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Everyday Holistic Pediatrics

My Secret Weapon Against the Flu: Fermented Foods!

What’s my secret weapon against the flu???
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KIMCHI!

And it’s not just because I’m Korean! Researchers found that kimchi, a spicy fermented Korean cabbage, was effective in PREVENTING and KILLING the influenza virus! This is what researchers from the Korea Food Research Institute and the World Institute of Kimchi (YES! There really is such a thing! 😋) had to say:

“Lactic acid bacteria and fermentation metabolites in kimchi inhibit the growth of influenza virus … Lactobacillus plantarum, which is produced in large quantities during the fermentation of kimchi, and its sub-ingredients such as green onion and ginger are thought to hinder the growth of influenza virus. We concluded that bioactive compounds from lactic acid bacteria produced by kimchi fermentation serve as antiviral agents … Our study is the world’s first that scientifically verified kimchi’s effectiveness against influenza viruses such as swine flu and AI (avian influenza) viruses.”

But don’t worry – if you or your kids don’t like kimchi yet (the operative word is YET … Remember that it can take 40-50 or more times of trying a food for a child to find it acceptable, so don’t give up!) – harness the power of flu-fighting, immune-boosting Lactobacillus plantarum in other fermented foods!

Fermented Foods

There are so many different kinds of fermented food, so even if kimchi is not yet a staple household item, there’s plenty of others to try! Here’s a list of some fermented food options:

  • Yogurt (caveat: avoid dairy if you are “phlegmy”. Non-dairy yogurt options include almond, coconut, cashew …)
  • Kefir (dairy, coconut, water)
  • Kombucha
  • Kvass
  • Sauerkraut
  • Real pickles & pickled vegetables
  • Raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar
  • Miso
  • Natto
  • Tempeh
  • Kimchi

Kenzi and Bodi are huge kombucha and kimchi fans. I’d love to hear what fermented foods you and your kids enjoy, or will try next!😊

Probiotic Supplements

While fermented foods pack more probiotic punch than any probiotic supplement, I totally get that fermented foods are not yet a part of some kids’ diets. Certain probiotic strains have been shown to reduce the frequency of fevers and colds/flus, so adding a good probiotic supplement can provide awesome additional immune support! For help choosing your child’s probiotics, be sure to download my FREE Guide to Choosing Your Child’s Probiotic.

Whichever way you get your ferment on, taking this single step can go a long way in keeping your whole family healthy and happy during the cold and flu season!

xo Holistic mama doc – Elisa Song, MD

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