Boosting Immunity for Back-to-School HealthJul 30, 2021 08:30AM ● By Amanda Bourbonais, courtesy of Brookfield Health & Wellness
Though many parents and kids are excited to head back to school, returning to the classroom brings some complications. There is no doubt that students will be near each other, indoors, for many hours during the day, yet it only takes one cough or sneeze to spread airborne germs. Stay healthy all school year long with these immune-boosting supplements and immune-healthy lifestyle practices:
Immunity Boosting Supplements
Vitamin D. This vitamin is important for just about every process in the body, including the immune system. As a recent article on Healthline.com states, vitamin D supports the production of immune cells that protect your body against all kinds of pathogens, including viruses.
We spend most of our time inside, away from our primary source of vitamin D—the sun. Our bodies use up vitamin D rapidly for the multiple functions it performs to keep us going. For immune system support, as well as mood, energy and hormone support, consume at least 5,000 IUs of a quality vitamin D like Ortho Molecular D3/K2 sublingual liquid. The liquid form is tasteless and easy for kids to take.
Vitamin C. A 2017 PubMed article explains that “Vitamin C deficiency results in impaired immunity and higher susceptibility to infections. In turn, infections significantly impact vitamin C levels due to enhanced inflammation and metabolic requirements. Furthermore, supplementation with vitamin C appears to be able to both prevent and treat respiratory and systemic infections.”
Vitamin C is also a strong antioxidant, lowering inflammation and stress in the body. It supports energy levels, mood, and skin and bone health. Vitamin C powder or capsules are recommended, up to 1,000 milligrams per day, to get the immune-boosting benefits.
Zinc. Some research by the National Institute of Health suggests that zinc is helpful for both preventing and treating COVID-19. Zinc also supports both the innate and acquired immune system, allowing the body to better recognize and defend itself against invaders.
Adaptogens like ashwagandha or rhodiola, trendy medicinal mushrooms like reishi and chaga, or probiotics that support a healthy gut environment are also key to good immune health.
Lifestyle Practices for a Healthy Immune System
The body is constantly working as an interdependent, highly complex system that relies on a framework of wellness practices that support the body as a whole.
Stress. “Chronic stress is one of the greatest catalysts to disease,” says Susan Rohr, owner of Brookfield Health & Wellness. She offers customized immune defense programs to clients as well as various tools that ease the nervous system back into the rest-and-recovery-state, as opposed to the fight-or-flight state.
For parents, stress management might be getting up an hour earlier to fit in a workout or yoga practice, or to simply have time to do a relaxing activity before the kids wake up, such as reading, meditation or enjoying coffee or tea.
For kids, this could mean having time after school for play unrelated to school sports. Encourage children to pursue a creative hobby like drawing or music, or mindfulness practices like guided meditation and a daily gratitude list.
One easy technique to teach is deep breathing: breathe in for a count of three, hold breath for a count of four, and exhale for a count of five. Do a few deep breaths with your child before bedtime and encourage them to do so whenever they feel stress.
Healthy Food. Rohr recommends eating as much fresh, organic food as possible. Eat mindfully, together as a family without distractions. This means no TV or phones—just conversation and thorough chewing.
Exercise. Moderate exercise equates to decreased illness risk, and exercise is an anti-inflammatory practice for the whole body. It doesn’t have to be strenuous; try a daily morning walk, yoga, sports or even stretching. The key is to do something you enjoy and to do it consistently, which helps with stress management.
Kids need some activity each day, especially if they are still participating in virtual learning. Encourage stretch breaks and outside play so that they get some time away from the computer screen, between classes if possible.
Sleep. Sleep is essential to the body on many levels, including the immune system. Sleep supports the production of T cells—the pathogen fighters. Adults should get at least seven to eight hours per night, and kids typically need nine to eleven hours or more, depending on age. To promote restful sleep, turn off all devices one hour before bedtime. Have the whole family practice a nighttime routine. Adequate activity during the day will help everyone sleep soundly.
With a few added supplements and small tweaks to encourage a healthy lifestyle, your family can get off to a strong start this school year, even amid a global pandemic.
Brookfield Health and Wellness,150 S Sunnyslope Rd, Suite 148, Brookfield, WI is an integrative clinic that specializes in treating immune system dysfunctions by assessing the whole person—their body, mind and spirit—to get to the root cause of illness. For more information, call 262-395-4023 or visit BrookfieldHealthAndWellness.com.
Amanda Bourbonais a freelance writer for holistic health professionals. You can find her online at AmandaBourbonaisAgency.com.