‘Tis the Season -Tackling Childhood Immunity

Oh it is just the worst. Having a SICK child is just not fun for anyone in the family. It can hugely impact on the health and wellbeing of the whole family. Whether it’s sleepless nights, sickness spreading through the whole family, or needing time off school or work to take care of said sickness, sickness can take a huge toll.

It is vital for children’s immune systems to be in tip top shape to deal with whatever bugs are thrown their way, be it bacteria, viruses or allergens. So if your kids are getting sick with regular colds and flu’s, or are susceptible to eczema or wheezing or sneezing, then make it a priority to boost up their immunity and bring them back into balance.

Itchy, Scratchy, Sneezy and Wheezy.  

Does this sound like the characteristics of someone in your house? These complaints are common in many of our homes, with more and more kids being prone to allergies, hayfever, eczema or asthma, while others tend to pick up every bug that’s going around.

The good news is that certain herbs and nutrients play an important role in building robust immunity in children. These natural medicines work by providing symptomatic relief naturally, as well as by addressing underlying immune imbalances that can cause our kids to feel under the weather:

Vitamins C, D and zinc: These nutrients provide the building blocks of the immune system and play a crucial role in regulating  your immunity, yet they are COMMONLY deficient in children. Vitamin C boosts the immune system, improves lung function and decreases allergy symptoms, whereas Vitamin D may enhance the immune response to bacteria and viruses. - get those little legs and arms out in the sunshine for 10 minutes a day uncovered. 

Gut and Immunity

Did you know that the digestive system is a close friend to the immune system? In fact, approximately 70% of the immune system lives in the digestive tract. So this means that taking good care of your children’s digestive health will also assist in promoting a strong, healthy immune system. During the first two years of life, the immature immune and digestive systems are still developing. During this time, the integrity of the digestive tract can be reduced (sometimes known as “leaky gut” yes this is a thing), and may allow undigested foods and toxins to pass through this barrier and cause an immune reaction.

In this way, “leaky gut” may contribute to the development of allergies and poor immune defence against colds and flus. By strengthening the gut barrier, the immune system is able to respond with greater effectiveness.

And again, the old zinc has been shown to improve digestion and is an important factor in the regeneration of the gut lining. Bring in the Good Bugs - Probiotics are BENEFICIAL bacteria that are important in keeping the digestive system in balance and supporting a healthy immune system.

STUDY: The results from a scientific study of 248 children in daycare aged three to five years, showed those who consumed the probiotic strains, Lactobacillus acidophilus NCFM and Bifidobacterium lactis Bi-07 daily, had significantly less infections, shorter duration of cold and flu symptoms, and less days absent from childcare.

Diet and Lifestyle Suggestions

There are many dietary and lifestyle tips that can support strong immunity in kids:

• Increase fresh fruits and vegetables, protein and healthy fats as part of a well-balanced diet.

• Reduce inflammatory foods such as sugar, white breads, dairy, cakes and soft drinks that may suppress immune function and trigger reactions in sensitive children.

• Ensure children are getting enough rest, as sleep is vital to support healthy immunity.

• Encourage more ‘green time’ and less ‘screen time’! Outside play can help strengthen the immune system, as well as support healthy physical development – ENJOY that natural vitamin D.

Talk to us at MUMS & BUBS NUTRITIONIST about food or environmental triggers that may be exacerbating your child’s condition. Children are constantly being exposed to bugs and viruses, particularly when attending childcare or playing with other children. We can help you take the necessary steps to boost your child’s immune system.

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