The school year is back and we have some tips on how to cold and flu-proof your child.
Children need special nutritional support as they head back to school each fall. Any gathering of kids creates a perfect opportunity for germs to spread, and no sooner has the school year gotten underway then flu season beginning.
How can you strengthen your child’s immune system and avoid winter colds and flus?
Number one, banish sugar from your child’s diet. Even a small amount of refined sugar can suppress your child’s immune system for hours. Immune cells need a lot of vitamin C to function normally, but sugar, which has a chemical structure similar to vitamin C, competes with the vitamin to enter the cells, creating an artificial vitamin C shortage. Avoid fruit juices (including orange juice), which are also too high in sugar. Whole fruits, however, are fine in moderation.
Feed your child the right fats. Trans fats and excess omega 6 fats (found in supermarket vegetable oils) depress immunity, whereas omega 3 fats, found in flax and fish oils, boost immunity.
Extra vitamin C is key! To gauge how much vitamin C, we recommend that the average 140-pound adult get 6 grams of vitamin C daily. So if your child weighs 70 pounds, 3 grams would be the recommended daily dose. (By the way, our vitamin C, either in powdered form or tablets, is on sale throughout the month of August.)
Some experts believe that flu season is caused by less sunlight, causing a vitamin D deficiency. What is certain is that a vitamin D deficiency greatly weakens immunity, while high-normal levels are immune-enhancing. Everyone, including children, should have their vitamin D levels tested with the 25(OH)D blood test. If your child’s levels aren’t high normal, call our office about supplementing with cod liver oil (also a good source of omega 3 fats) or our Vitamin D3 gel caps.
Make sure your child gets both adequate rest and exercise. Fatigue depresses immunity. Exercise promotes circulation, including the circulation of protective immune cells throughout the body.
Washing hands is a good habit for us all to get into.
If your child is exposed to other kids with colds, consider given them a capsule of olive leaf extract each morning before they leave for school.
Teach your child why you’re doing what you’re doing. They can then observe for themselves how they stay well while other kids are getting sick and understand why. Good luck out there!