Supporting your child’s immune system in winter

July 17, 2018
Children’s Health, Colds & Hayfever, Immunity

You can support your child’s immune system function through winter. Here’s how to help them through the cold season.

Kids love winter. They delight in jumping in muddy puddles, seeing their own breath in the crisp morning air, or toasting marsh-mallows over a fire.

Winter fun doesn’t have to include lots of colds. Children can get several common colds per year and may take a couple of weeks to fully recover. Here are some steps to help reduce the occurrence of common colds.

Healthy eating

A healthy diet supports your child’s immune system function. Try to feed your child a variety of wholegrains, protein, dairy (yoghurt is a good source of probiotics) and a colourful mix of fruits and vegetables.

Certain vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients are known to support your child’s immune system function. These include:

  • Vitamin C, found in brightly coloured fruits and vegetables
  • Beta-carotene found in sweet potatoes, carrots and pumpkins
  • Zinc found in red meat, poultry, beans and nuts.

A healthy diet also influences your child’s microbiome, including the billions of gut bacteria that support their immune system health.

Probiotics

Probiotics support healthy levels of ‘good’ bacteria in your child’s gut. The right probiotic may help to reduce the number of colds your child gets. Probiotics are also another good way to support the health of their microbiome.

Just like vitamins, each probiotic strain can have a different purpose. Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG is a strain that supports children’s immune health and may help reduce the number of colds they catch.

Life-Space’s Children Immune Support Probiotic contains the scientifically researched strain Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG. It also includes Elderflower, traditionally used in Western Herbal Medicine to relieve symptoms of the common cold such as coughs and catarrh, and vitamin D and zinc which support children’s healthy immune function.

It’s a multi-strain formula with no added dairy, gluten or egg for kids aged 3-12. And it doesn’t need to be refrigerated. Start giving it to your kids to help reduce the occurrence of common colds, and to support their immune system health.

Being active

Kids have an enviable supply of energy so turn off the screens and take them outside to run around. Exercise improves physical, mental and emotional health. Kids aged 5-12 need at least an hour of physical activity every day.

Sunshine

Seize opportunities for your kids to soak up winter sunshine. It boosts the ‘happy hormone’ serotonin, which regulates the immune system.

Sunlight is also our main source of vitamin D. In addition to sunshine and consuming foods that contain this vitamin, you can contribute to your intake of vitamin D with a supplement to support immune system function.

Sleeping well

After running around outside, your kids should hopefully be tired! Good sleep helps children to grow, learn and behave.

A consistent bedtime routine helps your child form good sleep habits. Keep electronic distractions out of their bedroom and avoid screens during the half-hour before bed. Use this time to snuggle up and read a bedtime story.

Love and laughter

A strong loving parental bond contributes to your child’s long-term health and resilience.

Give your kids lots of cuddles and tickles, listen to them, encourage them and tell them you love them. Put your phone down and be present with them.

Love and laughter can have a profound effect on your child’s immune health. Positive emotions help people resist colds.

A well-supported immune system should help your child enjoy winter with fewer colds.

Always read the label. Use only as directed. If symptoms persist consult your healthcare practitioner. Supplements should not replace a balanced diet.

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