How to keep your children healthy

Top tips for healthy eating and sickness prevention

In our busy fun-filled lives there is no time to be sick! Help your children avoid the common cold and other viral infections by following these simple tips and tricks.

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The common cold is caused by many different virus types with varying pathogenic mechanisms (ways of making you sick). Strengthening our children’s immune defences will help to reduce the frequency and duration of these invading little nasties.

Key areas to consider in relation to supporting our children’s health are prevention and the utilisation of food as medicine. What we eat greatly influences how we thrive as individuals and this is highly important during developmental years. Fresh, unprocessed food provides nutrients, vitamins and nourishment for optimal growth and development; especially for immune system functioning and its responses to invading pathogens (the little nasties). Our daily food choices greatly influence our children’s physical, mental and emotional development and performance.

  • Specific food choices that will help improve your child’s immune function include pot set yoghurt and fermented foods which have large amounts of the beneficial probiotic strain: acidophilus. Acidophilus helps to improve digestion through restoring the balance of intestinal flora. Also, this suppresses the growth of negative bacteria and produces beneficial occurring compounds within the digestive tract and immune system.
  • Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that will help better immune functioning. Incorporating rich vitamin C foods daily, for example: broccoli, citrus fruit, kiwi fruit, pineapple, strawberries, blueberries, sweet potato and tomato will greatly reduce the risk of invading nasties.
  • Zinc is utilised in over 100 processes within the body, some of which include the immune system. As this mineral is required for such a large number of processes, including foods rich in zinc will be highly beneficial for thriving children. Food sources include: beef, lamb, capsicum, egg yolks, ginger, seafood, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds.   
  • Vitamin A is excellent for supporting the immune system’s resistance to infection. Food sources include: apricots, carrots, egg yolk, green leafy vegetables and sweet potatoes.
  • Fresh juices made from fresh fruit, not concentrate, are an ideal way to increase our children’s daily nutrient intake. A juice suggestion would be orange, pineapple, carrot, watermelon and kiwi fruit. This will provide your child with an optimal array of vitamins and minerals to support immune functioning, growth and development.

Further tools that may be utilised to inhibit viral and bacterial pathogens include a spray bottle with eucalyptus and lavender essential oils diluted with water. Spraying this solution on door handles, kitchen bench tops, bedrooms and in the bathroom will assist in inhibiting the incidence of pathogenic viral growth and invasion. 

One key aspect to remember, is that if you are providing your children with a rainbow of different colours within their daily fresh food consumption, you are providing them with all the beneficial nutrients to keep them happy, healthy and thriving!

Author: Elise Ryan
B.HSc (Naturopathy).

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