My top 3 tips to fight the cold/flu bugs
I read a lot of nutrition/naturopathic-related posts and blogs and, at present, many (well, Australian based anyway) are writing about or advising about cold and flu bugs and boosting our immune systems. I am no different! The cold bugs have been circulating our household too. I am in full immune-boost mode! Part of me wondered whether it was worth writing yet another immune tips -type post but then I realised by posting my tips it would help reconfirm the common messages that many other nutritionists promote and advise in our clinics.
So here goes…….my top 3 tips for when your child has a cold or flu bug.
Rest. Let them spend a day resting in bed, watching TV, reading a book or some other quiet activity. Your child’s body need to put all it’s energy into getting rid of the virus or other pathogen that is making them feel unwell.
Drink. Drinking plenty of fluids is important to maintain the body’s hydration and to help flush out the bugs. If they have a fever, this is even more important to make up for the extra fluids lost. I suggest plain water or coconut water (great for balancing electrolytes). I also use good quality bone broths and homemade smoothies. This is not the time for sugary drinks as sugar inhibits the body’s natural ability to deal with the bugs
Eat. Often your child won’t feel like eating much when they are ill but when they do, don’t offer biscuits, lollies and other highly-processed foods. Their body needs nutrients to help them get better quickly. In particular, choose Vitamin C rich foods (like berries, kiwi, citrus fruits, broccoli, baby spinach), Zinc-rich foods (like pumpkin seeds) and Vitamin E rich foods (like nuts, seeds) as all of these nutrients are important in the functioning of our immune systems. I make homemade smoothies with coconut water, kiwi, banana and a small handful of baby spinach or dig out the homemade chicken broth from the freezer and turn it into an immune-boosting chicken noodle soup (see recipe below). The soup is comforting, warming and full of nourishment.
Children are more susceptible to feeling unwell at this time of year; I believe it is part of the way we build and strengthen a healthy immune system. However, if you feel your child suffers from lots of colds/flu bugs or takes a while to recover, it may mean that they are low in certain nutrients, have poor gut health or that their immune system needs boosting in other ways. I recommend that you see a nutritionist or naturopath for further advice.
Immune-boosting recipe Chicken Noodle Soup (Serves 1)
Knob of butter
¼ onion, finely diced
½ garlic clove, crushed
1 cup good quality chicken bone broth
½ cup mixed chopped veggies (eg carrot, cabbage, green beans, broccoli)
½ cup brown rice noodles
1-2 tbsp chopped parsley
In a saucepan, melt butter and sauté onion and garlic together until translucent.
Add chicken broth and chopped veggies, bring to boil then simmer for 5 minutes.
Add noodles, continue to simmer for another 5 minutes or until veggies are tender and noodles soft.
Pour into bowl or large mug. Scatter parsley on the top.