Back-To-School Health Basics

It’s back-to-school time, and you know what that means: all those kids congregating in classrooms that become Petri dishes for viruses and God-knows-what faster than you can say amoeba. You may not have a school-aged child, but that doesn’t let you off the hook. Chances are you work with –or will come in contact with– someone who does, so you’ll be exposed whether you like it or not. Face it: viruses are more opportunistic that a teenager after the family car keys.

The goal this time of year is to reinforce the defenses; circle the wagons around your immune system. It’s not hard to do. Everything you need is readily available. It just takes a bit of commitment, and a dose of common sense.

1.  Handwashing:  Don’t give me that look. It’s important and it works. Just do it. Enough said.

2.  Multi-Vitamin/mineral:  In a perfect world we would get all the nutrients we need to stay healthy from our food. Fact is, this world is far from perfect, and the typical American diet is woefully shy in the nutrient department. Get a high quality supplement designed for kids from a health food store, and give it to them with breakfast every day. I suggest making sure it has a nice concentration of the B-vitamins, which studies show help kids stay calmer and better focused.

3.  Probiotics:   There’s a lot of buzz about probee’s these days. For good reason: 80% of our immune cells line the digestive tract, so keeping the gut populated with beneficial flora not only promotes regularity, it supports immune function. One study involving preschoolers showed that kids who took a daily probiotic had 75% fewer colds and flu’s than those who didn’t. That is not a number to sneeze at. You say you eat yogurt? Great! But you’d have to eat a truckload to get the concentrations of active cultures that you need. Do yourself a favor and give the kids a chewable, and a capsule containing at least 8-billion for yourself.

4.  Vitamin D:  Research shows that kids with adequate vitamin D levels get fewer colds and flu; their bones and teeth are stronger, and they get fewer cavities as well. Problem is, the majority of kids don’t get a sufficient amount…. even if they’re outdoorsy types. Children over age 1 need 600 to 1,000 iu’s daily. Opt for the D-3 form, the natural most bio-available to the body. There are plenty of good brands out there, including tasty gummies and the like.

5.  Grape Seed Extract:   This is a member of a small and very dignified group of super-antioxidants known as OPC’s (oligomeric proanthocyanidins).  Sourced from the seeds of red grapes, GSE strengthens cells under attack by free radicals. This is key, because this boosts immune function, and gives the body more ammo to fight and defeat viruses. It also works with vitamin C in the body, so be sure to get plenty of that as well.  Grape seed extract has also been shown to be a potent anti-bacterial; it even reduces the bacteria that cause tooth decay. In addition to supporting immune health, GSE is also used to treat allergies, ADD, and cardiovascular disease.  For children under twelve, 50 mgs is usually sufficient, over twelve, 100 mgs.

So, there are a few simple suggestions to help keep our immune systems strong this year.  We always welcome your comments and questions. Just shoot us an email!

This information is provided for educational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any illness or disease, nor is it intended to replace the care of a health practitioner.

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