Healthy Tools and Tips
Focus on Immune System Prep – Help Your Body Help You!
Ahhh, Fall is in the air, the kiddos are back in school and the sale of tissue is on the rise again!
Everyone wants to be that person who never gets sick, the one at the office who somehow skips out on the sneeze that’s traveling throughout the building or the one that doesn’t come down with the cold your child brings home from school. Have you noticed that not everyone catches that “common cold” or comes down with the flu? Why, you may ask.
Well, your immune system is the determining factor in this mystery!
So, what is your “Immune System”? Simply put, it is the body’s natural defense system against “invaders” like viruses, illness, infection and disease. Keeping your immune system healthy ensures that your body can function at its highest level to fight off these invaders and keep you going strong! So, let’s take a look at some natural ways to give your immune system the support it needs to help you stay healthy. Like any fighting force healthy immune warriors need good nutrition to be at their best!
Let’s start with the basics.
- Eating a healthy diet is the foundation of a healthy body.
The body can only work with the nutrition you give it, so kicking up those fresh fruits and vegetables, like red peppers, carrots, oranges and strawberries, while pushing down “anti-nutrients” like sugar, cookies, cakes and sugary drinks, will give your immune fighters, nutrients like vitamin C and E, beta-carotene and zinc, fresh fruits, vegetables, quality proteins and fats the foundational blocks needed. And, did you know, that consuming too much sugar or sugary drinks actually suppresses your immune system cells? This effect can last hours after taking in sugar.
- Get quality rest.
We have all read how important it is to get a good night’s sleep as sleep helps to restore the body. It makes sense that sleep deprivation can make you more susceptible to illness by reducing your immune-system weapons that attack those germs and viruses. The same holds true for the kiddos.
- Fresh air and movement.
Get outside when you can and soak in some rays! Natural Vitamin D has great immune benefits, and research shows that exercise, not only makes you feel better, it increases the number of natural killer cells in the body! So, take a walk and encourage the kids to go out and play.
- Wash those hands.
Make sure you and the kids wash your hands often. Virus germs can be anywhere, so if not near soap and water, carrying a hand sanitizer or disposable wipes are great options. To help kids get into the hand-washing habit at home, let them pick out their own brightly colored hand towels and natural soap in fun shapes, colors,and scents. Another key germ-busting strategy: “If you or your child do get sick, throw out the toothbrush right away”, says Barbara Rich, D.D.S., a spokesperson for the Academy of General Dentistry. You can’t catch the same cold or flu virus twice, but the virus can hop from toothbrush to toothbrush, infecting other family members. If it’s a bacterial infection, such as strep throat, however, re-infection can happen, with the same germs that brought sickness in the first place. In that case, tossing the toothbrush protects everyone in the family.
- Take time to de-stress a bit.
Back to school is a busy time for everyone, parents are over stressed, and lots of kids are over-scheduled which causes them to stress even with activities they love. When stress hormones are elevated, immune response is lowered. Make sure there is plenty of down time to just play and rest for everyone. Busy bodies need to take a break now and then for health to thrive.
The gut needs healthy bacteria to keep up the protective measures of the body and Probiotics, the friendly helpful bacteria that naturally occur in our guts. Probiotics protect our digestive tract, helping to digest food, assist in toxin clearance and boost our immune system by building the good bacteria that we need. A good probiotic for everyone is a great way to boost health. Adding additional Vitamin C, Elderberry, Garlic and Vitamin E, may go a long way to help you stay healthy and shorten the duration of colds and flu.
Take good care of yourself, get your rest and remember… if you do catch a cold or flu, as Mamma says… Nothing beats a big bowl of chicken soup to nourish the body and soul.