How To Naturally Boost Your Family’s Immune Systems

It’s that time a year again, when we start to see our little ones with runny noses and hearing the sounds of coughing and sneezing all around us. I love fall and the slow onset of winter. Fall is my favorite time of year for so many reasons, I love pumpkins, Halloween, bon fires, lots of Birthdays, playing in the leaves, hot chocolate, I could go on and on. One of my least favorite parts about the onset of cold is the beginning of cold and flu season. This year our family has a new set of germs to worry about. Our three year old started Pre K in October and within the first few weeks she was home sick more than a few times as her body adjusted to all those new germs around her.

The threat of these new germs made me wonder how I can improve our defenses against these germs. We did get flu shots this year, we did not last year. I have to say I’m torn on the topic, but when we made the decision I was being faced with having to go on immune suppressant medication when my Doctors thought I had Crohn’s disease. So with the fear of having a compromised immune system we decided it was best if our family got flu shots. However, I believe there are many steps we can take to increase our immune systems without the assistance of medicine. Research has shown us that good immune systems are not just about great genes, we have to provide a little boost sometimes. There are so many tools available to parents to help boost our children’s immune systems safely and effectively. Over the next week or so I will be sharing some of the measures we take to boost our defenses, speed healing when we get sick, and help our little ones learn the tools to stay healthy. Maybe with a few changes we can all have a healthier winter.

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Naturally Boosting Your Immune System-Hand Washing

Wash Hands and Skip the Antibacterial Soaps

Teaching our kids to wash their hands can be the first line of defense against yucky germs. I love that when my daughter’s Pre K class arrives at school they have to wash their hands. Anytime they go outside, to the potty or get ready for a snack they have to wash as well. They provide visuals for the kids to follow to learn how to properly wash their hands. We have taught out kids the steps to washing their hands at home. We always sing a song so that they know they have made enough bubbles to get their hands clean.

The type of soap you use can also make a difference. Surprisingly research is showing that antibacterial soaps may not be your best choice when it comes to soaps. I have to give props to Southern Illinois University School of Medicine for a study they published in Antibiotics-Past, Present, and Future. The study found that kids who use antibacterial soap actually get sick more often than those that don’t. I was so excited to see this article was from SIU, I’m a proud graduate of SIU(GO DAWGS).

We have a few different types of soaps that we like to use in place of antibacterial soaps. We use the Jason brand of natural bath produces. Also, Hugo Naturals and Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Dry soap are good option. I switch it up at our house, depending on which ones I can get on sale. When they go on sale I stock up so we always have a backup.

Here is a link to a few suggestions for hand washing songs. Remember it can be any song your child loves. We usually sing the songs my daughter is learning at Pre K or the ABCs always work great.

Happy Hand Washing!!

Songs for Washing Your Hands

Naturally Boosting Your Immune System-On Guard

If you read my blog on a regular basis you know that I am a huge fan of essential oils, I have a slight obsession. I use them throughout our house for a number of different reasons. My absolute favorite oil has to be On Guard.

On Guard is a doTERRA special blend of oils. The blend is specially designed to help support a healthy immune system. The oil combines wild orange, clove, cinnamon, Eucalyptus, and Rosemary. The blend is so fragrant! I love diffusing it into the air, it smells like I’ve baked something yummy. This oil is a great substitute for synthetic options for immune support. The blend of oils is safe to use on countertops as an all-purpose cleaner, to cleanse surfaces, or to clear the atmosphere by diffusing it. If one of our family members starts to get sick I will also put it on the bottoms of their feet. DoTERRA sells an all-purpose cleaner called On Guard or you can mix up your own. Here is a link to a wonderful blog post that gives you 52 ideas to do with On Guard.

http://mamakautz.com/52-uses-doterras-guard-essential-oil/

 

Naturally Boosting Your Immune System-Diet

Today our immune boosting strategy will focus on something that can have a HUGE impact on all aspects of our lives, not just our immune system. One of the most important foundations for overall health is our diet. As you all already know from my previous posts I have a strong dislike for additives and preservatives and lots of added sugar. I haven’t always felt this way, trust me I have a serious sugar addiction. However, after my health scare this summer I knew we had to turn things around. I began to do my research and was horrified by what is in our foods and how much sugar we are taking in on a daily basis and not even realizing it. Now I am on a mission to not only change the foods my family consumes but also to share with anyone who will listen the health benefits to eating “real” food.

If children are being bombarded with food sugar, and preservatives their little immune systems can take a huge hit. When little ones take in too much sugar or preservatives their body has a difficult time fighting off the bad bacteria and viruses that it comes in contact with. There has actually been clinical trials done that have shown that sugar can suppress a child’s immune system.

