08 Jan Building a Stronger Immune System in your Child
‘Tis the season for flu shots, runny noses, coughs, and sniffles. Being exposed to different viruses and having your immune systems fight them off is what makes your immune system stronger. If your child catches a virus and it becomes really severe or seems to linger on for more than a couple weeks, this is evidence that your child’s immune system is not as strong as it could be. What may be surprising to you is that what your child eats can either strengthen or weaken your child’s immune system.
7 Things you can do to help your child
- Limit sugar intake
- No or very limited dairy products
- Limited cold foods
- Eat warm, healing foods
- Probiotics and prebiotics
Sugar causes inflammation in the body. When your child is sick their body already has some inflammation. Some inflammation is necessary to fight off a virus or bacteria, but too much inflammation can cause your child’s body to over react. Limiting candy, cookies, soda, ice cream, and sugary baked goods will help your child’s body fight off whatever bug it has caught.
No or very limited dairy products
This is very important if your child has mucous of any kind. Dairy causes more mucous in the body. Give your child a break while they are trying to expel the mucous their body has created on its own and hold off on the dairy. Not allowing milk, yogurt, ice cream, sour cream, cheese and other dairy products will help them tremendously. If they really want milk or yogurt you can try coconut milk, coconut milk yogurt, almond milk, cashew milk or any other nut milk if they don’t have an allergy to nuts.
No or very limited cold foods
This is another item that is important if your child has mucous of any kind. Cold foods create mucous in the body. Instead of giving them raw vegetables, steam or roast them for a few minutes. Warm up fruit for a few minutes (baked apples with cinnamon is one of my favorite warm fruits).
Eat warm, healing foods
There is a reason that chicken noodle soup is the go to for people when they are sick. Warm broth is easy to digest, thins secretions better than warm/hot water, contains minerals to help your child stay hydrated, and it also contains amino acids to help decrease inflammation and support healing in your body. Chicken noodle soup also typically has some warm vegetables which are always a good thing. Also eating foods that are high in Vitamin C (citrus, berries, broccoli), Vitamin A (carrots, sweet potatoes, eggs), Vitamin E (oatmeal, nut butters, avocado) , Zinc (eggs, chicken, beans) and Selenium (eggs, spinach, mushrooms) will help your child’s body to heal.
Probiotics and Prebiotics
Approximately 70-80% of your immune tissue is in your gut. The lining of your digestive tract forms a barrier between the outer world (items we consume) from inside our bodies. The lining is known as our microbiome. Over 100 trillion bacteria (weighing in at approximately 2 lbs in an adult) make up this lining. That’s a lot of little bugs!!!
Keeping these bugs in balance will help tremendously with our immune health. Some of the bugs LOVE sugar. Sugar makes them reproduce at alarming rates and kill off some of the other beneficial bugs due to overcrowding. Keeping your child’s sugar consumption to a minimum will help to keep these bugs from getting out of control.
These bugs are also known as probiotics. Probiotics are found in fermented foods such as yogurt, miso, kimchee, sauerkraut, and kombucha. These healthy bugs love to eat prebiotics. What are prebiotics??? Prebiotics are fiber rich foods. Some of the best prebiotic foods are asparagus, berries, bananas, whole grains, legumes (beans), and flax.
Keeping your child hydrated is also very helpful in keeping them healthy. Adequate hydration will help protect their lungs, loose up any phlegm them may have to cough it up (better out than in I always say), and just help rid their body of the virus or bacteria. Water or broth is the best way to keep them hydrated without adding a lot of sugar. To know how much they should be drinking to stay adequately hydrated, take their weight and divide it by 2. This is the amount in ounces they should be drinking.
There are two acupuncture points on the body that are great to helping with your immune system.
Large Intestine 4 is located on the back of the hand in the web space between the thumb and 2nd finger at the mid point of your 2nd finger’s metacarpal bone. Massage this point with your thumb. Be careful it can be really tender if your child is very inflammed.
Stomach 36 has been shown in research studies to increase white blood cell count, specifically a person’s leukocytes. White blood cells is what fights off infections. You can locate Stomach 36 below the outer edge of the kneecap where your child’s shin bone starts. Typically about 4 finger widths (your child’s) below kneecap. Massage this point and then down the leg using the pads of your thumb or finger(s).
If your child does get sick, has a lingering cough or runny nose, or seems to catch every little cold that comes around acupuncture can help. Call 720-767-2213 or go to Blue Butterfly Holistic Health website to schedule an appointment. Also, PLEASE share this post on with your friends and family, to help keep them and their little ones healthy.