Ah, fall. It’s crisp and colorful, full of spices, apple orchards, pumpkin patches and cuddly clothes; it’s a wonderful time of year that signals new routines, new schedules, and unfortunately for many kiddos heading back to school — sickness! With all of the fun seeing new friends again, also comes the sharing of germs!
Instead of me rambling on, let’s just get to it. Here are some of my top tips as a dietitian to keep you and your kid’s immune systems up
- Reduce the Sugar
It’s well documented in the research that eating or drinking sugar decreases our immune function. So if your kids are starting their day with a pastry and a big glass of orange juice, expect their immune function to be lower at school that day. If their immune system is suppressed because of their sugary breakfast you can bet it’s more likely they will come home with some sickness brewing. Sugar is not a friend of the immune system.
For something quick, you could boil up a bunch of hard boil eggs and send them off with some eggs and their favorite fruit. Another favorite could be a quick and immune boosting smoothie using your choice of base (canned coconut milk, water, or organic non-homogenized dairy milk), frozen fruit, a scoop of whey protein powder, a healthy brain boosting fat such as MCT oil and/or a no sugar added peanut butter, and my personal favorite, a scoop of Dynamic Greens.
- Make some Elderberry Syrup and Fire Cider
Homemade cold and flu remedies that use the powerful nutrients found in real food are some of my favorite things to have on hand. Crafting and creating things like elderberry syrup and fire cider are my personal go-to’s.
Elderberry syrup uses dried elderberries, ginger, cinnamon, and the like to create a potent virus and bacteria fighting syrup you can take before and during an infection. Here’s a link to a recipe I personally use, except I drastically reduce the amount of honey.
Fire cider is a spicy, zippy remedy that can be taken throughout the fall and winter months as a preventive measure against sickness. I personally really love the taste of it and can attest to how potent it is as an immune supporter! Ginger, horseradish, jalapenos and apple cider vinegar are some of the ingredients. It can be taken as a shot or diluted in some hot water to make a tea. Again, here’s a link that has a great recipe for you to use and make your own. You can take a serving daily to keep the immune system up.
Not just a remedy to ward off vampires , it also works to ward off and heal up a nasty cold that is brewing! Garlic seems to boost the virus fighting immune cells in your blood, so chop some up and take it down to give your immune system a powerful boost. If you aren’t interested in chopping up garlic in your kitchen and swallowing it down (I have noticed not as many people want to be friends with you if you smell like a garlic bulb), you could take a garlic supplement. SuperGarlic 6000 by NutiDyn is one of my personal favorites.
A mineral that is important to the body for numerous reasons, it also helps to keep the immune system strong. NutriDyn’s Zinc A.G. is a great supplement to take to boost the immune system, especially at the first signs of the dreaded cold or flu.
Those are some of my top tips to keeping your immune system functioning strong, especially as we kick off the school year!
Katie Vigesaa, RD