What does “boost immunity” mean to you? To me, it means raising resilient children. Children who can:
- get over illnesses faster
- have fewer allergies, asthma, or autoimmune conditions
- have little need for Ibuprofen or Tylenol (these drugs impact their gut health)
- need fewer surgeries (like a tonsillectomy, etc.)
Before raising resilience, we have to ask, “Why are our children so sick?”
- There are more toxins in our environment than ever before.
- The rate of C-sections has increased three times since the 1990s. Studies have shown that children delivered via C-sections have lower immunity compared to natural birth.
- The amount of medication a child receives has increased. Dr. Aviva Romm suggests “By the time they are 20, they may have had 19 rounds of antibiotics”
- There may be increased stress in the home with both parents working.
- Children are notorious for being picky and having a poor, unbalanced diet.
- During pregnancy, a mom’s diet changes. She’s eating less wheat, dairy, peanuts, and other top allergens.
- Your child may or may not have been breastfed. Mother’s milk contains rich nutrients that not only nourishes a child completely but also boosts a child’s immune system.
- There is an increase in the number of pesticides in our food. Even when washed, these chemicals remain and is known to cause negative effects on our bodies and affect our immune systems.
Children absorb more chemicals due to their size and immune system.
So what can we do to improve our children’s health?
#1 Diet is always first
We know 70-80% of all adult cancers can be avoided with a plant-based diet. But picky toddlers are known to choose processed-foods over real, plant-based, healthy foods. An increase in their sugar and processed-food consumption decreases their immune response and may lead to a condition called “Leaky Gut Syndrome.” This condition happens when gaps develop in the intestinal wall starts to loosen and allows harmful substances like bacteria, toxins, and undigested foods pass through into the bloodstream.
It would be ideal to have our children eat 2-3 fruits and vegetables at each meal. This can be a huge challenge when you’re a working parent and have more than one child.
- Try offering a chocolate shake blended with chocolate dairy-free milk, banana, spinach, avocado, and cherries or check out Yummy Toddler Food’s recipes!
#2 Reduce Medications
Some medications can lead to a condition called “Leaky Gut Syndrome.” If your child is experiencing this, you may notice that they have more food sensitivities, more allergies, more rashes, and may have been diagnosed with ADD or ADHD.
Medications that lead to Leaky Gut Syndrome in kids are:
- Acid reducing medication
What can you do about this? Ask for help! Begin using natural remedies and homeopathy to reduce antibiotic use. Incorporate herbs for natural remedies for cough, home remedies for cough and cold, and to help reduce pain. Learn how to heal your child’s gut with the 4R approach, I teach in my course Home Remedies For Children.
10 Signs of Leaky Gut Syndrome In Children
- Chronic diarrhea, constipation, gas or bloating
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Low immune system
- Headaches, brain fog, memory loss
- Excessive fatigue
- Skin rashes and problems such as acne, eczema or rosacea
- Cravings for sugar or carbs
- Arthritis or joint pains
- Depression, anxiety, ADD, ADHD
- 10.Autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, celiac disease
#3 Boost Immunity With Supplements
As children’s diets are typically poor, we may need to give supplements to “fill the gap”. The three supplements I would add to your child’s diet if their eating is poor are:
- Zinc Citrate is an essential trace element responsible for the proper immune function and the health of the gut
- Zinc citrate, given continuously for more than 3 months, has been proven to decrease risks of pneumonia in children under 5 years of age. ²
- Food sources: Oysters and Pumpkin Seeds are two rich sources of dietary zinc
- Vitamin D3 has been shown to reduce cold & flu symptoms by 45%
- This is found in oily fish (tuna, salmon, etc.), butter, and eggs, sunlight
- Vitamin D3 supplement
- kids under 7: 400- 800 IU
- kids 7-12: 800-1000 IU
- kids 12+ and adults: 2,000 IU
#4 Reduce Toxins & Stress
We are surrounded by thousands of toxins daily. The physiology of our child’s immune system makes them more susceptible to these toxins. Helping them eliminate the toxins daily will help them thrive.
How can you help your child’s body detoxify?
- Purchase organic produce when able
- Take everything out of plastic when you get home
- Encourage 1-2 servings of leafy greens daily
- Make sure they are going to the bathroom regularly
- Add probiotics to their diet if they’ve had antibiotics
- Offer organic berries or pomegranate juice as antioxidants
#5 Heal Your Child’s Gut
If your child has Leaky Gut Syndrom and/or allergies, you may want to consider healing their gut with the 4R approach. It’s more than an elimination diet, you remove the top allergens and then you add back in nutrients and gut-healing herbs to soothe the digestive tract. Your child doesn’t have to suffer, learn how to heal their gut so they have fewer food sensitivities, fewer allergic reactions, and fewer asthma attacks.
Getting to the root of your child’s immunity is important. Have they had antibiotics? Have they taken many doses of NSAIDs? Do they have any allergies? Do they need to heal their gut? Once we figure this out, then adding in botanicals can “boost their immunity” and reduce food sensitivities for years to come.
How do you boost your child’s immunity? Leave your favorite recipe in the comments below.