Winter is upon us again and for families, that means one big concern: getting sick. Colds, flus and viruses are on the rise this time of year. To protect your family against getting sick, boost their natural immunity with these simple steps that you can start today.
How to Boost Your Family's Natural Immunity
- Get Enough Vitamin D
Winter time means more time indoors and less exposure to the sun – which means our kids are getting less Vitamin D in their diets. This can make them more vulnerable to colds and infections. On sunny winter days, bundle your family up and do seasonal activities, such as pumpkin picking, outdoor festivals and hayrides. To make up for the rest of the season, you have your vitamin D serum level tested to see if you need a supplement. If so, be sure to take a high quality D3 supplement rather than the synthetic D2 version for a safer choice (like this vegan D3 spray).
- Get Sufficient Sleep
We all know a good night’s sleep is a great idea, but did you know it could boost your immunity? Studies have linked sleep with immune function. The end of the year is filled with holiday events that can keep us up late so be sure your family gets full night’s sleep. Suggested minimums are higher than you might expect: 8 hours for adults, 10-11 hours for teens, and even more for younger children.
- Frequent and Proper Hand Washing
Many viruses can be avoided with frequent hand washing, but you also need to teach your children proper hand washing techniques. Scrub your hands for 30 seconds under warm water with a non-toxic (preferably castile) soap. You should also avoid hand sanitizers. Most popular brands contain triclosan and triclocarban, which act as endocrine disrupters, and frequent use can kill off friendly bacteria, leading to the development of resistant bacteria. This can actually increase your child’s risk for disease.
In 2008, NBC News reported on research showing that regular exercise builds your body’s defenses against colds and flus. In fall and winter, you family can build snowmen, jump in rain puddles and play tag football. If you can’t get outside in inclement weather, find ways to be active indoors. Host impromptu dance parties with your children, find YouTube videos featuring youth workouts or play a video game that includes fitness or movement. Another great idea is a mini-trampoline. Kids can jump on and all throughout the day while you can use it for a high impact workout!
- Reduce Your Holiday Sugar Consumption
Between Halloween, holiday parties and events that feature sweets, kids can be exposed to an overload of sugar in the fall and winter. According to AskDr.Sears.com, studies have shown that excessive simple sugars, like table sugar and honey, can reduce the body’s immune response. Make sure to regulate the number of desserts and candies your family is eating as well as choosing sweeteners that have a lower glycemic index for baking.
- Balance Your Gut
Winter not only means more sugar, but also more baked goods, and that means your gut flora can be out of balance. Too much of these foods can make candid, yeast and other “bad' bacteria thrive in your intestines, lowering your immunity. To aid your gut in getting balanced, put your family on a high quality probiotic tailored for their age.
- Eat Foods that Boost Immunity
Leafy greens, fruits high in vitamin C like oranges, and other organic produce rich in antioxidants will help your family stay free of sickness. Don't forget to add sweet potatoes to your plate this holiday, as they contain vitamins C and D and antioxidants! In addition, spice up your meals for better health. Ginger, cayenne pepper, marjoram, Celtic sea salt and cinnamon do the double duty of seasoning your meals and naturally boosting immunity.
These few changes can go a long way to boosting your family’s natural immunity and keeping your kids from getting sick.
What precautions do you take to stave off the seemingly never-ending waves of flu each winter?