by Dr. Carrie Ann Gallagher – Doctor of Chiropractic (USA) B. H Sc (Canada), Certified Clinical Chiropractic Paediatrics (C.C.C.P)
When functioning properly, the immune system fights disease-producing organisms such as bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites. Children are continuously exposed to these pathogens, however exposure does not necessarily mean your child will get sick, if it has a strong immune system with powerful natural defences against disease.
If your child happens to be one of those kids who gets sick more often than you’d like, or if you just want to do some immune boosting, here are some great, natural ways.
Immune boosting doesn’t just happen overnight, and being consistent with your child’s health is very important. These tips have good quality scientific evidence behind them, are affordable, safe, and you’ll be happy with the results!
- Good nutrition is essential to developing and keeping the immune system healthy and strong. Nutritional deficiencies may be responsible for chronic immune problems as it is easier for bacteria or viruses to take hold when important nutrients are missing. Unfortunately, most of our food supply is artificially manipulated and processed with many ingredients and additives that contribute to poor nutrition. Children will obtain far more nutrients from an organic wholefood diet, unprocessed and as close to nature as possible. Further, some supplementation of key nutrients may be required.
- Processed foods, sugar and soft drinks can weaken the immune system. Sugar has been shown to reduce white blood cell count, an indicator of immune strength.
- Dietary fats can either enhance or impair immune function, depending on the type of fat. The wrong types of fats (hydrogenated oils found in deep fried foods, margarine and baked goods) can predispose a child to recurrent infections and inflammatory conditions. Essential fatty acids (the good fats like fish oil, coconut oil, olive oil and chia seeds, so name a few) are essential to normal immune and nervous system function.
- Nutritional Supplementation
- When sourcing supplements it is very important to use high quality supplements, recommended by your healthcare practitioner. You don’t want any nasty ingredients and you also want to know that the supplements you are giving your children are being absorbed properly.
- Fish oil: has been shown to help achieve optimal immune health
- Vitamin C: boosts the immune system
- Vitamin D: needed for proper immune function
- Probiotics: Probiotics are the beneficial bacteria in the intestinal tract that keep the “bad” bacteria from taking over. This bacterium is essential for healthy immunity
- Iron, Zinc and other nutrients as recommended by your healthcare practitioner
- Research has shown that there is a direct link between sleep and the immune system. One of the consequences of sleep deprivation is a weakening of this system which leaves us less protected. Here are some tips to optimize sleep quantity and quality:
- Routine: having a set sleep routine for your child can be very beneficial
- No caffeine (eg. coffee, tea, green tea, dark chocolate)
- Screen time to a minimum (shouldn’t have any screen time in the evening)
- Make their bedroom a place to sleep: have a dark and relaxing environment that they feel safe and comfortable in
- Chiropractic Adjustment to Maximize and Maintain Your Child’s Nervous System
- Chiropractic adjustments help regulate the autonomic nervous system. The nervous system (brain, spinal cord, and nerves) controls pretty much everything, including sleep, stress response and more. It communicates with the endocrine and immune systems to control chemical reactions that keep you healthy.
- The ICPA (International Chiropractic Paediatric Association) has initiated a ground-breaking study on the safety and effectiveness of chiropractic care for children. The preliminary results are outstanding and show that chiropractic care is safe for children. Even more significant is that parents reported three unexpected improvements with their child’s care:
- Improved sleeping
- Improved behaviour and attitude
- Improved immune system function
To read more about this http://icpa4kids.com/research/updates/archives/Research_Update_008.htm