Back to school: Natural ways to build your child’s immune system

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Bad news –  it’s flu season.

Good news – you can do a lot to help your child’s body stay strong so they can avoid catching it.

Simply put, if the immune system is strong, a person can be exposed to the flu virus, but they won’t “come down with the flu” because the immune system does its job and fights the virus before the person shows any symptoms.   Once the immune system is depressed, however, it can’t do its job properly and that’s when a person ends up developing symptoms (fever, aches, etc.) and actually gets sick.

Here are some simple steps that you can take that can make a big difference in boosting the immune system:

Get good sleep – Sounds simple, but it is vitally important.  Nighttime is when your body rejuvenates and repairs itself, and if you are not getting enough good sleep (6-10 hours uninterrupted depending on the person) your immune system will pay the price.

Drink plenty of pure, filtered water – Water helps your eliminative organs and your immune system by helping to flush out toxins and byproducts of our bodies war against germs.  If you are dehydrated, the liver, kidneys, lymph, and skin can’t do a good job of ridding your body of its natural waste products.

Get some sunshine  – Helps the body create vitamin D, which is a critical nutrient for our immune systems.

Avoid sugar

If you only do follow one of these tips, this is the one that will make the biggest difference to your immune system!

While we all know sugar isn’t the best thing for our bodies, most people are not aware of the effect sugar has on our immune system.  Two to three teaspoons of sugar will almost entirely depress the immune system (specifically the white blood cell activity) for up to 5 hours after consuming it.  To put this in perspective, one 12 ounce glass of fruit juice contains between 10-14 teaspoons of sugar (the equivalent of a soda).  I do not use sugar substitutes like Splenda or aspartame – they are even more toxic to your body than sugar.  I use xylitol or stevia if I need to sweeten the taste of something.

Help support the immune system with nutrients – In addition to a daily high quality multi vitamin, a few supplements that help boost your child’s immune system are probiotics, vitamins D and C, and the herb elderberry.  There are several brands that taste good that can help get them into your child – I get mine at Sprouts, Whole Foods, or Jimbo’s.

There are many more simple things that you can do to help keep the flu at bay this season, and shorten the duration of the flu if your child does come down with it.  These simple things can make a big difference.

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