All posts by Warren Krantz MD

Boosting the immune system to fight colds and illness.

How do we build up our children’s immune system during cold and flu season

       One of the most common questions I get each year particularly with young children entering school is “How do we keep my child from getting sick all the time and build up their immune system?”. Generally my answer is “every child gets sick almost constantly at a rate of about every other week when starting school” . You have to catch the germs in order to build up an immunity and be able to fight it next time. But it does not stop the parents frustration and their constant quest for that magic remedy to build up their immune system so they do not get sick or at least fight the viruses better. There is no shortage of supplement companies, snake oil salesman, and wannabe physicians promoting their short cut to immune stardom. Basically my advice is old fashioned grandma like advice which always included fresh air, go to the ocean ( living in South Florida is easy), exercise, eat your vegetables, chicken soup, don’t eat so much candy, and get plenty of sleep. Well, things have not changed that much with all our searches, supplements, and advances in medical science. I believe premier nutrition and healthy lifestyle is your best means to a good immune system and ability to stave off disease and fight the common childhood ailments. Junk foods, fried foods, processed sweets and snacks at the very least do not help your immune system and conservatively speaking cause more inflammation and irritation when you need to be fighting viruses. 

     Eating well is the cornerstone of good health and immunity. This is easier said than done for children. For those patients and families familiar with my feeding guidelines you have a head start. But eating well is none the less the best way to begin to build a strong immune system. Prevention starts with good food including – lots of greens , sweet potatoes,  fruits , apples with red skin, red onions, and purple and red fruits for example.  Lots of fiber.  Making sure your are hydrated with lots of water.

Organic food itself is the best way to get the vitamins and phytonutrients to boost immunity and keep it at peak in cold and flu season in order to be ready for the influx of germs.
    Dark fruits have the best and most bio-available vitamin c, and phytonutrients. ( vitamin        supplements do not)

Eat them– eating the fruits is the best source of these immune building nutrients –                    blueberries, pomegranate,  cherries, raspberries,  dark grapes, etc.

Juice them– dark juice as a second choice if they won’t eat the fruit. Blueberry juice , pomegranate , dark grape,  or tomato juice.

Blend them and hide them- Super power HealthfulMD immune smoothie – base of almond, hemp, or soy milk; walnuts, avocado , super greens ( if they don’t like green vegetables- you can buy in health food stores ), spinach hides the best, and also kale. Blueberries, strawberries , bananas, peach , pineapple, or cocoa powder for sweetener. Flax seeds  for fiber and  omega 3, mushroom, ginger , cinnamon help boost the immunity.

Super power soup before or during illness. Vegetable soup or chicken soup base : add mushrooms , garlic , turmeric as tolerated, oregano in good amount, greens if liked by child – kale,  spinach, broccoli,  broccoli sprouts, sweet potatoes,  spices as tolerated -chili peppers,  cumin, and ginger.

Probiotics may help. If you or your child is a healthy eater particularly vegetarian style or for a healthy vegan probiotics may not be necessary or beneficial . The type of probiotics depends on the system you want to enhance . Gastrointestinal symptoms would be one type  and  upper respiratory ( colds) would be another form to use . Types of probiotics include lactobacillus acidophillis, and bifid bacterium. Look for recommendations in future blog posts.  Ask your physician for safety of any supplement and probiotics and their recommendations.

Sleep is essential to maintaining health- children 8-9 hours  
Manage stress – lavender,  chamomile. Exercise, yoga, meditate.

Tea– as calming and immune boosting
    Hibiscus – mix with ginger.
    Other red rooibos teas are sweet and may be more palatable for children.
    Green tea – honey , lemon and add ginger and cinnamon
    Chamomile tea has both calming and immune enhancement
Nutritional yeast – tablespoon a day increase immunity

Supplements: not medically researched or approved but have anecdotal improvement in immunity.

Immunoberry supplement

Eldeberry. Astralagus, Grape seed extract,  Oil of oregano all are purported to have immune enhancing properties to fight and ward off colds. 

