Power to Immunity!

Power to immunity The Food Teacher

Power to Immunity!

February 24, 2015
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As the weather changes it’s that time of year when people are suffering from sniffles and sore throats and top tips for supporting immunity have become hot topic. Children’s immune systems are challenged every day so supporting their immunity is fundamental for optimum health.

Research suggests up to 80% of our body’s immune system is found in and around our intestines, which indicates that poor digestive health is likely to impact on immune system function. By focusing on digestive health the impact on the body’s optimal functioning can be huge and not just for fighting infections.

Probiotics are the bacteria that help support the natural balance of organisms (microflora) most notably in the intestines. These bacteria provide a magnitude of benefits many of which are still being researched. Most well-known benefits focus on digestion, immunity and metabolism.

Immunity research in particular suggests probiotics/live bacteria can help prevent and alleviate ailments such as food poisoning and eczema, breakdown bacterial toxic substances, and control infections. Additionally probiotics also produce antibiotic and antifungal substances that can help with complications from antibiotics, which kill off both the “good” and “bad” bacteria.

2014 research also suggests that a daily probiotic supplement can reduce the frequency and duration of coughs and colds, antibiotic use and visits to the GP. They also found that when taken daily during term time school absenteeism was reduced by 30%.

Dietary and lifestyle factors can affect probiotic balance. These include high sugar diets, low dietary fibre, stress and ageing. To maintain balance pro and prebiotic foods and supplementation should be considered.

Probiotic Foods
Most foods that have been cultured or fermented contain probiotics/live bacteria and many additional beneficial nutrients such as vitamin’s A and K.

Some recommended foods include:
Cottage Cheese
Kefir – cultured milk (Try Bio-tiful Dairy)
Olives
Sauerkraut
Traditional sourdough bread
Yoghurt

Prebiotic Foods
Prebiotics help to nourish and stimulate the growth of bacteria. They also work with probiotics to supporting balance.

Some recommended foods include:
Asparagus
Bananas
Chicory
Cottage Cheese
Garlic
Green Tea
Honey
Jerusalem Artichokes
Kefir
Leeks
Legumes
Onions
Peas
Yoghurt

Supplements
Many supplement companies have now developed high strain probiotics for babies and children. Most come in the form of powders, which can be added to cold foods or drinks or flavoured chewable tablets.

Some recommended brands that have researched their products include:
Optibac
Proven Probiotics
Biokult

To keep your families immunity in good strength this winter consider the importance of digestive health by including some pre and probiotic foods in your diets and look to supplement with the advice of a healthcare practitioner such as a nutritional therapist.

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