5 Ways to Boost Kids' Immunity Naturally
As the summer days draw shorter and we embrace September's cooler days, we've settled back into our daily routines. School supplies have been purchased and new shoes are laced up, but what about your family's immune systems? Are they ready to take on another year of illness and germs?
Sure, we need fight off germs, viruses and bacteria to build up a healthy immune system, but adding in antibiotics and over-the-counter medicine only fight the invaders and damage friendly microorganisms. Turning to our natural medicine cabinet, however, helps to build back-to-school immunity.
Herbs Do a Body Good
Echinacea will strengthen the body's natural defenses while attacking the invaders. Want a powerful herbal remedy that's even safe enough to give to infants? Combine echinacea purpurea and the root of echinacea augustofolia with elderberry and propolis resin extract. Herbal tonics like this give your child a boost of increased resistance instead of breaking it down.
Go Pro With Probiotics
While we try to avoid nasty, illness-causing bacteria, it's important not to forget about the "good" bacteria like probiotics, which help build a strong immune system, according to Harvard Medical School. Probiotics can help repair deficiencies and increase the number of T-cells, which are an essential defense within our immune systems. Probiotics are present in many of the foods we eat every day from yogurt and kefir to tempeh, pickles and even dark chocolate. (Yup, now you have an excuse to eat as much chocolate as you want!)
Vitamins A, C & E … Oh My!
Does your immune
system need some new friends? Look no further than vitamins A, C and E. When
used appropriately they are a powerful trio. A controlled trial published in
the Journal of the American Medical Association in 1997 concluded that 200 mg
of vitamin E provided optimal effects on the immune system. People in the 200
mg vitamin E group experienced a 65 percent decrease in hypersensitivity (a
measure of how well the cells of the immune system respond to bacterial
proteins that are introduced under the surface of the skin).
Epithelial cells make up the membranous tissue covering internal organs and other internal surfaces of the body.When these are deficient in vitamin A, they stop secreting lysozyme, an enzyme that digests detrimental bacteria. To add more to your system, take a water-soluble vitamin A or use beta-carotene. Your body will convert it to vitamin A as needed.
Vitamin C is the most popular immune boosting vitamin — and with good reason. It has been well studied and its health benefits are undeniable. Bacterial infections, viruses and yeast overgrowth increase the need for vitamin C. Candida, in particular, seriously depletes vitamin C reserves. Choose a vitamin C supplement made from natural food sources, such as acerola cherry or rosehips, and add one piece of citrus fruit to your daily diet to help boost your vitamin C levels.
Above all, the most effective way to maintain a healthy immune system is to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Our diet, daily stress and activity levels contribute to every aspect of our health, including our immune system. Set an example for your whole family by embodying a healthy lifestyle they can emulate and carry on for the rest of their lives.