, parmesan and pine nut mix) and don’t underestimate the profound impact of herbs; parsley is rich in many immune-boosting minerals including vitamin C, K and A as well as apignenin, which is powerfully anti-cancerous . Finely chop this alkaline herb and add it to your next bolognaise, Tuscan bean soup or lasagne – Try Natasha’s vegetarian Gluten Free Lasagne.
Be Strong on Sugar
Sugar is not only acidic but it also suppresses the immune system. Scientists have found that sugar reduces the effect of white blood cells (which protect us from viruses and pathogens) for up to five hours . For a naturally sweet treat, try Natasha’s Salted Coconut Ice-Cream Lollies made with lucuma powder and figs instead. (Recipe on p. 242 Cleanse).
Shop your immune-boosting aids & sugar alternative in the Honestly Healthy Marketplace: