It’s finally feeling like the end of summer, time to get the socks out and start thinking about winter-proofing your family. This month we are focusing on immune support for kids, and we have put together five tips on keeping your kids well this winter.
Just like adults, children need a foundation of good nutrition to support normal immune function. Feeding your child a daily diet bursting with fresh (organic when possible) fruit and veg provides them with a high dose of essential vitamins and minerals and health-protective antioxidants.
But let’s be real – no child’s diet is 100 per cent perfect 100 per cent of the time (no need to put that pressure on yourself). So a daily immune support supplement acts like a safety net for the shortcomings of modern diet and lifestyle. In Organico we get great feedback from Kindervital from Salus Haus (particularly the Fruity Flavour), as well as Nature’s Plus Animal Parade Gold Liquid. Both of these are food based multi-nutrients, which means they are easily absorbed (just like good food).
A healthy gut is essential for nutrient absorption and a strong immune system. In kids, a leaky gut or imbalanced microbiome can be the root cause of fatigue and fogginess, inflammation, susceptibility to illness, skin problems, and allergies.
Fermented foods, with all their gut-loving probiotics, are wonderful for kids. Try full fat yoghurt (sweetened at home with fresh fruit, fruit-sweetened jam, or raw honey), organic miso soup (so easy your kids could make their own), organic tofu and tempeh, sauerkraut and kimchi (you never know – many kids love it), and Hannah’s kid-approved tamari seeds (check out our Blog on organico.ie for the recipe). These are all great options for getting probiotics into your child’s daily diet.
Another amazing way to support your child’s gut health is a kid-friendly probiotic. It’s such a relief to know that no matter what they eat, they’re getting a good foundation of a variety of gut-loving bacteria. We love Udo’s Choice Probiotics, there’s a child’s one and an infant one, and both offer a wide range of healthy bacteria which is ideal for your child. We also get great feedback from people who take BioKult Infantis.
Although not always the easiest advice to follow, it’s important to get sugar under control at a young age. Sugar causes inflammation throughout the body, contributes to immune dysfunction, and makes it so hard for a child to concentrate, especially when there’s homework to be done.
If your child is craving a sweet treat after school, opt for something fibre-filled like fresh fruit or Rachel’s recipes for naturally sweetened sprouted banana bread or vegan flapjacks (check out our blog for the recipes).
Another way to promote your child’s concentration and calm is to give them an omega-3 supplement to support brain development.
Research has shown that omega-3 fatty acids can improve learning ability, memory, attention, impulse control, and planning ability. I give my kids Omega 3 every day – they are old enough now to swallow a capsule but before I found the Nordic Naturals DHA Gummies went down well, as did Somega’s amazing tasting Omega 3 (Somega are a company based in Bandon, they make excellent quality products).
It’s so tempting, especially as the temps drop, to settle in front of a screen in a cosy, warm room anytime a bit of relaxation is called for (not just tempting to kids btw, to us too).
But a bit of time outdoors every day does the body (as well as the mind and spirit) a world of good. Many researchers espouse outdoor playtime as a way to help kids become smarter, happier, more creative, less anxious, and healthier.
Another benefit time outdoors offers is vitamin D absorption. Vitamin D impacts every cell in the body, and it’s critically important for the proper function of the immune system.
Even with time outdoors as a daily habit, the HSE recommends, ‘All babies in Ireland aged from birth up to 12 months, both breastfed or formula fed, should be given a daily supplement of 5 micrograms (5μg) of Vitamin D.’
It’s recommended that kids aged one-10-years-old take a daily vitamin D supplement of 10μg, not to exceed 50μg. From the age of 11, kids can take the same daily dose as adults (20-25μg). The Better You Vitamin D sprays are ideal, there is one for infants and one for kids and they taste great.
You don’t need us to tell you that an under-slept kid is a cranky kid, but crankiness isn’t the only side effect. Because it weakens the immune system, lack of shut-eye can cause a little one to become more susceptible to illness.
Sleep is so important because it’s during the hours of rest that the body repairs and a little body undergoes developmental work.
Another great thing to try for your kids’ sleep is a magnesium supplement. Just like in adults, magnesium works in kids to ease anxiety, promote rest, and support the normal sleep/wake cycle. Magnesium can either be taken as a supplement, or, if they have had enough of supplements, you can use the Better You Junior Magnesium Body Lotion. It smells great and the magnesium is absorbed straight through the skin.
If you have any questions about kids’ health or immune support, get in touch with us (firstname.lastname@example.org). A lot of us have kids of our own and we can give you firsthand feedback on how well kids’ products go over in real life.
We also have a Free Webinar coming up on October 7 with Marilyn Glenville, it’s on Sleep (the full title is Feeling Tired All the Time) and you are most welcome to attend. To get the link to sign up, just make sure you are on our Newsletter list and look out for the registration link which we will send out in early October. Hope to see you there!