With kids getting ready to go back to school and the fall flu season around the corner, here are some simple ways to start boosting your family’s immune system throughout the day.
Adding a healthy source of probiotic to breakfast is a great way to boost your family’s immune system. One specific strain within yogurt, Lactobacillus reuteri, improves immune function, can eradicate the bacteria that causes stomach ulcers, helps fight gingivitis and other oral bacteria, can help heal food allergies in those able to consume dairy, and improves other digestive issues. This specific strain of probiotics is abundantly found in Stonyfield Farms Organic Yogurt. Kefir is another high powered source of probiotics that can actually help heal your gut along with boosting your immune system. Pair them with high Vitamin C fruits like mangos, kiwi, or oranges for even more immune boosting power.
* For those with a dairy sensitivity, coconut kefir is a refreshing beverage that contains all the beneficial kefir strains without the dairy base. It can make a great morning beverage with some fresh fruit added for flavor.
Make a super powered lunch by adding in foods rich in beta-glucan such as oats and barley. Barley can be added to soups and stews, used as a replacement for rice, or be paired with lean proteins like salmon or tuna. Toasted oats can be added as a topping on salads or in yogurt. Beta-glucan improves immune function and helps feed probiotics in the gut. In animal studies, beta-glucan boosts immune function and speeds wound healing.
* For those with a gluten sensitivity, try amaranth instead. Add an amaranth cereal or bread, cook it up like oats, or even pop it like popcorn.
Selenium is a nutrient that is essential to immune function and can be found in tuna, salmon, sunflower seeds, and Brazil nuts. Try adding a handful of nuts or a healthy organic trail mix to your diet as a mid-day snack.
A Norwegian study showed that canned pre-made chicken soups can help boost the immune system. For your family, skip the cans and make your own immune-boosting soup with fresh, seasonal and organic ingredients. Celery, carrots and onions are rich in immune boosting Vitamin C. Garlic is rich in allicin, an immune boosting compound that is also antiviral and antimicrobial. Chicken is a wonderful source of lean protein and selenium, both of which support the immune system. Throw in some barley and you will be well on your way to heading off the fall flu season.