With the kids at school and cold and flu season looming it's never more important to protect them against harmful pathogens, keep their energy up and their brains focused. Keeping your children free of illness and focused in school might seem like a monumental task, but with the right nutrition and supplementation it may be easier than you think!
So, what can we do nutritionally to boost the immune systems of our little ones?
Firstly we need to make sure they are getting enough antioxidants through in their diet by including plenty of fruits and vegetables. Vitamin E, C and Zinc are particularly important and can be found in high amounts in blueberries, strawberries, citrus fruits, kale, avocado, nuts and seeds.
Smoothies are a great way to sneak kale, avocado and seeds into the diet of a fussy eater, and you can add honey to sweeten. Manuka honey is ideal for kids around this time of year as it has added immune boosting, antibacterial and antiviral benefits. The natural sugars in Manuka honey provide a source of fuel and energy without spiking the blood sugar as much as regular sugar. It is important that we keep children’s blood sugar levels stable for a number of reasons- firstly because it is an important factor in preventing diabetes, but secondly because sugar highs and consequent lows can lead to mood imbalances, hyperactivity, anxiety and irritability which is bad enough for an adult to deal with, never mind a child who then has to sit in a classroom and be expected to concentrate. You could try the Manuka Health Manuka Honey, as great care has been taken to ensure that Methylglyoxal, the unique compound in Manuka Honey, is maintained from the bee-hive to the finished product so you do not lose any of the valuable properties of this remarkable honey.
Another great way to support your child's immune system is to optimise the digestion and encourage the growth of good bacteria in the gut, think of this "good bacteria" as an army, if they can survive, replicate and thrive then they will outnumber any pathogenic bacteria we are exposed to. This can be done by supplementing with probiotics. Make sure you choose a blend of at least 5-8 different strains of probiotics as strength is important for effectiveness. I would suggest you to check Udo’s Choice Junior Microbiotics that provides 3 billion viable bacteria and 7 microbiotic strains.
Kids are forever learning, and so it’s important to make sure you are providing the correct nutrients for growing minds and brains. Good fats are necessary to support the brain and the nervous system- these fats are called essential fatty acids, or EFA’s. EFA’s cannot be made by the body and so needs must be met through the diet alone. They can be split into two types - Omega 6 and Omega 3. Omega 6 promotes inflammation and is distributed generously within a typical Western diet- it is found in: eggs, poultry, cereals, grains and vegetable oils.
Inflammation is one of the body’s inherent protective responses, but due to a combination of lifestyle and diet choices we are finding uncontrollable inflammation at the root of many illnesses and chronic disease. Omega 3 on the other hand is a potent anti-inflammatory it is also particularly good for cognitive function, memory, concentration and focus- making it an even more crucial element to a child’s diet. It is somewhat harder to find good sources of Omega 3 in the diet- it can be found in fatty, cold water fish as well as cold pressed olive oil and flaxseed oil, however getting children to eat fish can be a real challenge for many parents. Krill oil is an excellent source of omega 3 and is an easily absorbable form for the body.
Cleanmarine have created an Cleanmarine For Kids, which is a phospholipid omega 3 developed especially for kids.