Nutrition Wellness 

Ask The Nutritionist...

Published Oct 7, 2016  in The Mission Record.

Q: My kids all come down with colds in the winter months. Is there a natural way to help their immune systems?

A: There are several ways to improve your immunity using diet and herbal supplements. Winter months can increase the incidence of colds and flu because traditionally people spend more time indoors where air is re-circulated and eat less fruits and vegetables that are high in vitamin C. While fresh produce was once available more seasonally, we now have access to it year around, so make sure your children get enough during the cold season. It is true that people are more likely to eat raw foods such as salads and fresh fruit in the summer, because they have a cooling effect on the body. Cooked foods have a warming effect. Although the colder months make people more likely to eat hearty, cooked foods, you can steam or sauté your vegetables and cook fruits to get your nutrients. You can also supplement your vitamin C intake in the winter with Emergen-C, an effervescent vitamin C packet that is easily added to water to form vitamin and mineral complexes that are active in the human body. Give one to each family member each day.

Avoiding allergens in foods helps reduce the load on the immune system, so watch out for your child’s food sensitivities, and even have them tested by a naturopath. Keeping the house clean reduces the exposure to dust and other environmental allergens, but consider using chemical-free cleaning products. All these consumed or inhaled toxins together can make you more likely to catch the next bug.

Herbs that help super-charge immunity include licorice root, which can be consumed as a tea. Simply boil the root for ten minutes or buy as tea bags. Golden seal is a traditional native herb that helps protect against colds and flu, and can be bought in health food stores as a tincture or bulk herb. Astragalus boosts the immune system and can be consumed as tea. Echinacea tinctures work well at the onset of a cold, and should be continued for short durations of perhaps two weeks at a time.

My favorite way to get rid of a cold right when it occurs is to make this potent tea. It has a strong taste, but will often get rid of a cold within 24 hrs. Simply cut fresh slices of ginger root, and boil them in 2 cups of purified water for ten minutes. Then add 2-3 cloves diced fresh garlic. Let the tea sit and infuse the fresh garlic. Drink 1-2 cups of this cold-busting tea hot.

Ask the nutritionist by sending your questions
to  through the end of the month. Emily is the nutritionist at the P U L S E Nutrition Clinic in Mission, B.C.

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