By Megan Yonsen
Ahhh… it’s that season again. Kids’ backpacks are armed with packets of tissues and the school classroom is an orchestra of sniffles. To stave off the inevitable playground flu fest, we asked author, naturopath and mum of two Jessica Donovan to share her insider tips to kick colds to the curb this winter and boost your kid’s immune system
- Ditch sugar
Sugar-filled treats can send kids into hyper mode, but it mucks with their immune system, reducing the activity of white blood cells so they become ineffective at protecting kids from the bugs that are rife in winter.
- Brighten up their plates
Brightly coloured real food (we’re not talking smarties here!) contains high levels of antioxidants and phytochemicals which strengthen kids’ immune systems. Blueberries, beetroot, baby spinach, pumpkin and kiwi fruit are all great sources of antioxidants.
- Dose up with good bugs
Babies that are born by Caesarean or fed formula, as well as kids that take antibiotics regularly or have high sugar diets, have lower levels of these protective good bugs. Incorporate fermented foods such as kombucha, kefir, yoghurt or homemade fermented veggies to their meals to help reduce the frequency of colds and other infections.
- Knock back some broth
Bone broths contain ample amounts of important minerals such as calcium, magnesium and potassium, which improves immune response to cold and flu bugs. Luckily, bone broth is super easy to make and has a neutral taste – your little ankle biters won’t even realise they are slurping down nutritional gold!
- Jump in muddy puddles
The hygiene hypothesis states that lack of exposure to microbes suppresses the natural development of the immune system. Playing outside in the dirt benefits kid’s immune systems in a number of ways. It exposes them to microbes, supporting healthy development of their immune system, and at the same time they’re soaking up the sun’s rays, improving their vitamin D levels.