With back to school in full force, our children are walking little germ sponges. They are being coughed and sneezed on, finding new treasures in the cave of boogers, running to the washrooms all while forgetting to wash their hands and after all that they stick those little hands straight in their mouths.
A question I often get on the playground is how do I keep my kids healthy. My answer is simple – prevention is key. They aren’t invincible, they do get sick, but recovery is pretty quick. There have been times when they’ve needed antibiotics but I ensure that while they are taking them, I am replenishing the gut flora and feeding them lots of gut nourishing foods and giving them lots and lots of rest.
Our intestines contain more immune cells then the entire rest of our body. How can we feed our tiny little microbes to our kids and ourselves, so that they are strong and able to ward off those pesky pathogens.
Prebiotics are a type of non-digestible fiber compound and work together with probiotics to allow specific changes to take place, both in the composition and activity of the gastrointestinal system. They play a fundamental role in preserving health by maintaining balance and diversity of intestinal bacteria, especially increasing the presence of “good bacteria” called lactobacilli and bifidobacteria.
- Raw Chicory Root
- Raw Garlic
- Raw Onions
- Raw Jerusalem Artichoke
- Raw Dandelion Greens
- Cooked Onions
- Raw Asparagus
- Raw Wheat Flour
- Raw Bran Flour
- Raw Bananas
In my cooking, I use a lot of garlic and onions and sometimes just grate a bit of garlic into a salad that has onions in it. I even will add garlic to my green juices. For the artichoke, I usually just add it right at the end of my cooking time. Bananas are a favourite at our house hold, I can barely keep them on our banana hook!
Probiotics are healthy or good bacteria that when eaten in right amount have health benefits. Once in the colon, the bacteria multiply and help to keep a balance between the good and bad bacteria that live there. Probiotics are added to certain foods.
- Homemade yogurt
- Miso soup
- Microaglae (spirulina, chorella, and blue-green algae)
- Non GMO Tempeh
- Bone broth
Making a habit to add a probiotic food source to your diet daily is a sure way to improve and promote a healthy gut. At home I love making Kombucha and it’s something my daughters often ask for on their own accord, so I always make sure I have some bottled up in the fridge (If I don’t, I will often get GTs Kombucha or Rise). Another staple we often eat at home is homemade almond or coconut yogurt – I found a really easy recipe online and it works great! I also add the microaglae to my drinks and this week I am going to try making some homemade fermented goodies like sauerkraut, pickled carrots and beets. Wish me luck!!
There are times when we are in need of an extra boost to get to help our bodies replenish the “good guys”, especially after using antibiotics (A type of antimicrobial drug used in the treatment and prevention of bacterial infections. They may either kill or inhibit the growth of bacteria). In this case, most naturopaths, holistic nutritionist and other natural health practitioners will recommend and encourage a supplement.
- Genuine Health Advanced Gut Health Probiotics
- Genestra Brand Fit For School
- Garden of Life Dr. Formulated Probiotic Mood+
- Genestra Brand HMF Intensive
I myself have used the Genuine Health, Garden of Life, and Genestra Brand HMF Intensive and have had great results. Right now, I am taking the Genuine Health Advanced. For my daughters, they have had amazing results with the Genestra Fit for School. Probiotics can get expensive, so I suggest to my clients to work with their budget and look for a multi strain formula with more than 25 billion (most really good ones are 50 billion) and add prebiotic and probiotic foods to support the supplement.
Herbal antibiotics, which have been used for thousands of years, are garnering attention for their strong antibacterial properties and fewer side effects.
- Pau D’arco
- Manuka Honey
- Oregon Grape
- Colloidal Silver
- Oil of Oregano
I suggest that you speak with a Naturopath prior to consuming the above, to ensure that you are not contradicting any health conditions or medications. If you’re looking for a naturopath who is compassionate, approachable, knowledgeable and has a great sense of humour, go to my affiliate page and check out Dr. Mary!
Getting sick is not fun, especially when our little ones are ill too. By adding some of the above sources daily into your diet along with adequate sleep, staying hydrated, and exercising you can strengthen your immune system and recover quicker from colds and flus. It’s never too late to work on rebuilding and replenishing your gut flora, so make today the day!
Sumbul Zafar, R.H.N.