Both Georgie and I believe wholly in the art of using food to nourish the body wherever possible. Whole foods, including herbs and spices, offer us a wealth of nutrients to support the body and keep us in good health. Our Supercharged recipe selection focuses on using key nutrients to target specific health conditions, celebrating the potential benefits of a number of foods and their ability to heal where required.
We do however recognise that at certain times of the year, or during periods of increased pressure, our bodies may benefit from a boost using some of the high quality supplements available to us. Therefore, to accompany and complement our Supercharged recipes, we will be posting a series of blog posts in the coming weeks with a focus on our Supercharged categories: Immune Boosting, Brain Boosting, Energy Boosting and Skin Nourishing.
The choice of products on the market can be overwhelming so in this series of blog posts Cooking them Healthy’s Nutritional Therapist Jo provides her top picks of supplements for the family that really pack a nutritional punch.
We launch our Guide to Supplements series this week focusing on immune health. October is upon us and as the nights draw in, temperatures drop and we head into the colder months, we provide you with our top immune supplements to help keep you all fighting fit.
An estimated 80% of our immune system is based in our gut, therefore ensuring a healthy tummy is essential to support a strong immune system. Our balance of gut bacteria is affected by many factors, such as antibiotics, stress, medication, excessive modern hygiene and of course the food we eat.
You may be familiar with good bacteria available in small yogurt drinks, and of course in live natural yogurt itself. In order to really give the immune system a boost we would definitely recommend taking a course of probiotics (beneficial bacteria), particularly over the winter months. We love OptiBac For babies and children, a combination of well researched pre and probiotics (prebiotics act as a food source for the friendly bacteria) which has been shown in trials to effectively reduce respiratory infections in children. You can read more about the suitability of probiotics for children here in OptiBac’s brilliant FAQ section. These clever probiotics don’t need to be kept in the fridge, and the sachets can easily be opened and stirred into cooled drinks, porridge, stewed/pureed fruit or yogurt, ideally with breakfast. Try to ensure the food isn’t too hot as that may affect the bacteria.
Vitamin D is required by the body to help absorb calcium and phosphate and is also key for immune health. It is made by our bodies from sunlight, which becomes more difficult over the winter months, and is relatively tricky to find from food. Some foods containing vitamin D include eggs, mushrooms and oily fish. Vitamin D deficiency is much more common than most people realise and is found in around 50% of adults. The UK Department of Heath states that all children up aged between 6 months and 5 years should be taking a daily vitamin D supplement, as well as pregnant & breastfeeding mothers to support their child’s health. We really like Better You DLux Infant Spray and find that children really enjoy the experience of popping a spray in their mouth! It is also available in a Junior version for those aged over 5, as well as an adult option.
Elderberries are a truly nutritious food, packed with vitamin C and antioxidants and offer potent immune support. There are still some elderberries to be found on the hedgerows if you fancy making your own – we recently posted our own Elderberry Syrup recipe. Otherwise we love Pukka Elderberry Syrup which combines some key herbs such as thyme & black pepper with manuka honey for a lovely supportive combination. It is great to take preventatively over the winter, and increase the dose if needed.
Children can, unfortunately, be notoriously picky eaters and studies indicate that many children do not receive adequate nutrients from their a diet. As an insurance policy for mothers that offers peace of mind, it can therefore be helpful to give them a to give children a high quality daily multivitamin. We love Wild Nutrition’s Food State Daily Multinutrient (Children’s) which provides all the nutrients they need in an easily digestible form. Two capsules a day are recommended for children aged between 3 and 12, and for younger children these can easily be opened and sprinkled over food such as porridge or yogurt.
We also rate My Baba’s Multivitamin and Multibiotic – a berry flavoured combination of vitamins, minerals and good bacteria specifically formulated for children aged 12 months to 4 years. The recommended dose is once a day, mixed with water, milk or juice or sprinkled onto yogurt or cereal.
In addition to these recommended supplements, you can find plenty of immune boosting recipes to nourish your family in our Supercharged section. Look out for the next post in our Guide to Supplements series #2, Brain health, coming soon.