There are also benefits for children who have food allergies. When a child has an allergy their body has to work harder to fight off the inflammation caused by the allergy. This makes fighting off viruses and bacteria in their body more difficult.

So how do you eat a “real” food diet? Start by making your focus be lots of fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, eggs, and meat. Fruits and veggies contain so many natural immune boosting properties, it is amazing what a little fruit can do for your system. Try to integrate lots of colorful fruits and veggies, these are high in vitamin C, A, and Phytonutrients. All of these support the immune system. When choosy veggies choose leafy green cruciferous vegetables. These include veggies such as broccoli, Brussel sprouts and cauliflower. Peppers, sweet potatoes and squashes are also packed with nutrition.

I know that sometimes it is difficult to get our little ones to eat their fruits and veggies. I have a little nephew who won’t eat anything but peanut butter and jelly sandwhiches and popcorn. It can be a battle at any kitchen table. Even my little ones who are great eaters will have their days. My daughter loves sweet potatoes but there are days when she won’t touch them. So what do you do if you have a picky eater who just won’t eat fruits and veggies? I recommend a product called Juice Plus. Juice is a fruit and vegetable supplement that helps pack the daily recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables into your little one. My kids love these little fruit chews and call them treats. Even my little nephew will eat them. If you want more information on Juice Plus please click here to read my blog post on Juice Plus and it’s benefits.

It’s not all about fruits and vegetables, you have to get your protein as well. You want to be sure to get plenty of proteins with each of your meal. Proteins are so important because they are the building blocks of the body. This includes your immune system and your detoxification system. We try to eat organic lean animal proteins in our diets. Also, integrate plant based proteins, these include legumes, nuts, and seeds. These animal based proteins are important to get integrate into each meal or snack.

It is also beneficial to add some spice to your diet. Add in some garlic, onion, ginger and lots of other spices to your diet. Adding these spices and others such as oregano and turmeric in your meals can up the nutritional value. Garlic and onions offer a wide spectrum of antimicrobial properties.

With all of this being said it is a wise idea to limit your whole family’s overall intake of preservatives, additives and sugars. Replace those yucky foods with vitamin packed fruits, vegetables, nuts, meats and healthy dairy such as Greek yogurt. For more information on “real” food recipes and blogs check out my recipe section and book shelf.

 

Naturally Boosting Your Immune System-Probiotics

The next natural immune boosting strategy is the use of probiotics. Probiotics are the friendly helpful bacteria that naturally occurs in each of our guts. Probiotics protect our digestive tracts, help us to digest food, assist in toxin cleansing, and they shield us from invading bacteria and viruses. When the bacteria balance in our guts become disruptive in children and adults you will see changes in the ability to fend off infections. The common name used with probiotics is Acidophillus, these are healthy bacteria that live in our intestine and help with our immune systems. The best species of probiotics are lactobacillus and bifidobacteria. These are available as liquid, powder, and capsules.

I first learned about probiotics with my first daughter. She had serious digestive issues as an infant. We began using them with her and then our son had the same issues. The probiotics were a life saver for their poor little tummies. The recommendations for young children are between 5 and 20 billion colony-forming units (CFUs) per day, depending on the child’s age. Please ask your health care provider for specific amounts. It is also important that you buy a high quality probiotic, one that is refrigerated to make sure the live cultures are thriving. The one we buy comes in a powder I just sprinkle it in their morning milk, they can’t taste it.

If you don’t want to take a probiotic daily or give one to your child you can also eat yogurt to achieve similar results Studies have shown that beneficial bacteria in active culture yogurt can help prevent stomachaches, diarrhea, food allergies, eczema, and repertory problems.

Whichever method you choose to use be sure to get those probiotics in your system each day to help support a good digestive system and in a healthy immune system.

How to Boost your Immune System

When your little one gets sick there are a number of vitamins you can give them to help boost their immune system to fight off the virus. These vitamins are also great when you want to be proactive and prevent illnesses by keeping their immune system strong

One of the best supplements you can give your little one to help boost their immune system is zinc. Zinc is a safe supplement you can feel good about giving your child. Dr. Sears recommends that kids up to age 6 get 10 to 20 mg per day. Older kids can take 20-40 mg per day. You can also help your children get zinc through the food they eat. Yogurt, peas, beef, and shrimp all include zinc.

The most famous of vitamins that adults often turn to when they feel sick is vitamin C. It is well known that Vitamin C is a supplement that can fight of invading germs. Dr. Sears recommends that for children under the age of six they get around 250 mg per day. Older kids and adults can take up to 500 mg per day.