22/09/2017 by Karolina Zaremba, CNP 1 Comment
Your All-Natural Flu Shot
Back to school and back to work mean the return of dreaded cold and flu season. The stress of returning to school can really wear down your children's defences. They're also exposed to a number of germs from sharing desks, toys, touching playground equipment, and more.
Here are three ways you can improve your family's immune systems during cold and flu season:
1. Introduce Probiotics
Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that are found on the skin, in the lungs, and lining the digestive tract. Part of their role in the digestive tract is to help digest and absorb nutrients, support a regular immune response, and produce certain vitamins and nutrients. You can add probiotics to your diet through foods such as yogurt, sauerkraut, miso, unpasteurized pickles, and kimchi.
There’s also evidence that shows probiotic supplements can reduce the occurrence of cold and flu symptoms in young children (1). There are many high-quality probiotic supplements available that can be taken either as capsules or in powder form, which is great for kids!
2. Supplement With Vitamin D
One of vitamin D’s many roles is in regulating the immune system. Deficiency in this important vitamin is linked to an increased risk of certain infections, and even autoimmune conditions (2). With the cold weather coming, we take shelter and spend time indoors. This means less sunlight on our bodies for the skin to convert into vitamin D (or no sun at all!) You should supplement with vitamin D throughout winter, especially if you live in colder climates like Canada!
3. Up Your Garlic Intake
Garlic contains a compound called allicin that has been shown to help prevent the occurrence of colds and how long the symptoms last (3). Allicin is released from garlic when you cut or chew it. It should be eaten raw to get all the antimicrobial benefits. Chop garlic and use it in salad dressings, make pesto, or add it to dips like hummus and guacamole.