No one likes to be sick in the winter and the constant nagging of a cold or the flu can really set back kids and adults alike. Although definitely needed and appropriate at times, medicine doesn’t have to be our first defense for winter illnesses. Foods and supplements can also boost the immune system.
1. Bone broth: my “go to” recipe can be found here. Channel your inner great-grandma and make some REAL chicken soup! Here is a helpful article by Dr. Axe explaining the details of why bone broth is SO beneficial. I couldn’t have said it better myself!
2. Vitamin D: In the winter everyone will get less sunlight so even if you are able to maintain your vitamin D levels without supplementation in Spring and Summer, some extra support in the winter can be helpful. I prefer a liquid Vitamin D3 because a few drops is easy to take and cost effective. Here’s what I like from Pure Encapsulation. An appropriate does is 2000-4000 IU daily for adults and 400-2,000 IU daily for children 3-12.
When you’re actually sick, these doses can be increased. I recommend everyone have their Vitamin D checked yearly. I recommend aiming for a level that falls within the middle to upper range of normal Vitamin D levels. In my opinion, the low end of normal is too low.
3. Greens Powder: This is ideal to add to smoothies and gives extra chlorophyll, which aids in digestion and immunity. Overall, most of us could benefit from more greens, so powders of dehydrated greens like kale, spinach, chard, bok choy, etc can really be helpful. There are many quality greens powders out there. I am most familiar with Paleo Greens and Amazing Grass. (Wheat grass is gluten-free despite the title). The Paleo Greens or ½ scoops of the Amazing Grass can be given to children.
Using fresh greens is fabulous too. I often add spinach or bok choy to any type of soup recipe. The flavor is minimal, it wilts quickly in a hot soup, and adds tons of extra nutrition without any fuss.
4. Multivitamins: There are SO many multivitamins out there it makes even my head spin! Some would even say that multivitamins are not needed, but I think they have their place in our stressed and toxic world. For children, I recommend Pure Pals by Pure Encapsulation and Vitaspectrum by Klaire Labs*. For adults, I recommend the Nutrient 950 by Pure Encapsulation. These products can be ordered through Marian Hope Center when a nutrition consult is completed (includes a 20% discount!). These products can also be found at www.pureformulas.com.
5. Probiotics: Over 70-80% of our GI tract is made up of bacteria. There are both good and bad bacteria and a big part of our immunity is determined by who is winning… the good guys or bad guys. When there is more good bacteria winning than bad bacteria, then we get sick less often and inflammation is decreased. Probiotics both from foods and from supplements help to increase the good bacteria in our gastrointestinal tract. As a result, we can fight off illness more effectively. Stress, sugar, and processed foods are the biggest culprits that feed the bad bacteria. For more information on getting probiotics from foods, check out these resources:
Here’s to a happy and healthy winter season!
Blakely Page RD,LD
Registered Dietitian, Marian Hope Center
For information regarding individual consults contact Sue at firstname.lastname@example.org
*Supplement recommendations often need to be customized specific to issues with which a person is dealing. These recommendations are general and not intended to serve as medical nutrition therapy.