The connection between children’s immunity and their digestion.
Did you know that our digestive tract holds up to 80% of our immune system? I'm sure you've seen the little blue probiotics who have been on screen making an appearance when it comes to good bacteria - thanks to marketing we are all very aware how beneficial and important gut health actually is for our immunity.
A major role of our digestive system is the digestion and absorption of our food and its nutrients. We use bacteria for these important functions and this is why we need a balance of ‘good’ to ‘bad’ bacteria, 75% of the good bacteria and 25% of the bad bacteria.
This balance is crucial for the immune system to respond appropriately as the bacteria help the immune system react appropriately to foreign invaders. A healthy balance of bacteria is essential for a healthy immune system and the prevention of allergies later in life.
What should we avoid to support immunity?
Sugar - 100 Grams of sugar disrupts the immune system for up to 5 hours. Avoid sugary foods and drinks: sugar depresses the immune system and feeds the ‘bad’ bacteria.
Dairy - Dairy is a mucous forming food, so best to steer clear of all dairy when your child is ill.
Antibiotics - Majority of childhood illness are caused by viruses which can be supported by a more natural approach. Remember Antibiotics are used in cases of bacterial infections only. Avoid antibiotics wher possible.
Essential Nutrients to include for a healthy immune system
Vitamin C – The best immune booster for many reasons! Found naturally in many fruits and vegetables such as oranges, berries, cabbage, broccoli and kiwi fruits. High Dose Vitamin C powder is a great option to add in when sick, as it can reduce the severity and longevity of a cold/flu. Depending on the weight of the person we can dose up to 5000 mg daily depending on their bowel tolerance.
Zinc – Is used in over 300 pathways in the body including functions in the immune system. Zinc is found in animal products, oysters, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, dark chocolate and can often be found in a good Vitamin C powder.
Carotenoids – The body converts beta carotene to vitamin A, which itself has immune-boosting functions. Sources include green and yellow veggies, fruits, carrots and eggs. Beta Carotene in combination with Vitamin D is also known as a great supplement for recurrent ear infections such as Glue Ear.
Probiotics- as mentioned earlier, good bacteria and a healthy gut environment is crucial for a healthy immune system, this includes prevention against allergies and recurrent infections. The best probiotics are generally a combination and one that requires refrigeration.
Once a gut environment is disrupted by infection, poor dietary choices, food intolerance's or exposure to excess antibiotics it may require extra nutritional support to recover and rebuild the structural integrity and rebuild the immune system again. Speak with a Functional practitioner such as a Naturopath to assist with this.
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