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Immunity-Boosting Foods and Natural Supplements for Children

Dr. Trudy Pieper, ND

Central Ohio Doctors LAIf a child’s immune system is strong enough when exposed to disease, it will fight off the illness and keep the child healthy. Building the child’s body up through a healthier lifestyle, along with consuming herbs that aid in strengthening the immune system, are primary ways to prevent sickness in the first place.

Herbal prevention helps children become more resistant to disease. If children do get sick, the symptoms of the disease can be less severe and the children can recover faster. The key to using herbs with children is to find an acceptable preparation they are able to ingest. Most children cannot swallow capsules, so they need a liquid dosage.

  • Black Elderberries (sambucus nigra) are antiviral, actually helping to inhibit viruses from entering our cells. They also inhibit the spread of viral infections, are good for the respiratory system and have a pleasant taste. Brew the berries and/or their flowers as a tea, and drink it hot or cold daily as a prevention tool, or consume one-half to two teaspoons of a liquid extract or syrup daily. They can also be found in gummy form.
  • Echinacea angustifolia is one of the best herbs for the immune system, and currently the most popular herbal supplement in the U.S. It contains a substance that inhibits the spread of bacterial infection. It also is thought to activate and stimulate the production of white blood cells. Obtain a liquid root extract, and blend one teaspoon with another herbal syrup, such as elderberry, to hide the taste. Consume for one week, up to one month total, to build immunity.
  • Thyme is thought to stimulate the thymus gland, which regulates the immune system. It is also a powerful antiseptic and disinfectant, and has been used to break up mucus, plus fight colds, coughs, fevers, headaches and sore throats. The herb’s name comes from thumus, a Greek word meaning “courage.” No courage is required to try some thyme in the kitchen, however. Its aroma and taste are culinary staples of meats, salads, sauces and soups. Use a teaspoon when cooking to beef up a child’s immune system.
  • Catnip – one whiff immediately suggests hints of mint and lemon. Like fellow members of the mint family, catnip contains considerable quantities of both vitamins C and E, each excellent antioxidants that fight free radical damage, a potential cause of illness. Catnip also settles the stomach and soothes the nerves. It has long been used as a remedy for colic, gas and indigestion in children. Try a teaspoon of catnip tincture daily, or instead brew the herb fresh or dried in hot water and drink as hot or cold tea.

For more information, contact 740-616-9949 or visit PhoenixWellness4U.com.

Dr. Bryce Arndt, D.C. FIAMA

When it comes to a decision on whether or not to consider vitamins and supplements for your children, consider the sources of the food and current dietary standards. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), a survey of our locally grown produce showed staggering declines in nutritional values from 1975 to 1997. In that time, fresh vegetable dropped 27 percent in calcium, 37 percent in iron, 21 percent in vitamin A, and 30 percent in vitamin C.

In order to make up for these nutritional shortfalls, consider a vitamin or supplement, which are safe if consumption is monitored and the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) is followed. Also, consult a naturopathic physician or dietician for guidance.

For more information, call 614-382-2710 or email DrArndt@live.com.

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