This time of year is when so many of us start an endless cycle of wintry illness. The children at nursery and school pick up an endless run of coughs, colds, flu, sore throats…. Some become ear infections, strep throat, bronchialitis, pneumonia and worse.
So what can we do to bolster everyone up and try and avoid this onslaught? And once we’re feeling rotten what’s the best way back to health?
We kind of know that a varied diet with lots of fresh fruit and vegetables and plenty of water will do it, but to add an extra flu-fighting bang to your armour there are some power tools to add.
“Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be they food”
We may have heard this a million times, but there is so much power, potentially, in every mouthful we eat and feed our children, that it’s worth really thinking about how we can harness this and get everyone’s immune systems in tip top shape to avoid the bugs if we can.
So I’m sharing here some tips for really powerful foods that can make all the difference when faced with a class-room of sniffling kids. And my homemade Elderberry tonic that you can simmer up and spoon into them all winter to keep them super charged.
How to get our kids to eat them, and the recipes that are full of them.
"We know that what you eat has a clear impact on your immunity,"
Chairman of the American Academy of Pediatrics
These are all round great for bolstering us up and keeping us well in the face of a winter ahead.
- Chicken (or Veg) Soup
Not just an old wives tale, a soup with bone broth and vegetables has a huge effect on immunity in the gut, mucus thinning properties, and the amino acid cysteine which resembles an anti-bronchitis drug in anti-inflammatory properties.
TRY – My Powerhouse Chicken Noodle Soup
My Roasted Carrot Soup
Dairy is often avoided due to the mucous-forming properties it can have, but there are other varieties out there, and the probiotoic levels are a great at keeping the bacteria in the gut healthy to fight off infection.
TRY – My Overnight Chia Oats
Yoghurt with granola and fruit
3. Nuts and Seeds
High in Omega Fatty acids and good antioxidants and mineral levels, particularly zinc and selenium, nuts are a great snack or addition to sprinkle that keep your immune health high.
TRY – Milled nuts in baking, on yoghurts
My Banana Buckwheat Bread
4. Elderberries and all berries
A great source of Vitamin C which protects the immune system, the dark berries have loads of flavonoids which are a highly potent antioxidant to stave off any nasties.
TRY – A handful on your porridge or cereal
My Smoothie recipes
5. Kiwis, citrus fruits, red peppers
Hydrating and full of Vitamin C and antioxidants, these are potent sources.
TRY -Slice them up and stick them on a cocktail or lolly stick and call them Kiwi Lollipops. Mine love that!
6. Sweet Potatoes
These tasty, warming morsels are really high in Beta-Carotene and Vitamin C, which is a great protection against disease and infection.
TRY – My Sweet Potato Bhajis
My Pumpkin Soup
This powerful bulb has mega antibiotic and antifungals like allicin and allilin. It is at its most raw, but not many kids can stomach this.
TRY – My punchy pesto with raw garlic, pasta seems to be an easy way of getting kids to try new things.
Slice very thinly and slip between apple slices with nut butter. For an easier alternative if this is too strong, try adding it in to soups, recipes mentioned above.
High in selenium ( as are beef, oats and shellfish) they also have Vitamin D, anti-inflammatories and germamium which improves oygenation of the system and therefore immune health.
TRY – Mushroom risotto
Slicing them onto salads and sandwiches
This root has really powerful anti-inflammatory oils, and potent compounds called gingerol and zingibain that are antibacterial and full of zinc a crucial mineral to ward off infections.
TRY – Thin slices steeped in hot water with some raw honey
Add to soup and stews
10. Sunshine in a bottle (Vit D)
Higher Nature Vit D3 Spray
A recent study showed that children who took VtaiminD supplements daily were 40% less likely to get a cold or flu virus. It is the master hormone for immune health and wellness and in the winter we can’t get it form the sun.
TRY – A good supplement with levels of Vit D3 of 1,200Iu or more.
You get it from salmon and some from eggs but it’s one of the key things to be dosed up on, so do supplement especially in the winter
If the bugs have taken hold, and there are sniffles in the house, these are all proven to help with these common wintry ailments.*
Sore throats and Coughs
Raw, local honey is a respiratory dream, with antioxidants and vitamins galore as well as wound healing properties.
Studies have shown it to be equally as effective as regulsr cough syrups in treating coughs.
DO – 2 tbsp in hot water with a squeeze of lemon or some aloe and get the patient to sip gently
Most coughs and colds are viruses, so antibiotics are useless. A vapor rub is a good way of loosening phlegm.
Make your own by mixing peppermint oil into a tbsp of coconut oil warmed. Rub on the chest and leave.
DO – Try out the old school hot water bottle, they can keep congestion at bay.
Steam inhalation with Eucalyptus oils is really powerful at decongesting and pulling mucus out, preventing headaches and blocked noses.
DO – Place a large bowl somewhere safe in the bathroom, and add a 2-5 of drops of eucalyptus oil. Pour over a couple of mugs of boiling water and then with a towel over the head try inhaling without getting too close to the water. Some love this, some not so much!
There are various makes of Elderberry syrup on the marker that are potent infection fighters, such as Sumbucol.
You can also make your own with elderberries, honey and water.
Echinacea is another powerful immune boost that should be taken at the first signs of any sniffles.
Antiviral and antiseptic
Oregano oil is magical in stopping the beginnings of anything going round, but it is really powerful so only use diluted and rubbed onto soles of feet before they are 6.
Kick the Sugar!
Don’t be tempted to fill up on juices and sugary snacks to build “energy” – sugar prevents white blood cells from fighting infections, suppressing the immune system and doing no good at all.
*I am NOT a Doctor. The information here is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, it is provided for information purposes only.
You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this.
Always seek the advice of your Doctor or other qualified healthcare provider about any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
Nothing contained here is intended as medical diagnosis or treatment.*