Help your child beat the bugs in the school yard

By Louise Belle BHSc (Nut Med)

Your children are exposed to a plethora of germs and viruses on a daily basis at school. This is because they are coming into contact with other children that could be infected, or touching objects (toys, pens, sporting equipment etc) that are harbouring germs. Luckily, we all have an inbuilt defence program (the immune system) which protects us from getting sick every time we are in contact with germs. A strong immune system is better equipped to ward off infection than a weakened one. To give your child the best possible chance of beating the bugs in the school yard, try these top tips:

Wash hands regularly

This might seem obvious, but it needs to be said! Hand washing is such an easy and effective way of reducing exposure to germs. Encourage your children to wash their hands (with soap) before they eat, after using the bathroom and straight after they get home from school.

Get in the good bugs

About 80% of the immune system resides in the gut, so its really important to have a healthy balance of gut flora (bugs) particularly in younger children and those who have used antibiotics. Incorporate fermented foods into your child’s diet to strengthen the gut army! These include natural yoghurt, miso soup, kombucha, tempeh and sauerkraut.

Fruit and veg

Feeding your child an abundance of vegetables and fruits is so important for their developing immune systems. Fruit and vegetables are packed with vitamins and minerals that support and strengthen the immune system, as well as fibre that feeds the good bacteria in the gut. Tip: Finely grate vegetables and sneak them into their favourite meals to boost their intake!

Sleep

The wonderful ZZZ’s we love so much are actually super important for the immune system. When we sleep, our immune systems recover and produce new immune cells. Make sure your child gets away from technology, and snuggles into bed nice and early for a good night’s sleep. If your child has trouble winding down and getting to sleep, magnesium could come in handy!

Sunshine

Those beautiful rays of sunshine do more than simply warm you up. Our skin has the ability to absorb vitamin D from the sun, which is vital for fuelling the immune army. Make sure your child spends time out doors every day to get a good dose of vitamin D and fresh air.

Fresh juice

If your child is a little under the weather, or you know there is a virus going around the school, fresh juice is a great way to get concentrated nutrients and antioxidants into their system. Kiwifruit, orange, broccoli, lemon, grapefruit, capsicum, tomato, pineapple, lime, berries, tangerine and spinach are great sources of vitamin C.

Cut the sugar

Did you know that sugar directly suppresses the immune system and feeds bad bacteria? Cut out the sugary muesli bars, lollies, soft drink, ice cream, custard and cordial as much as you can! Replace these with tasty, healthy treats.

Immune support

There are particular vitamins and minerals that are vital for supporting a healthy immune system and improving the ability to fight off infection. These include vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin D, selenium, zinc and iodine.

See Dr Cabot’s book Raw Juices Can Save Your Life for delicious, immune-boosting juice recipes.

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