Article written in collaboration with Christine Lacaze, creator and author of the webzine Mademoiselle Cricri.
Our children are full of energy, aren’t they? It’s the same for their immune systems, in full development, which are especially responsive to external infections. This is also why they’re regularly confronted with acute illnesses that can sometimes manifest themselves suddenly and intensely.
As a naturopath (and a mom), I have always trusted that natural healing power my daughter possesses. Rather than replace her healing power with pharmaceutical drugs, I prefer to boost her ability to fight off infection by natural means. Prevention is therefore essential so that my daughter knows how to defend herself against microbial infections in the long run.
Nutrition, a healthy lifestyle, and even homeopathy support and strengthen little ones’ (and bigger ones’!) immune systems to ensure better health without unwanted side effects. I will offer you my advice.
Health, nutritional deficiencies, and the immune system
Just like an adult’s, a child’s immune system fights off infection from germs, bacteria, parasitic viruses, and even fungi. The stronger and healthier their immune system, the better the natural defenses it will give your child against disease.
So health, nutritional deficiencies, and the immune system are closely linked. Indeed, a body that lacks certain essential vitamins and minerals will have a weaker immune system and therefore be less likely to fight off infections, colds, or the flu. To strengthen your children’s immune system is to improve their health and vice versa.
Rethink their lifestyle habits
Everything starts with a healthy lifestyle. The health of the immune system is dependent on nutritional factors and lifestyle habits.
Promote a healthy, nontoxic environment.
Did you know that there are over 100,000 chemicals (pesticides, environmental toxins, chemical products, etc.) around us that our children are exposed to every day? Numerous studies have shown that contact with these chemical products damages the immune system in the long run, thus lowering its ability to fight off infection.
Maintain healthy gut flora.
You may not know this, but the body’s first line of defense against any form of external infection is in the intestines. That’s why it’s so important to ensure that your children have good gut flora to properly fight off infection.
You can give them probiotic supplements* (as a preventive treatment) to help stimulate the growth of good intestinal bacteria. Be careful, however, not to give them to your child when they have an infection! You then risk feeding the virus.
Get enough sleep.
The quality of sleep is essential to the recovery of the body. And your children need it more than anyone! Studies show that lack of sleep decreases the number of white blood cells in the body, the immune system weapon of choice against microbes. Depending on their age, children need between 10 and 13 hours of sleep every night.
This may be new to you, but physical exercise strengthens the immune system. We believe that we must be role models for our daughter. So to motivate her, we plan a short family exercise session every morning. It’s easy and fun!
Promote emotional well-being.
Show your love for your child with daily signs of affection. Don’t hesitate to hug them and tell them you love them. And laugh together! It’s good for your health!
Diet: an easy way to stock up on vitamins
There is a close correlation between diet and the immune system.
First, try to promote a “raw” diet, that is, unprocessed. The additives and preservatives found in processed foods are not friendly to our immune system. It is also essential to reduce (or even eliminate) sources of white sugar.
Why? Numerous studies show that sugar destroys white blood cells, the little soldiers in our immune system. As I mentioned above, white blood cells attack and kill germs that can cause disease.
Second, opt for a diet rich in micronutrients, vitamin A, vitamin C, and zinc to strengthen the immune system. To accomplish this, give your children fruits and vegetables with every meal. Parsley, for example, is rich in vitamin C, and it’s easy to sprinkle on pretty much everything ? Vitamin A is mainly found in colorful fruits and vegetables, especially orange ones: pumpkin, squash, sweet potatoes, carrots, etc. Zinc is found in animal proteins as well as wheat germ and even sesame seeds.
Another trick: I love adding garlic to my cooking in the winter because it’s fabulous at strengthening the immune system due to its antiviral and antibacterial properties.
I admit that our lifestyles have a tendency to quickly wear out our bodies and those of our children. So it’s better, especially at the beginning of winter, to take a few dietary supplements to give them the little necessary “boost”.
If there are many choices on the market for my daughter, I always opt for easy solutions – those that do not require me to chase her around the house for 30 minutes and make her swallow a spoonful of something by force. That’s why I think the Homeocan Kids 0-9 gummy bears are super well thought out! We tell her they’re candy! Besides tasting delicious, their ingredients are truly ideal for rebalancing the immune system and nutrition.
Homeocan Kids 0–9 Multivitamins (children not under 9 years old): for vitamin and mineral deficiencies
The Multivitamins complex is great to start using now, among the first colds. This mixture contains, among other ingredients, vitamins A, B12, C, and zinc — the ones I was just talking about. Give your child a gummy bear every morning to strengthen their immune system.
Homeocan Kids 0–9 Immuni+ (children not under 4 years old) : at the first signs of weakness
The Immuni+ complex contains three main ingredients that boost the immune system when it is weak.
Vitamin C increases the body’s resistance to infection. Propolis has proven antiviral properties, and Echinacea possesses numerous immunostimulatory, antiviral, antifungal, antibiotic, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties, as well as antioxidants. Thus, this is a unique trio that works very well together and produces good results.
What about you? What tricks do you use to help your children have a healthy immune system and better nutrition?
* Credit Photos:© Christine Lacaze
** Article written in collaboration with Mademoiselle Cricri. However, the opinions expressed are from her and 100% genuine!
** If you have any questions, do not hesitate to ask a health professional for advice.