How to boost your family’s immunity

Now is the ideal time to start boosting your child’s immune system before the flu season begins. There are several things that you can do to improve your child’s immunity against colds and flus this winter.

Nutrient dense foods

There are several vitamins and minerals that help build and support our immune systems.

Vitamin A and zinc- important for immune function and cellular processes. Provide your child with a range of fruits (particularly berries) and green leafy veggies.

Vitamin D- Vitamin d facilitates normal immune function, so it is vital when boosting your immune system. Allowing your child to play in the early morning and late afternoon sunshine will help boost their immunity.

Vitamin C- An important antioxidant that supports immune health. Children with allergies, asthma or diabetes will benefit from added vitamin c in their diets. Serve your children plenty of citrus fruits and berries for a vitamin C boost.

Vitamin E and Manganese- These work together to boost your immune system. Get this duo from almonds and other nuts and seeds.

Probiotics and prebiotics- These help build up the good bacteria in your gut for a better balance of bacteria. Fermented foods such as yogurt, sauerkraut and pickles contain probiotics and bananas, and asparagus contain prebiotics.

Omega-3, potassium, and good fats- These three things help to fight illnesses so include a range of nuts and seeds into your child’s diet.

Sleep and rest

Children need to get the sleep and rest they need in order to reach optimum health. If they do not receive the sleep they need by having late nights or broken sleep, their bodies are less able to fight off colds and less able to cope when are they unwell. The amount of sleep that a child need varies for each individual, however, here is a rough guide based on age.

0-6 month old’s need 14-17 hours throughout the day and night

6-12 month old’s need 12-16 hours throughout the day and night

1-2 year old’s need 11-14 hours through the night with 1-2 day naps

3-5 year old’s need 10-13 hours through the night with 1 day nap or rest

5-9 year old’s need 9-12 hours through the night

9-12 year old’s need 9-11 hours through the night


Exercise is helpful for your immune system for a variety of reasons. Firstly, it helps flush the bacteria from your lungs and airways. Beathing heavily during exercise has ben shown to reduce the amount of bacteria found in your airways. Secondly, moderate exercise causes changes in your antibodies and white blood cells. White blood cells are your body’s defense against colds and flus. Thirdly, the rise of your body temperature during and after exercise can help fight off bacteria in your body (similar to your body’s natural response during a fever). Lastly, exercise slows down the release of stress hormone, and stress has been found to impact on your chance of illness.

The amount of exercise recommended for children is at least one hour per day of moderate to vigorous exercise. Moderate to vigorous means that your child should be puffed out and sweating.

Hand washing

With the current situation and what is happening globally at the moment, I feel like this one is probably obvious. But, I’ll mention it anyway as it is easy to forget to do! Children should have their hands washed by an adult until they are fully able to do it themselves, much like toothbrushing. Hands should be wet before applying soap, soap needs to be rubbed in for 30 seconds (I use to sing a little song with my children!) then washed off with running water. Hand sanitizer is ok when unable to access running water, but soap and water is the preferred method.

Essential oils

There a few essentials oils that help to build your immunity and fight infection. My family personally uses DoTerra oils however there is a range of good quality oils on the market. Oils that are good for your immune system include oregano, eucalyptus, lemon, tee tree and frankincense. These can be blended or used individually by diluting them in a carrier oil (we use coconut oil) and applying to the back of the neck, feet and chest. It is also useful to use a humidifier with a few drops of eucalyptus oil to clear the sinuses and chest.

I hope these tips help to keep you and your family healthy over this cold and flu season. If you have questions, please leave a comment.