In the northern hemisphere, annual influenza epidemics occur during autumn and winter affecting approximately 5-15% of the population
IT is a good idea to look after your family’s immune system well before the cold season knocks on the door.
There are innumerous nutrients and herbs in your health stores and pharmacies that might come in handy, but neither would be any good unless you are able to absorb them! It might surprise some that we need to start the immune boost from the belly.
This long tube, called the digestive tract, is our first line of defense against microbial invaders and houses up to 80% of our immunity. Probiotic (good) bacteria living in our gut outnumber our own cells by 10 to 1 because they are so important for our health.
These microscopic soldiers help to fight off pathogenic (bad) bacteria and fungi, and at the same time, balance other components of the immune system and help to absorb other immune supporting nutrients.
Nature gave you great diversity of these good bugs, but as always, man made chemicals interfere with the fine ecology of your gut.
As Hippocrates said, every disease starts in the gut, therefore it is a good idea to top up the most important Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria species by eating a wide variety of fermented foods, or at least taking probiotic capsules for a couple of months at each changing of season, and especially when you need to take antibiotics.
Home-made natural yoghurt (not commercial!), kefir and raw sauerkraut are just some examples where you could top-up your microflora, although their taste might not be everyone’s cup of tea. Fear not, there is diversity available in your health store in capsule form!
Daily intake of a good variety of fruits and vegetables are needed, not only for their exceptional nutrient supply, but because they feed our beneficial bacteria with soluble fiber, helping them colonize our system.
Other great sources of soluble fiber are whole grains such as oats and legumes (beans and peas). Sugar on the other hand weakens the immunity. Just a teaspoon of the white crystals suppress the immunity by 50% for up to 5 hours – most likely by feeding unwanted pathogens. Try xylitol, erythritol or stevia for sweetening, raw local honey or active Manuka Honey in the cold season.
Encourage your family to have a piece of fruit every day and a variety of vegetables for both lunch and dinner. Disguise vegetables if needed by making soups, pasta sauces, stews, lasagna and falafel balls.
If a child is reluctant to eat well, do not replace proper meals with refined, processed foods. It is better if children go hungry every now and again than loading their system with immune-suppressing sugar and chemicals.
Give the child Bio-Kult Advanced Multi Strain probiotics and a digestive enzyme supplement before meals to support the digestive system, top-up their nutrient intake with a good multivitamin and cod liver oil, and in time they will be more interested in the variety of health-giving foods nature provides us with.
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