Immunity

With the colder, darker days of the winter season finally upon us, paired with the constant bombardment of germs from day care, school, the local playpark etc., it pays to have some preventative health measures in the pantry and daily routine.

There are definitely a few remedies I make sure are mainstay in my family’s routine and, however subtle, when embraced with a few dietary avoidances + dietary and lifestyle focus they are supportive enough to help the family survive and thrive amongst the inevitable woes of the cold and flu season.

 

My favourite pantry investments ...

~ Tea such as Echinacea for it’s immune enhancing properties, Rosehip for high Vitamin C, Elderflower for its upper respiratory benefits, Raspberry Leaf for it’s soothing qualities, and good old honey, lemon and ginger for all it’s wonderfulness. Beyond the therapeutic benefits of tea, kids love herbal teas and the increase in fluids is a perfect way to help detoxify the nasty germs.

~ Gut goodness is vital as this is where most of your immune system resides. Out of the pantry this is broth aka liquid gold. It is a highly absorbable powerhouse of gut loving goodness. Inside the pantry, I am a big fan of umeboshi plums which you can add to rice or consume with warm water and honey, but if that’s not your thing go for good quality yoghurt, kombucha, kefir and fermented veg or a lesser appreciated but an amazing addition to culinary lovers is unpasteurized miso. Just don’t heat or add any of these to boiling hot water or it will kill the good bacteria and the benefits.

~ Local honey + bee pollen is a fabulous preventative and with more urban and amateur bee keepers pooping up it is easy to get your hands on your local stuff so keep an eye out. Be sure to start slowly with bee products like pollen, incase of a heightened immune response, and both pollen and honey are not suitable for children under 12 months of age.

~ Complete food supplements like Gubinge powder (an Australian fruit / Kakadu Plum which is packed with Vitamin C). I add Gubinge to smoothies or I give it to the kids mixed in with kombucha for double whammy benefits.

~ Macrobiotic salt is a must for it’s treasured trace minerals, such as selenium & zinc, which are vital for immunity and often depleted due to negligent farming techniques.

~ Garlic. With everything!!! It's antimicrobial factors increase ten folds once you have cut it so prepare your garlic 10 minutes ahead of cooking with it.

 

Foods to AVOID include:

~ Dairy unless you can get your hands on some un-pasteurised cheeses which I add in for a variety of benefits and namely because they still contain all their necessary enzymes to help break down the otherwise troublesome protein content (unlike pasteurized dairy). Yoghurt and kefir are also exceptions as they have a host of beneficial bacteria, but I stick to sheep’s and goat’s milk as they are easier to digest. And a good pastured + cultured butter is also a worthwhile inclusion.

~ Sugar is in everything so try and avoid processed/refined/junk foods as they literally rob you of the nutrients you need to help you get better plus their high sugar content is a favourite food for your nasty bugs. I could bet on high sugar consumption being one of the main contributors to prolonged sickness in kids. If you have a sweet tooth choose something real and beneficial like kiwi fruits which are deliciously sweet plus full of Vitamin C.

~Allergenic foods which are likely to cause low grade inflammation in the body and irritate your gastrointestinal tract. It takes some careful investigation to figure out what upsets you personally but some good foods to start with are dairy, wheat and gluten. And in this case you’ll be eliminating them completely for some time before slowly reintroducing some of the beneficial options and watching to see how your body reacts. A side not here: previously recommenced local bee pollen is also a wonderful remedy for those who suffer from airborne allergies. Start with small quantities.

 

Foods and lifestyle to INCREASE include:

~ Fruit and vegetable for so many reasons but notably their high antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and nutrient profile. Choose organic and from a farmer you know values his soil.

~ Adequate protein at each meal as protein provides the building blocks of our body, including constituents needed for proper digestion. For a practical guide think a portion of fish, meat or poultry to fit in the palm of your hand, or your child's hand, or when choosing vegetarian you need to give careful consideration to food combining in order to obtain all the essential amino acids.

~ Healthy fats like oily cold-water fish and perhaps stick to river trout to avoid microplastics (a sad reality), avocados, olives…

~ Broths and soups a plenty as they have many nutritional benefits and increase much needed hydration. For children, I like to add a small quantity of rice and some vegetable, quinoa udon noodles also work really well.

~ Sunshine for it’s beautiful healing abilities, namely Vitamin D : )

~ Exercise

~ Plenty of rest

~ Good hygiene