Runny noses, itchy throats and constants cough, recurrent colds and flus and ear infections these may just be some of the issues you are trying to avoid with your children as we get ready to head into Winter. Here we are sharing some nutritional and lifestyle approaches to help prepare your children for winter and boost their immune system.
Vitamin C – is an important antioxidant that plays a vital role in our immune system function decreasing the length and severity of symptoms associated with colds and flus. Regular intake of Vitamin C has been shown in therapeutic trials to reduce the duration of colds in children by up to 14%. Whilst eating foods rich in Vitamin C such as Citrus and Kiwi fruits may help to reduce wheezing symptoms in children, especially among already susceptible individuals. To get a good dose of Vitamin C reach for the most concentrated sources of food that contains them – Blackcurrants, green and red capsicum, oranges and strawberries. Other good sources include watermelon, papaya, citrus fruits, broccoli and cauliflower.
Vitamin A – helps maintain the integrity of mucous membrane of the respiratory tract, which is the first line of defence against infections in this area. Vitamin A can be found in deep yellow, green and red coloured fruit and vegetables.
Vitamin D is not only found in some foods such as oily fish (Herring, tuna, Salmon), egg yolks, cheese and cod liver oil but it is also produced and stored in our body with adequate sun exposure. Vitamin D enhances the immune systems response to both Viral and Bacterial agents, several clinic trials indicate Vitamin D may be of benefit to decrease the events of respiratory tract infections.
Zinc – is important for our immune system function, a deficiency in Zinc can increase the risk and severity of infections and well as delayed wound healing. Clinical trials with Zinc supplementation for 6 months in children aged 6-35 months showed a reduction by 45% in the incident of acute lower respiratory tract infections. Your child can get zinc from foods such as eggs yolks, seafood (oysters), nuts, lamb, asparagus, lentils and sesame and pumpkin seeds.
Probiotics – With around 70-80% of our immune tissue located in our digestive tract it’s no wonder gut health is so important for our immune response. Probiotics can be of benefit in boosting our immune system. Supplementation with probiotics is safe and effective way to reduce incidence and duration of fever, rhinorrhoea (mucus fluid in the nose), cough. Probiotics use can also reduce the incidence of antibiotic prescription and missed school days attributable to illness for children. When tested against the use of a placebo probiotics reduced the duration of fever, coughing and rhinorrhoea by an additional 48%.
To support your child’s immune system, it is important to
If your child suffers from recurring colds, flus and immune related issues our Naturopaths are trained to provide diet and lifestyle advice and can also prescribe Herbal and nutritional medicine that may be of benefit to boosting your child’s immune system.
Natalie Earles & Madeline Sheppard
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