5 foods to help beat the cold/flu season blues
Updated: Apr 26
Whilst there’s still beautiful blue skies and warmth around, we are well into autumn and winter's not far away. This year, even more so, we are all searching for ways to support our children's immune systems. So, what are my recommendations as to the best foods to eat to help boost the immune system?
· Now by this, I’m not referring to orange coloured Smarties or Skittles but rather real orange foods like sweet potato, carrots, mangoes and apricots. These are rich in betacarotene, the orange-yellow pigment in foods, which is then converted into Vitamin A within our bodies. The Vitamin A is important for your child’s mucus membranes and, hence, boosting their immune system. Try a carrot soup, or baking sweet potato chips, making a mango smoothie or adding stewed apricots to breakfast.
Berries are rich in Vitamin C, which is a well-known antioxidant to help fight colds and flu. Berry smoothies, berries on morning pancakes, berry chia puddings, berries on their own are all fantastic ways to get your kids consuming Vitamin C. Vitamin C is also found in citrus fruits, capsicum and broccoli.
Fish, like sardines, mackerel and herring, are a great source of Vitamin D. Vitamin D helps support the immune system. Fish makes a tasty breakfast, lunch or dinner! Other sources of Vitamin D are eggs or simply being outdoors in the winter sunshine.
Traditionally-fermented foods may be trendy but they really are beneficial to the gut by providing your child with probiotics. With 70% of the immune system found in the gut, it is so important to maintain a balance in the gut microbiome. Some gut bacteria have been shown to be immune fighting. The easiest fermented foods to give to your child are likely to be sauerkraut (a small teaspoon added to lunch or dinner regularly) or even a natural full fat yoghurt (I’m not talking about sweetened flavoured yoghurts here). You can add your own flavours to take away the sour taste, such as honey, maple syrup, fruit purees and stewed fruit that don’t have artificial flavours, and heaps of added sugar.
Organic meat (or at least grass-fed)
Organic meat is a great source of zinc. Zinc is an especially useful mineral for supporting the immune system within your child’s body. Many children are often low in this nutrient too. Organic meat also provides iron which is necessary for the production of haemoglobin, the part of the blood cells that take the oxygen around the body, and hence enabling all cells to function. Often, children that are low in iron are more susceptible to picking up colds and flu. Ask your butcher if their meat is organic or grass-fed, otherwise you may find a great local farmer at your local farmer’s market (or delivering locally) Failing that most supermarkets now stock organic or grass-fed meat.
By filling your child’s body with wholefoods, you are doing the best you can to enable your child to deal with the cold or flu bug when it is caught. It can be hard to avoid , but with a strong immune system and plenty of handwashing, hopefully it won’t knock them down for too long.
Check out my other post here on tips to deal with the cold or flu when it hits.