Happy Fall. I LOVE this time of year – the chill in the air invigorates me – this season calls for warming foods, and foods that boost our immunity.
Everything is a potential breeding ground for colds and flu. However, it is absolutely possible to protect ourselves and our families from all the bugs and viruses out there with powerful immune building foods.
Good nutrition provides the building blocks of a strong immune system. Kids that eat poorly are far more likely to pick up every bug going around, and when they do get sick they will tend to be sicker for longer than healthier kids. There are of course other reasons why immunity can be affected, but there is no doubt that being well nourished is key to staying healthy.
Avoiding white sugar is another important element in keeping our kids healthy this fall and winter. Sugar feeds most aliments; so being mindful of our sugar intake makes all the difference in our health.
Adequately feeding your immune system boosts its fighting power. Immune boosters work in many ways. They increase the number of white cells in the immune system army, train them to fight better, and help them form an overall better battle plan. Boosters also help to eliminate the deadwood in the army, substances that drag the body down.
To get you started here are my top 10 immunity boosters for kids:
1. Carrots – one of the richest sources of beta-carotene, an antioxidant in its own right and can also be converted to vitamin A in the body. Try grating or finely chopping them into stews, soups, or serve them raw as batons.
2. Onions, leeks and garlic – from the same family these vegetables contain the antioxidant quercetin which is antibiotic and anti-viral. It is not destroyed by cooking -So eat up!
3. Avocado – although not as high in vitamin E as seeds, what they do contain is far more available since it is not taken up in protecting the polyunsaturated fats in the food. Vitamin E is critical to the anti-viral defense mechanisms of the body.
4. Dark leafy greens – including spinach, watercress and cabbage. OK so you’re thinking there is no chance your child will eat any of these. But there are So many ways to sneak it in.
5. Cauliflower – often ignored in flavor of its greener cousin broccoli. Cauliflower contains a group of phytochemicals called glucosinolates, as well as B group vitamins and fiber, all-important for immune function.
6. Beans, chickpeas and lentils – 70% of the immune system is in the gut and so good gut health is at the core of strong immunity. Legumes are rich in soluble fiber and resistant starch, both of which fuel the good bacteria in the gut and in turn boosts immune function. They also provide plant protein and an array of nutrients.
7. Nuts and seeds – these foods are serious nutritional powerhouses. It’s such a shame that with the risk of allergy many kids are not eating them. They provide vitamin E, fiber,healthy fats, magnesium, zinc and healthy fats.
8. Kiwi fruit – berries become so expensive over winter I stop buying them fresh. Kiwi are great at this time of year however and in terms of vitamin C content.
9. Probiotics – a good body of evidence now shows that children given a good probiotic experience fewer respiratory infections and when they do catch a cold they get over it faster. You can choose from giving them a probiotic supplement drink or supplement or a probiotic yogurt.
10. Turkey leg – most kids love poultry but we tend to rely on chicken.. It provides more iron and zinc than the breast, and provides selenium, B group vitamins and other immune-boosting nutrients. It’s also cost effective with a couple of turkey legs easily feeding the whole family.
– Munch on, QC Supermom