I have been researching herbal remedies and alternative treatments for children lately. My six year old is exposed to a new illness every week at school it seems so taking care of him and my other kids in a natural way is of great concern to me. I will try and break up this information into segments…and start with information on maintaining a healthy immune system.
Healthy Immune System
The first thing to consider is that they need a healthy immune system in order to fight off anything that they get exposed to. The basics in keeping an immune system healthy would be to make sure that your kids are eating a healthy diet with lots of the important vitamins, getting adequate exercise, and good sleep. But beyond that many health officials are telling us we should also use supplements like fish oil and probiotics.
Fish oils are rich in essential fatty acids, including omega-3s, so they provide a powerful immunity boost. I know that there are many moms that disagree with using this source of omega-3s, vegans included, but other sources such as flax seed may not be an acceptable alternative. Flax seeds contain the omega-3 fatty acid ALA that must be converted to DHA by an enzyme so that the body can incorporate it into cells. Children make this enzyme only in small amounts, if at all. If they do not have the enzyme they will not benefit from the omega-3 fat in flax seeds. Newborns are completely unable to convert ALA to DHA. Even adults struggle with this conversion. Hence, Flax seeds are not an adequate source of DHA.
So that brings us back to fish oil, which has been touted for years for its health benefits. Just make sure that any fish oil you buy is labeled mercury free. Look for products that say pharmaceutical grade or distilled, to make sure no mercury, other metals, PCBs, or dioxins are contained in it.
You may also want to consider probiotics. Probiotics are healthy bacteria such as acidophilus or lactobacillus, found in yogurt. We should have healthy bacteria in our bodies but this can be undermined by things like stress, an inadequate diet, and the use of antibiotics. Taking daily probiotics reintroduces these healthy bacteria, which can help with gastrointestinal viruses, eczema, food allergies, and asthma.
Make sure to read up on both of these healthy options for a super immunity boost for you and for your children. :)