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Support Your Children's Immune System

Dear Dr.Kim,

Can you give me some suggestions for help support my children’s immune system this fall and winter?

G.T. Victoria

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Dear G.T.

Great question. As a mother of 3, I have a toolkit of natural goodies that I like to keep on hand to support good immunity. However, as a base it is important to consider nutrition first.

Adequate protein supports the immune system and sugar depresses it. It is important to make sure that you minimize the amount of sugar your children consume and support them enjoying pulses of protein-balanced snacks and meals throughout the day. While it can be easy to limit adding sugar to food, it is essential to read food labels and be on the look out for hidden sugar. When you begin reading food labels, it can be surprising to see that sugar is can be added to ketchup and peanut butter. Moreover, when you look at the grams of sugar in packaged food (and especially those catering to children), you can find 13g of sugar in a 93ml yogurt drink and 29g of sugar in fruit leather. When you consider that a tablespoon of sugar is about 12g then you can see that these small servings are very high in sugar and not very well balanced. When children consume this sugar throughout the day, immune function can be compromised.

For good health, when possible, avoid packaged processed food and pair protein with carbohydrate. Some good snack choices include peas with hummus, plain yogurt with added fruit, apple with sunflower seed butter and homemade granola bars.

In terms of developing your own ‘toolkit’ for additional immune support consider the following:

  • tablet–for times when you are looking for an added boost
  • – for an added immune boost. Strawberries, citrus, and sweet peppers are some rich food sources. If you decide to supplement then you can use a chewable or powder, and be careful to have them brush their teeth after to remove the acidity of ascorbic acid.
  • – especially through the fall and winter, when traveling and around antibiotic use
  • – can be found in a glycerin-base for easy dosing to children –use when you are looking for additional support.

I use these choices at times of transition such as when school starts or Christmas break. I also deploy them when, heaven forbid, someone in the house becomes sick or if I am noticing a bout of cold or flu in the community.

I hope these suggestions help you keep your family’s immune system mobilized.

“Health from the inside out.”

Dr. Kimberly McQueen BSc, ND is a Naturopathic Physician in Victoria, BC. In addition to her clinic work she has been a consultant to the Pacific Institute for Sport Excellence, Camosun College, and Rugby Canada. Kim currently works with Rowing Canada, providing Sport Performance Nutrition support. P:778.433.4935 and Kim McQueen is one of the Co-founders of the nourishing Supershake, Rumble.