How to keep the lurgies at bay this school year.

How to boost your family’s immune system

Sick of getting sick? As kids begin child care and school for the year, the lurgy merry-go-round begins for the whole family.

According to the Australian Department of Health, kids get between five and 10 colds a year, with adults catching two to four of them. So to help you and your family avoid getting sick this year, we spoke to naturopath Emma Sutherland for her tips. Here’s what she had to say.

Listen to the full interview here:

A healthy diet is important

Take care of your family by making dishes with lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, and lean meat or fish.

Cold-busting foods

In many cultures around the world, chicken soup is a traditional treatment for symptoms of the common cold. Get a chicken and boil it up with some vegetables and whatever combination of herbs and spices you like -- for example, garlic, ginger, chilli, turmeric, sage, thyme and a squeeze of lemon. If you cook up a big batch, you can freeze portions for later.

Foods to avoid when you’re sick

If you’re feeling sick, avoid reaching for chocolate and sugary treats such as soft drinks, processed foods and alcohol. The Australian National Health and Medical Research Council recommends good nutrition and a balanced diet to maintain healthy weight, quality of life, resistance to infection, and to protect against chronic disease in later life.

Make a strategy for sleep

If you’re looking after young ones, where possible, allow one parent or carer to have a good night’s rest, then alternate to ensure you’re both getting a full night’s sleep at least every second night. A six hour block of good quality sleep can make a world of difference.

Keep an eye on your stress levels

High cortisol levels can suppress immune function, which means the more stressed you are, the more rundown you’ll become. Make sure you take time out for yourself -- this could be reading a book before bed, or even a two minute guided meditation before you go to sleep at night.