22 May Immune Boosting for Little Ones: From the Outside In
When it comes to fighting off an infection or boosting my daughter’s immune system, I like to take a 360 degree approach. That is, what goes on her body is as beneficial as what goes in it. As I write in the “Don’t Just Eat Food” chapter of ‘Mila’s Meals’…
“Your skin is the largest organ of your body and since it is porous, it absorbs what you put on it. If the products you use (both on your skin or around your house) contain harmful ingredients such as harsh, toxic chemicals, colours, and fragrances, those ingredients make their way into your body, your blood and lymphatic system. Essentially, if they are on your skin, you are eating them – which is how and why things like hormone patches and topical pain relievers work! To avoid this unnecessary toxic burden on your little one’s tiny body (and yours), choose certified organic and natural skin care and household cleaning products.” And… “Use the fact that skin is so absorbent to your advantage. The healing benefits of many foods can be gained by simply applying it to the skin!”
1) SUNSHINE FOR VITAMIN D
Vitamin D regulates the innate and adaptive immune responses and various studies show that a vitamin D deficiency is associated with increased autoimmunity as well as an increased susceptibility to infection. *
Sunshine is such a vital ingredient in you and your little one’s daily nourishment that I even included it in the ingredient glossary of my book J Here is a snippet:
“Vitamin D is an essential nutrient – it builds bones and muscles, ensures proper hormone development, reduces inflammation, boosts the immune system and protects against cancer (including skin cancer). It is almost impossible to get your vitamin D needs met by food alone. Like all living things, we need sunshine, and it feels good for a reason. Much as plants harness the sun’s rays through photosynthesis, our bodies use sunlight to help the skin produce vitamin D. The best way to optimise vitamin D levels is through safe, sunscreen-free exposure to the sun. Requirements for vitamin D are different according to age, body weight, skin colouration etc. But generally, we all need 15 – 30 minutes of unprotected sun exposure two to four times a week – exposing as much of the skin as possible. It is best to be out in the sun (unprotected) before 10 am and after 3pm when the sun’s rays are less harsh.”
In South Africa, we are blessed with plenty sunshine – even in winter. So be sure to head outside on those sunshiny winter days to soak up some immune boosting Vitamin D!
Did you know that soil‐based organisms (SBOs) support gut health, regulate the immune system, and naturally reduce inflammation in the gut and throughout the entire body?
According to Dr. Axe “SBOs nourish cells in the colon and liver and actually create new compounds, such as B vitamins, vitamin K2, antioxidants and enzymes. SBOs can destroy or crowd out harmful pathogens, such as candida, fungi and parasites. They also kill off bad bacteria that can bind to or puncture the gut wall. They’ve been shown to bind to toxins and extract them from the body. SBOs also help regulate the immune system and naturally reduce inflammation in the gut and throughout the entire body.” (1) There are probiotic supplements which include SBOs, but then again, if you spend some time gardening with your little ones you’ll get your Vitamin D at the same time– a double shot of immune boosters! And yes – Soil is included in the Ingredient Glossary of ‘Mila’s Meals’
3) NOURISHING BATH BALLS
Since the skin is the body’s largest elimination organ and porous, it is a bi-directional “sponge” that can be used expel toxins (detox) as well as absorb nutrients (nourish) – yes, every pore of your body cab be taking in medicine when you’re sitting in the bath!
These are some of my favourite nourishing bath ingredients:
- Apple Cider Vinegar – Has anti-inflammatory properties and balances pH levels. Organic Apple Cider Vinegar is high in vitamins and minerals which are absorbed through the skin while bathing.
- Bicarbonate of Soda – Cleansing, regulates pH (alkalinizing) and has anti-fungal properties.
- Epsom Salt – Cleansing, eases muscle/joint aches, improves circulation and allows minerals to absorb through the skin.
- Himalayan Salt – Cleansing, releases heavy metals, mineralizing.
- Hydrogen Peroxide (35% food grade) – Oxygenates the blood and helps rid the body of disease.
- French Green Clay – Balances pH, pulls out toxins and re-mineralizes the skin.
- Bentonite Clay – Detoxifies heavy metals.
- Essential Oils – check to see which ones are suitable for children and in pregnancy. Each one has its own unique benefits.
- Rooibos Tea – full of antioxidants, great for itchy skin, sunburn, or any allergic skin condition.
- Hibiscus Tea – a Vitamin C boost – great for the skin and immune system.
- Honey (use organic, local honey) – Boosts immune system and replenishes the skin.
- Ginger (fresh, powder or essential oil) – Opens the pores and acts as an anti-inflammatory.
- Seaweed (e.g. kelp) – balancing, nourishing, purifying. Detoxifies and replenishes essential revitalizing natural elements and mineral salts.
- Olive Oil – strengthens immune system, maintains collagen in the skin.
PS – all these bath ingredients are beneficial for the treatment of eczema and psoriasis, as well as boosting the immune system.