Dr. Andrea Scholten, ND, DHMHS, Doula

Have your kids recently gone back to school or daycare and you’re worried about them catching all the infections the other kids will be bringing with them to school? Are you considering giving your child the flu vaccine to help keep them healthy?

If you are looking for a safer and more natural alternative, you can use the following easy tips to keep your child’s immune system healthy and strong so they can protect themselves against sickness. Pay extra attention to the following suggestions during early fall, mid-winter and early spring as these are peak times for colds and flu.

Nutrition is one of the most significant aspects to determining a healthy immune system. Approximately 80% of our immune system is located in and around the digestive tract; therefore supporting the digestive system with a wholesome whole foods diet can make a huge difference for a child’s immunity.

Fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds (raw) and high quality meats and eggs (organic when possible).
Add herbs to your diet (garlic, onions, parsley, ginger, oregano etc.)
Home brewed chicken soup (made by boiling the bones for 4-6 hours) has clinical studies showing it stimulates production of immune cells.
Limit dairy and damp foods (soy, eggs, butter, oils, deep fried foods) as they increase mucous production.

Avoid sugar, it encourages pathogen growth and suppresses immune system – 50g sugar has been shown to paralyze white blood cells for up to 5 hours!!

If your child displays digestive concerns that do not seem to resolve, speak to your Naturopathic Doctor about ways to assess for food sensitivities.

Supplements: Speak to your naturopath about which supplements are best suited. These include: vitamin C, vitamin D, zinc, herbal immune combinations and regular probiotic supplementation or consumption of naturally fermented foods.