Wholesome, unprocessed foods are essential to a strong immune system, but instead kids are confronted with highly processed, questionably nutritious or downright unhealthy food choices, both at home and at school. The nutrientpoor child then goes back to school in the fall and often succumbs to every cough and cold that comes along.
The vast amount of sugar in today’s processed foods is a powerful immune system suppressor, leading to further promotion of illness.
As a pediatrician, I can just about predict which families will be in the office the most, based on what they feed their kids. Here are some suggestions for families with school age or daycare kids.
Immune boosters such as elderberry are safe enough to take every day. Elderberry is known to decrease viral replication and has been used as a preventative, as well as a natural treatment for viral illnesses. Homeopathic, herbal remedies and essential oils help with immune system health and probiotics are essential for intestinal health, providing far reaching benefits for the whole immune system.
Moderate doses of vitamin C and D have been shown to be very effective when given early in the viral illness. I recommend daily Vitamin D especially in the fall and winter due to decreased sunlight exposure. Good hand washing, plenty of sleep, fresh air and exercise go a long way in keeping the body healthy, strong and resistant to a wide range of illnesses.
All these remedies are assets in building a healthy immune system, but are not a substitute for a good diet, rich in fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and healthy oils.
Deborah Bain is a doctor of pediatrics and owner of Healthy Kids Pediatrics, in Frisco. She will present a free seminar, Are You Sick and Tired of Being Sick and Tired? at 9 a.m., August11, at Grace Avenue UMC, in Frisco. For more information, call 972-294-0808 or visit HealthyKidsPediatrics.com.