Collective Health

All health is collective.Every move you make, every food you eat, every substance you put on or in your body has a  collective effect on your health. It is never too early to start planning and implementing measures for good health and wellness. All food that has ever gone in your body has a positive or negative impact on your health. Heart disease starts early and the damage collects in the blood vessels throughout the rest of your body as well. As an example , look at all the recent evidence about concussions and head injuries . It is found to be from repeated injuries and sub clinical damage from youth sports on up, ( not just football) not only one massive concussion .  Our lifestyle affects our health in every way.  Radiation,  sun damage,  drugs, pesticides, bpas,most anything we do or put in our body has a collective effect. We are only recently understanding the cumulative effect of our diet and lifestyle from childhood all the way to adulthood.  Damage begins early in infancy. We used to think kids have time to enjoy their nutritional youth and not worry until middle age. Let teenagers be teenagers. Eat pizza , donuts, hot dogs. Enjoy the happy meal and happy times while we are young and naive, but we now know with certainty that what we eat starting in infancy collects in all of our organs and system impacting health at every stage of our youth, adulthood, and old age. Research has shown damage is done and visually documented by 1 year of age. Clogging of your child’s arteries throughout their body starts almost immediately. Yes you can improve this as they grow and make amends at any age, but nothing is completely repairable. Start early , be relentless, make health – from the get go a priority. Not just a food or exercise fad,  but honest to goodness nutritional and movement excellence for your child. They might not thank you ever, but it will make over 80 % of the diseases they will be facing a lot less likely and push some of the most common life altering diseases off until old age. If you want to contribute to the most important part of your child’s life, pay attention to their nutritional health. If you want them to be healthy, wealthy, and wise -encourage them to be fit, to exercise, to move , and find what moves them. Everything you put in their body leaves an imprint, leaves a trace, good or bad. Simple math , if it has negative nutritional content ,it will have a negative long lasting and collective impact on your body, your well being, and your health. Poor lifestyle will lead to early disease, and suffering. Is this the legacy you want to leave for your children? Your health and theirs, is at stake with these choices. This is where you make your stand, draw your line in the sand. This is the most important thing you can do for your children. If you leave them one thing, one legacy , leave then a healthy lifestyle.


Healthful MD is the art of practicing good health. Not just being healthy which is your status at any one moment, but how you live, how you breath, how your health affects everyone else, and how your health affects the world. Healthful is a verb – its the work of attaining health , the evolution , the struggle, the collective effect it has on your life, your children, and place to live in this world. Being healthful is being mindful of how your effort to practice good health starts with what’s on your fork but has an influence well beyond …
Our health and our world health is generally decided by others : by major corporations, by the developer where we purchased our house, the school where we send our children, the church we attend, the gas we purchase, and the food we buy at the supermarket. Most of our selections have been prepackaged for us. We have been gambling with our health by automatically choosing our lot in life based on pre assembled choices without attention to the details of environment or health. Only after we become ill or we see some expose on the news about toxins in the water or poison on the playground do we wake up momentarily and consider a change but end up more likely with merely an observation. It is much easier to be blissfully ignorant to go back to automatic and assume the developer or corporation providing for convenience and better cost containment for our lives have done their due diligence. Not placed our house on a toxic dump, or used harmful chemicals to process our food. But we all are forced to learn the hard way through bad neighbors, poor gas mileage, and recalls on food. In this evolving consciousness we are developing an awareness of the relationship of what we consume and use in our life to how it affects everything else on earth. We are well aware, that gas mileage of cars make a substantial difference on the environment. That is personal,and at some level we acknowledge that the car we drive has an effect on the environment causing greenhouse effect with global warming. Of course even this easy association is often merely economically transient as witnessed with lowering of gas prices and its correlation with the increase in mega truck guzzler sales. But in reality everything we do has a personal and local impact and a global impact. If we cut down a tree in our yard and no one hears it does it affect the world? It affects the oxygen, the soil, the shade, the insects, birds, squirrels, . We are all aware that the disappearing rain forests are affecting our oxygen and breathing , but what about our nonsense neighbors cutting down our trees. So too being mindful when we make our selection for purchasing or ingestion of food effects, the store, the cashier, the truck driver, the farm workers, the chemical plant, the soil, the O2 of the earth are all interrelated. Not to mention the immediate effect processed ingredients have on your children. If we could somehow combine the effort to make our home, the way we live and breathe and eat better for us with the overall intent of helping a conservation effort globally wouldn’t that be grand.
Lets start with ingredients in what we eat. we are starting to realize that all the stuff that is put in our food and everything else to make it more convenient to go to the big market and purchase it in bulk and packaged, is called preservative or processed. This process firstly makes it no longer natural, secondly, to a large extent has a negative impact on our body and health, and thirdly we are learning this process has a negative impact on our world. In this way there is a direct correlation between how healthy we are and how healthy our world is. If we eat cleaner, live cleaner , become healthier so will our environment.
Lets make an effort to combine our health with that of the world, helping the environment while helping ourselves and that of our families.
This series of blogs and articles of “Healthful MD” will involve our health and our world. How we can be healthier and at the same time make the world a better place just by that simple act of making healthier safer choices. Never losing sight of the connection of our personal health choices to those of the earth and conservation.We are inextricably linked with the health of the world. If we do nothing more than become healthier ourselves and for our families this will have a global impact as well. “Small important health decisions can have lasting impact on our planet”.