Family health

How to boost your family's immunity — naturally!

Sweet potato says: Last year, Laura Keogh's daughter was constantly sick. This year, with the help of superfoods and some exercise, she's not going down without a fight

By Ceri Marsh and Laura Keogh
How to boost your family's immunity — naturally!

Last winter, it felt like I ran an infirmary rather than a home. My daughter had the flu (twice), chicken pox, strep throat and all the usual, random fevers, colds, aches and pains a four-year-old experiences. Everyone told me she was building her immunity and I knew it was true, but when your best friend is a bottle of kiddie pain reliever, you have to wonder what you can do to ward off illness.

As any parent, I can lay the guilt on thick: Did I not wash her hands enough? Why did I have to take her to that cesspool of a bowling alley? But the bottom line is kids get sick and, this year, I’m not going down without a fight. I’ll be feeding my family’s immunity so that everybody is in the best possible position to tackle whatever germ the bowling alley can dish out.

Foods rich in carotenoids, omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins C and E all rev up the body’s immune system. In addition, exercise increases immune function. But if my daughter still insists on putting her fingers in her mouth as a way to wash them (Scarlett, if you can read this, stop doing that, please!), then I’ll be waiting with the craft glue and pompoms. And the pain reliever too. ~Laura

Power up with superfoods!

Eat your way to a strong immune system by incorporating these nutrients into your family’s daily diet:

Carotenoids: Carrots, tomatoes, kale and sweet potato

Omega-3s: Salmon, tuna, mackerel, and flaxseed oil

Vitamin C: Citrus fruits, sweet red pepper, strawberries and broccoli


Vitamin E: Sunflower seeds, Swiss chard, papaya, spinach and almonds

Recommended recipe

Boost your family's immunity in one bowl with this Kale, Carrot and Feta Super Toss!

This article was originally published on Jan 26, 2012

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