5 Ways to Upgrade Your Child’s Immunity (and even yours!)

The stress of the holidays, busy schedules, and changing weather can put stress on your child’s immune system.

That can leave her open to colds and flu, but it can also make her susceptible to seasonal allergies (which can stem from an overreactive immune system). 

You know what I mean: constant runny noses, ear infections, and missing school — you name it.

If you help your child’s immune system in functioning properly, focus on her gut: That’s where 70% of her immune system is found. 

That takes more than popping a daily probiotic. Try tweaking your routine to include these 5 habits so your child stays healthy through cold and allergy season:

1. Breakfast with fat and proteins

You know that a bowl of brightly colored cereal can cause a sugar crash and maybe a meltdown. But research also shows that a high sugar diet can lead to increased inflammation, reduced control of infection, and increased risk for allergic and autoimmune disease. 

Steer away from foods that can irritate the gut, like sugary cereals and bread.  Instead, combine fat, protein, fruits and veggies in a kid-friendly way:

  • Egg and avocado
  • Carrots roasted in grass fed butter/ghee with a side of seasonal fruit
  • Filling hot chocolate: Heat full cream coconut milk add some sugar free cacao powder along with cacao butter, add to blender and sweeten with stevia or xylitol. Flavor with cinnamon or cardamon.
  • Mixed berries with coconut cream and a scoop of collagen (optional)
  • Almond or cassava flour tacos with pasture raised ground beef  or with scrambled egg

These options will help them with sustained energy, and not cause a crash after a few hours and also boost their cognitive ability and focus through the day.

2. Add healthy fats throughout the day

While snacking on saturated fats like greasy potato chips can increase inflammation, eating polyunsaturated fats like fatty fish has the opposite effect. That’s because the types of fat we consume can rapidly change our gut microbiota and help lessen symptoms of asthma and autoimmune disease. 

Ghee, a clarified butter traditionally used in Indian cooking, is another healthy source of fat. Ghee contains butyrate — a fatty acid that’s been shown to support a healthy digestive tract. 

Add good fats to your child’s lunchbox and dinner plate:

  • Coconut oil: try coconut macaroons as an easy snack or add to smoothies
  • Grassfed butter or ghee(which is without casein in case of dairy intolerance): cook veggies with these fats
  • Fatty fish: Season wild caught Alaskan salmon with lemon and pink salt, bake in ghee and serve with a side of rice and veggies

3. Sip a cup of healing bone broth a few times a week

Bone broth is an ancient drink made by simmering bones in water until the bones start to crumble. Cooking the bones for so long releases gelatin, bone marrow, and minerals that help strengthen the gut. And a healthy gut leads to a healthy immune system.

Like any new food, your child may be reluctant to try bone broth. One way to overcome this is to get them involved in making it. My daughter helps me shop for soup bones at the farmer’s market, and I let her add the ingredients and spices. Upgraded the broth with anti-inflammatory spices like turmeric, cumin and ginger.  We love to use the broth in soups and curries, or just warm up with a cup on a cold day.

4. Stay hydrated

Water helps your child’s system run smoothly, but dry winter air can dehydrate quickly. Make sure your child drinks enough water, especially on school days. Coconut water tastes great and adds a potassium boost — just be sure to choose a brand with no added sweeteners.

5. Establish a nighttime routine

A nightly ritual of breathing exercises followed by a cup of herbal tea can help calm the nervous system and set your child up for a good night’s sleep — which is critical for gut and immune health. 

After watching me meditate, my daughter started her own nightly meditation ritual. At first, she struggled to sit still for 3 minutes. With some time and the help of a guided meditation app, she’s built up her meditation practice at bedtime. The app has helped her to enjoy meditating. Now, even on days when she’s late for her bedtime, she hates to miss it because she loves how calm it makes her feel. 

PS: Want to learn more about what is keeping you from staying energized, vitalized and high performing, schedule a complimentary session with me.

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