At this time of year – as the nights start drawing in, the days and nights feel chillier and the rain starts to fall in ever increasing amounts, the winter bugs are also just around the corner. Schools and pre-schools are a breeding ground for bugs and keeping your child bug free is a constant challenge over the Autumn and Winter months.
Here are our top tips for to help boost your child’s (and your) immunity to keeping them fighting fit over the next few months.
1 Boost your immunity with Berries – All fruit is good for you, but berries in particular are full of antioxidants and Vitamin C – crucial for helping fight winter bugs. The fact they are small, sweet and colourful often means children are very happy to eat them – an added bonus! Our lovely tunic bibs will help protect their clothes from berry stains.
2. Lots of exercise and fresh air. Ensuring children get plenty of exercise is important whatever the weather – it helps them sleep better (boosting our immunity), increases their appetite and keeps them fit – helping them fight off the bugs whenever they need to. Splashing in puddles, hunting for conkers or acorns, swishing through the Autumn leaves are all things my children really enjoy in the Autumn. As an old Scandinavian saying goes ‘There’s no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothing’.
3. A Variety of Vegetables. Vegetables are such a fantastic source of nutrients, vital for a healthy immune system. Unfortunately, our little ones often don’t see vegetables in this way and getting some children to eat vegetables on a regular basis can be a challenge. My middle daughter is particularly challenging when it comes to vegetables. Soups and pasta sauces are a good way of smuggling some extra nutrients into their meals. Whilst all vegetables are nutrient rich, the best for boosting immunity are onions, broccoli, spinach, cabbage and sweetcorn. Our splashmats and oilcloth will help protect your table and floor from soup and sauce spills and splashes.
4. Probiotics – these replenish the good bacteria in our gut, which is important for boosting gut immunity and helping fight infection. Probiotics also help control Candida and other yeast which can weaken the immune system if they get out of control. Lots of live yoghurt is great for helping with gut health – mine love live yoghurt with a dollop of honey or there are many probiotic yoghurt drinks now available. Probiotics will also help replenish good bacteria in the gut which can be killed off by antibiotics.
5. Garlic is a really powerful natural way to enhance immunity with lots of antibiotic properties and known to help fight various viruses. Including some garlic in pasta sauces, soups, other sauces etc. will really help boost your little one’s immune system.
6. Lots of liquid – we are told how important it is to drink lots of water on a daily basis. Generally children don’t drink nearly enough – particularly in the winter months when it’s not so hot. I face a constant battle with my youngest to get her to drink much water at all. Children don’t need the 8 glasses recommended for adults, but drinking water regularly will help children flush out any toxins, keeping their bodies as fit as possible to fight infections.
7. Less sugar. There is so much talk nowadays about the dangers of too much sugar. Many studies have shown that sugar can suppress the immune system. Eating or drinking lots of sugar can temporarily weaken immune system cells which fight bacteria, leaving your body less resistant to germs and bugs.
8. Washing hands before eating. An age old piece of advice but one which really does stand the test of time. Ensuring your messy little ones wash their hands regularly, particularly before meals, really can help keep those nasty bugs and germs at bay.
Over the next few weeks we’ll be sharing some delicious immune boosting snack and meal ideas as well as some great Autumn craft and activity ideas to keep your little ones happy (and possibly messy!) as the nights draw in.