5 ways to boost immunity, by a pediatric nutritionist

With winter here and the threat of COVID-19 still present, we are all looking for ways to stay healthy and we wanted to share Mandy’s tips for boosting immunity for the whole family.

Wholesome Child was founded by Paediatric Nutritionist and mum of two, Mandy Sacher, to provide informative and creative advice and support to inspire parents to make healthier food choices for their families.

With winter here and the threat of COVID-19 still present, we are all looking for ways to stay healthy and we wanted to share Mandy’s tips for boosting immunity for the whole family.

5 Ways to Boost Immunity

If boosting your family’s immunity is at the forefront of your mind right now, you're not the only one! Now, more than ever, the power of a healthy, nutrient-dense diet has never been more important. At Wholesome Child we give you and your family the tools needed to keep you healthy, strong and vibrant through the winter months and general flu season.

Here are my top 5 immunity boosting tips to help protect your family’s health today:

Tip 1: Eat the Rainbow

Kids love colour, and so do our immune systems! The more variety of colour in our diet (the natural kind!) the larger the range of essential vitamins and minerals we’re getting into our systems to help fight off unwanted illnesses.

  • Think strawberries, oranges and capsicums for Vitamin C to help strengthen resistance to infection. Try my Strawberry Beetroot Smoothie for a pop of colour in your day!
  • Green vegetables like broccoli, brussels sprouts and spinach contain essential micronutrients like Vitamin A, Vitamin C, fibre and calcium to help boost immunity.
  • Blueberries make an excellent addition to the diet as they’re rich in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and amino acids, thereby helping to promote a healthy immune system.

Tip 2: Love Your Guts

‘Gut health’ has become a buzzword in the health industry over the last few years, and for good reason. A healthy gut microbiome is essential not only for maintaining a healthy digestive system but also for keeping the immune system strong.

  • Bone broth is the perfect addition to your family’s diet as it contains calcium, magnesium and phosphorus making it nature’s multivitamin! Try adding bone both to soups and casseroles or even adding to a family favourite like Spaghetti Bolognaise (in place of stock) to pump in some extra nutrients without anyone being none the wiser.
  • Focus on prebiotic rich food, which promotes the reproduction of healthy bacteria in the digestive tract. Good sources of prebiotics are found in vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds and legumes.

Tip 3: Vitamin and Mineral Support

You may have reached for Vitamin C in the past to help shorten the duration of a cold or flu… and it’s that time again! Studies have shown that Vitamin C, Vitamin D and Zinc all actively strengthen immunity and natural defences against flu viruses, and now there are new studies investigating their potential to fight Covid19.

  • Vitamin C can be found in many food sources including citrus fruits (oranges, lemons, limes), kiwi fruit, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, dark green vegetables and tomatoes. Try our Veggie Pasta Sauce
  • Zinc is a trace mineral that also plays a role in immunity and can be found in protein-containing foods like red meat, shellfish and wholegrains like quinoa.
  • Vitamin D is best acquired from a daily dose of sunshine. It’s also found in oily fish, cod liver oil and egg yolk.

Tip 4: Be a Superfood Superhero

What better way to boost your family’s health than by filling their diet with nature’s superfoods?

  • Shiitake mushrooms are a great place to start. They contain all 8 essential amino-acids, are packed with B vitamins and have the ability to boost the immune system. A 2015 study found that consuming mushrooms improved cell effector function, improved gut immunity and reduced inflammation.
  • Include chia seeds for more antioxidants than blueberries
  • Salmon for omega-3s to help reduce the occurrence of infections. Try my Salmon San Choy Bow for a dinner the whole family will enjoy.
  • Broccoli for an abundant supply of antioxidants, Vitamin C, calcium, iron, beta-carotene and folate.
  • Grass-fed beef or lamb are also excellent sources of iron and immune-boosting zinc.

Tip 5: Keep Up the Fluids

While washing our hands frequently is super important right now, so is keeping ourselves hydrated! As we head into the cooler months it’s common to not reach for our water bottles as much as we should.

  • Try to avoid high-sugar soft drinks and fruit juices, and instead encourage children to sip on water throughout the day.
  • Keep things interesting and sneak in some extra nutrients by offering healthy smoothies and cold-pressed vegetable juices.
  • And don’t forget the many benefits of herbal teas for the adults: some of my favourites include Lemon & Ginger, Chamomile and Rooibos.

As a bonus, I’ve created this Immunity-Boosting Cheat sheet below just for you so that you can refer to it easily before getting stuck into your next shopping list! For more info on boosting your families immunity and delicious immune boosting recipes, you can check out my Immune Boosting course.

Vitamin C
Best sources:

  • Citrus fruits (oranges, lemons, limes)
  • Cabbage
  • Capsicum
  • Broccoli
  • Melon
  • Strawberries
  • Tomatoes
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Papayas
  • Mangoes
  • Leafy greens
  • Kiwi fruit
  • Lychees
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cauliflower
  • Parsley
  • Thyme

Best sources:

  • Grass-fed beef and lamb
  • Kidney beans
  • Liver
  • Salmon
  • Tuna
  • Pork
  • Poultry
  • Egg yolk
  • Peanut butter
  • Pinto beans
  • Pumpkin
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Sesame seeds
  • Potato

Vitamin D
Best Sources:

  • Sunshine – it’s free! Get outside and get some sun on your skin every day.
  • Sardines
  • Egg yolk

Best Sources:

  • Live cultured yogurt (organic and/or grassfed are best)
  • Kefir
  • Fermented vegetables (kimchi, sauerkraut)
  • Natto (fermented soy beans)
  • Kombucha

Feeding our families as best we can is one (very important!) way to take action and protect our loved ones against colds and viruses. Stay well and don’t forget to look after yourself as well!

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All information provided in the magazine is sourced from independent writers & may contain general advice that is not endorsed by the FairVine Super Plan.