Tis the season for colds and flus! I know it seems like I’m saying that with excitement, lol, but I’m just really passionate about natural ways to keep your family healthy. Vienna is on the mend from a cold that started with a fever. She seems to get over any colds she gets pretty quick, thankfully, and I’m sure this is largely due to the fact we follow these recommendations religiously. It can be near impossible to completely avoid the cold and flu when you’ve got little ones in daycare or school.  

Sickness will happen, but if you eat right and utilize  natural health supplements, you and your little ones get sick less often…

…And when you do get sick it will be less severe and the duration will be shorter compared to someone who doesn’t take care of themself.  

I’m all about doing everything I can from a natural health perspective to keep everyone as healthy as possible in my family which is why I wanted to share my top tips for keeping your child’s immune system in good health. I asked a few colleagues to share their expert advice on the topic too and here’s what they said.

Get sugar out of your kid’s diet.  

If kids want a strong immune system, they have to first remove what’s making it weak. 1 tsp of sugar can depress the immune system for up to 5 hours and sugar is in so many foods regularly given to children. Sugar should be avoided as mush as possible if a healthy immune system is the goal.

Support the microbiome (the naturally occurring bugs in and on the human body) by limiting refined carbohydrates and including fermented foods. If your child has been on an anti-biotic, be sure to include a probiotic following treatment. A child’s microbiome is a significant source of their natural defence and tonifies their overall immune health. Fermented foods, pets and natural exposures to bacteria in the home and environment are important to maintaining the health of the microbiome and kids overall health.

My favourite tip for building up immunity is to cut back on sugary foods. 1 tsp of sugar can suppress the immune system for up to 4-5 hours!

There you have it. Sugar is dreadful for the immune system. In case you were wondering, artificial sweeteners a.k.a. laboratory concoctions of chemicals to taste sweet, are dreadful too. They suppress the immune system and have a whole host of other problems including weight gain, hypoglycemia and some of them are even carcinogenic. You can learn all about my case against artificial sweeteners in Joyous Detox. 

Here’s a list of all the foods you’ll want to avoid or severely limit in your child’s diet:

  • Juice and pop (1 cup glass of O.J. has 21g of sugar, that’s 4.5 tsp of sugar!!!)
  • Nutella, ketchup, teriyaki sauce — you get where I’m going with this. Condiments can be hidden sources of sugar so make sure you read labels
  • Boxed cereal and granola, granola bars
  • Flavoured yogurt
  • White flour products: bread, pasta, baked goods
  • White rice, white rice snacks
  • Chips and crackers and any refined carbohydrate sources
  • Junk food, fried foods, bad fats

If you’re a parent reading this and wondering what your kid is supposed to eat? Don’t worry my friend. I have literally hundreds of delicious family friendly recipes on my blog and in both of my books Joyous Detox and Joyous Health. 

Here are some of my favourite recipes with immune boosting ingredients:

You can sip it straight up, in fact, this was Vienna’s first food, or you can use it as the base of a soup.  

I used to freeze it in a silicon ice cube tray and thaw it just before giving it to Vienna. Now that she’s two, she’ll just drink it out of a cup. 

Packed with immune boosting garlic. Use it as a snack for dipping, mix it with your favourite pasta for a healthy meal. I don’t know a single kid who won’t eat pasta — if Vienna had it her way she’d eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner. She absolutely loves this pesto on chickapea pasta!

Simple Butternut Squash Soup

Butternut squash is rich in beta-carotene which is what makes it this beautiful rich yellow/orange colour and that is an indication it’s immune-boosting. 

Every day we have a family smoothie. This recipe is one of Vienna’s favourite recipes of all time! It’s full of immune boosting power from yogurt to protein in the form of hemp hearts, ginger and more.

Probiotic foods are something I will discuss in my upcoming webinar on immune boosting foods but making this coconut yogurt in the meantime will support your gut health which supports the immune system. 70-80% of your immune system resides in your gut!

This recipe is a favourite in my home, it is made as often as my Kale and Sweet Potato Bowl. Beetroots and beet greens provide plenty of vitamin C which is an immune system soldier because both phagocytes and T-cells (immune cells) need ample amounts of vitamin C to function. 

Now just because this recipe has beets and kale in it, don’t assume your child won’t eat it. Start them young! Vienna LOVES kale and beets, foods that are rich in immune supporting phytonutrients. I’ve got plenty more recipes with beets for you to check out!

If you are breastfeeding, then this is the best thing you can do to boost your child’s immune system as you will produce antibodies, enzymes and white blood cells to help your little one get better. Boob milk is powerful stuff! 

Now let’s talk supplements, I asked my colleague’s the same question, what is your favourite supplement for boosting children’s immune system and they all agreed on vitamin D, me too.

I give Vienna a vitamin D supplement every single day and I’ve done so since she was born. If you’re formula feeding your baby, do not give vitamin D because it will be in the formula. I’ve written extensively about vitamin D on the blog. 

Vitamin D modulates the whole immune system and therefore would be my #1 supplement choice for immune health in children. And Dr. Meghan agreed, Vitamin D for the win!

I love medicinal mushrooms as they don’t boost immunity, but rather tone the immune system. Constantly boosting the immune system is not a good idea as you are basically asking it to function at 150% all the time.

I’m teaching FREE webinar on November 28th that you’re welcome to join all about ways to boost the immune system naturally and yes, I will talk about the flu vaccine and why I don’t get it, nor does Vienna or Walker. RSVP here.

What’s your favourite natural health go-to for staying healthy?

Wishing you a healthy fall/winter friends!

This content was originally published here.