So summer has just breezed by and here we are already in October! Our children are in full swing with school activities and all that goes with that. The growth, fun, and sharing is wonderful but the germ sharing we could do without! As the holidays approach us and life gets busier all that stress, good and bad, impacts our immune system. If we are nutrient deficient, as many of us are, our bodies become even more deficient leading right down the path of being very susceptible to flu and cold viruses. Another contributor to a low immune system during this season is all the amazing holiday food we love! With a continual onslaught of SUGAR and DAIRY how do we even stand a chance? Continuous doses of sugar and dairy increase inflammation systemically and literally clogs up your body's detox system. If it's busy cleaning all that toxic waste up how would it have the energy to also stand strong against germs? Cold and flu viruses are opportunistic and take full advantage of this situation.
Cutting back on the sugar, dairy, fats and alcohol consumed is an obvious way to give your body a break. Small sacrifice for health, right? After Halloween I bribe my kids into trading their candy for a small gadget or new book. It makes us all happy and they don't get daily sugar doses. Making it a point to get enough sleep and take a little time for yourself regenerates your body, mind and spirit, which boosts immune function.
Here's my list of natural healthy ways to boost your immune system and give yourself and your children the tools to stand strong against colds and flu.
1. Elderberry Syrup: One of my favorites!! Include this daily as it has a natural ability to deactivate viruses. I give this to my daughter - 1 tbs daily. If we begin to get the sniffles and feel like something is coming on increase to 10 ml daily until symptoms subside. Do not buy Elderberry with any other added ingredients as sometimes there are other herbs or an alcohol preservative included. You just don't need that.
2. Vitamin C: Make sure your family is getting the daily dose of 200 mg to 500 mg of this strong antioxidant. I like buffered Vitamin C, as it is absorbed easier. When symptoms of illness start, increase to 1000 mg per day. You will not overdose as too much vitamin C will be excreted.
3. Echinacea: Add this herb at the very beginning of viral symptoms and can be continued for up to 10 days. It boosts immune function and acts as an anti-inflammatory. There are capsules and tinctures available. Generally the dose for children is half the adult dose but there are tinctures for children available as well.
4. Astragalus: Take the herb daily for stronger immune function and more energy. This is for adults only. Start with the smallest dose, one capsule, as too much too soon could cause headaches.
5. Raw Garlic and Onions: I know, just get your kids to eat that! Lol. These are both strong antivirals.
6. Electrolytes and Vitamin D: Low levels of these are associated with low immune function. Taking a trace mineral daily and testing your Vitamin D levels by lab work will inform you if you should supplement. Many many people are chronically low in minerals and vitamin D, which affects every aspect of your health. Children can also be Vitamin D deficient but do not supplement unless you've had them tested under a doctor's supervision. Give your children foods that are rich in mineral content, such as nuts and seeds, raisins & dates to boost trace minerals.
7. Probiotics: Promoting good bacterial growth in your intestinal tract strongly boosts your immune system.
8. B12: This is also a common and under diagnosed deficiency. B12 plays a critical role in our immune system function. If you are frequently fighting colds you may have a deficiency of B12, and possibly other B vitamins as well. This can be tested under a doctor's supervision.