Photograph : Julia Atkinson for Studio Home
Katherine Lonsdale – Cooper is the fantastic young Naturopath behind new natural health and wellness location The Tonic Room. In line with her launch of both a bricks’n’mortar store and extensive online apothecary, she is determind to drag natural health into the mainstream and part of this is demystifying and presenting information to those of us interested in a way that we can actually understand!
SO – it’s with great pleasure that we welcome Kat onboard as a regular contributor and I hope you find some seeds of information in here that are handy!
With the cooler months quickly approaching, we have seen an increasing numbers of diligent parents in store asking for ways to naturally support their children’s immune system. I love this! As I often explain to people, prevention is key when it comes to fighting colds and flus.
In the simplest of terms, your immune system is an intricately balanced network of cells and organs that work together to defend you against illness. The immune system requires specific nutrients for its optimal function. When I think of immune support, I think Echinacea, Zinc, Vitamin C, Vitamin A and Probiotics. This herb and nutrient combo are for me, the five simple immune essentials.
Native to North America, Echinacea is part of the daisy family.
Well researched and extensively used, Echinacea strengthens the body’s resistance to illness through its action on the immune system. Part of the charm of quality Echinacea is the tingling effect it leaves in the mouth. My favourite Echinacea product is Kiwiherb’s Children’s Echinature, in a convenient and great tasting liquid form that is free from all synthetic ingredients and possible allergens such as dairy, gluten, sugar and yeast.
An important antioxidant, works directly on the cells of the immune system. It also plays a really important role in recovery from infection. Vitamin C is found in oranges, strawberries, kiwifruit, papaya, capsicums, broccoli, brussels sprouts and cauliflower.
Being one of the most widely used minerals in the body is essential to stimulate immune function and fight infection. A zinc deficiency is often what results in colds and flus. Zinc is found in red meats, legumes, chicken, fish, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds and quinoa.
Immune cells need Vitamin A
… but it is also required to create healthy mucous membranes that line the digestive tract. A healthy digestive tract is our first line of immune defense as it stops bugs entering the body in the first place. Vitamin A can be found in dairy products, egg yolks and fish liver oils (we like a good quality Cod Liver Oil). Provitamin A carotenoids (things the body can naturally turn into Vitamin A) are found in dark green leafy vegetables, yellow vegetables and in yellow and orange non-citrus fruits.
Superstars in immune health and overall health in general. Probiotics provide beneficial bacteria that can help restore the balance of good and bad bacteria within your children’s digestive tract. In doing this it not only aids immunity but it also helps your children’s digestion. This means they will be absorbing the nutrients from their diet that are so essential for their wellness. Probiotics are naturally found in natural and organic yoghurt, sauerkraut, tempeh, miso, kefir and kombucha.
In addition to supplementation, diet and lifestyle play a key role in support for our little ones. Other than the foods already mentioned, a few simple tips include:
– Increasing overall fresh fruit and vegetable intake.
– Use high quality proteins from organics meats, eggs, fish, grains, legumes, nuts and seeds.
– Use foods high in essential fatty acids such as oily fish, coconut oil, flax seed oils, nuts and seeds.
– Avoid processed, refined foods loaded with colours and preservatives.
– Avoiding sugar is essential. Refined sugars found in chocolates, cakes, sweets and processed foods directly affects the ability of the immune system. Opt for fresh and stewed fruits (stewed apple is great), dried fruits (organic when possible), stevia and active manuka honey.
– Introduce lots of hearty and nutrient dense homemade soups and bone broths. Bone broths are incredibly nutritive for the immune system and high in minerals.
– Aim for your kids to have 8 – 10 hours of sleep every night and think green and less screen. Playtime outside, away from the television promotes overall wellness for children and also exposes them to immune essential Vitamin D from the sun.
If you want some advice on what supplements to choose, come and visit the shop and we can give you some over the counter help on choosing the right products for your children.