I can’t believe the Summer is almost gone! We had a blast visiting Hershey Park in PA and Scarborough Beach here in RI. The time flew by and now the kids are back to school. And all I can think about is how much the schools are a breeding ground for colds and other sicknesses. Time to start boosting their immune systems before they bring that crap home!
Best Immune Boosters for Kids
Wanna prevent or lessen the duration of sicknesses? Then check out this list of my favorite immune boosters for people of all ages.
Vitamin C from Real Food
Vitamin C has been touted as a great immune booster and antioxidant for decades. But, not all vitamin C is created equal. Created is the key word there because lab synthesized vitamin C lacks the cofactors that help our bodies absorb and use it. Much of it just goes right through us without being absorbed. Yes, it is cheaper, but you literally might as well throw your money right into the toilet. You might ask “What about Emergen C? That is supposed to be like a billion mg per serving. Won’t that help?” It has to have so much because so much just goes right through you. Yes, it does help some people, but it may also be doing harm. A friend of mine ended up with kidney stones because her body was taxed with flushing all the excess synthetic C from her system. Her very young children had colds and she was trying to be proactive and started taking 5000mg of synthetic vitamin C daily (Emergen-C) to stave it off. After a couple weeks of this, she was in terrible pain from trying to pass the stones. Her PCP said it was from her body eliminating all the unabsorbed synthetic C. The cold would have been preferable!
So, here at Nourishing World, we sell only vitamin C supplements from whole food and real food sources – the kind your body can absorb properly and effectively. My personal favorite is the Catie’s Vitamin C Plus. This is a powdered supplement that can be added to drinks or smoothies, yogurt, apple sauce or any super moist food. It cannot be cooked, so don’t add it to hot foods or drinks. It tastes like fruit punch, so you can mix it into your kids water bottles for school to keep their immunity high all day. If they don’t like the taste of this one, my next favorite is Pure Synergy Vitamin C. This is a super concentrated real food vitamin C supplement. The serving size is just 1/4 tsp or one capsule. Again the powder can be added to many foods. I take vitamin C every day not just for it’s immune boosting effects, but also because it is vital to helping our body absorb proteins. And, our bodies cannot produce vitamin C, no matter what we eat. We have to get it from outside sources, so if you don’t think you eat much vitamin C in a day, then a high quality vitamin C supplement is very important for you.
Medicinal Grade Manuka Honey
While regular honey has some immune boosting properties, medicinal grade Manuka honey kicks it up a few notches. This is super easy to get children to take because it is sweet and tasty. It can be mixed into warm liquids (under 96° F), spread on crackers or bread, or mixed with your favorite nut butter. Again, avoid mixing it with hot foods or drinks. It is a fantastic supplement to have on hand for immune boosting and so much more. It is also great for the digestive tract and is a fantastic natural anti-inflammatory. And, Manuka honey is antibacterial and antimicrobial, so it is great to use on wounds and burns. I used a combination of this and emu oil on my stitches and resulting wounds after my ACL/MCL knee surgery. Both my doctor and physical therapist were amazed at how well I healed. And two years later I have only very faint scars.
Our favorite brand is Wedderspoon Manuka Honey because it is raw. Therefore it contains all the beneficial enzymes that many other brands cook out. You can read more about this fantastic supplement here. When my daughter has a mild cold, I send her to school with a couple of the Honey On The Go packets to take while at school to help keep her body fighting that cold all day
Superfood Antioxidant Acai
Size doesn’t always matter. Acai berries, while small, are the world’s most concentrated antioxidant source! And our favorite brand, Perfect Acai has an astounding ORAC value of 50,000 per 100 g – on average 50 higher than the competition. This is because Perfect Acai is organic and super pure with no fillers of flow agents. Aside from being a great immune booster, acai also has anti-inflammatory properties and has been shown to help regulate cholesterol levels and reverse free radical damage.
Perfect Acai comes in capsule or powder form. The capsules are great for older kids and busy adults who want to get their antioxidants quickly. The powder is perfect for adding to food and smoothies for young children or quick easy breakfasts. I put this in my morning smoothie to keep my immunity up all year round.
Improve Gut Health with Probiotics
Did you know that your gut houses 70% of the cells that make up our immune system? That’s right, so a healthy gut is crucial to a healthy immune system. One of the best and easiest things everyone can do for their guts is to take a really good probiotic. Probiotics can help our bodies maintain a good ratio of bacteria in our entire digestive system. All sorts of problems can occur when the ratio gets out of whack. I really can’t go into all the benefits of adding probiotics to your regimen, so to learn more about the benefits of probiotics, check out this article.
My all time favorite probiotic is Prescript Assist. This is a soil-based probiotic that is safe for people of all ages. If children cannot swallow the capsules, then they can be opened and poured into food or thick drinks. The powder won’t dissolve, so if you pour it into water or juice, it will float on top and stick to the sides of the glass. This is the probiotic I have been taking for years.
Boost Brain Power & Immunity with Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is a fantastic immune booster because of all the unique medium chain fatty acids in it, lauric acid, capric acid and caprylic acid. During digestion, these are broken down into monoglycerides and free fatty acids. The monoglycerides deter microbes from attacking our immune system. Monolaurin, from lauric acid, is believed to have the best antiviral, anti-fungal and antibacterial effect. Good coconut oil contains more naturally occurring lauric acid than any other food besides breast milk. And it is great for brain power at school and work.
But, not all coconut oils are as good. Make sure you get a high quality, unrefined coconut oil if you want to get all the immune and brain boosting goodness from it. We sell two excellent quality coconut oils, Perfect Coconut Oil and Blue Breeze Coconut Oil from Green Pastures. Both are organic and cold pressed. Perfect Coconut Oil comes in capsules, too for those who like the ease of swallowing capsules.
Coconut oil can be added to oatmeal or any hot cereal, smoothies, or you can even make salad dressing out of it. You can stir-fry veggies with it or use it in baking. Adding one or two tablespoons a day to your children’s diet can help boost their immune system and their brain power.
Final Thoughts on Immune Boosting for Kids
This is a list of real food supplements that can be taken daily to help boost and keep our immune systems healthy. I know from experience that taking Perfect Acai and Vitamin C daily has helped me go from getting six or more colds a year to once or fewer. I also take more if I feel a tiny bit under the weather to help stave off colds before they take root. We have other great immune boosters, like cod liver oil, but that is much harder to get kids to take. The immune boosters on this list can be taken daily by people of all ages. So, what are you waiting for? Grab some and get it in yourself and your kids before they bring home something besides their latest art project.