Don't let a late summer cold get the best of your family. Here are five ways to nourish everyone's immune system.
Get adequate sleep.
Sleep is vital for both short-term and long-term health. The body does important work while it's asleep, including producing infection-fighting antibodies and cells. Too little sleep leaves us susceptible to illness -- in fact, a recent study finds that fewer than six hours a night may quadruple your risk for colds. Make quality sleep a priority and aim for at least seven or eight hours a night. School-aged children need 9 to 11 hours a night, while teenagers need 8 to 10 hours.
Load up on colorful fruits and veggies.
Vitamins A, C, and E and minerals like selenium and zinc are all critical for supporting healthy immunity, so in addition to a daily multivitamin or immune-support formula, enjoy a wholesome diet rich in these nutrients. It's particularly important during cold and flu season to get plenty of immune-boosting antioxidants, so include lots of brightly fruits and veggies in your diet every day.
Add some garlic.
Eating garlic can increase the number of virus-fighting T-cells in your bloodstream, and research shows that taking garlic extract can help reduce the severity and duration of cold and flu symptoms. In addition, the sulfur in fresh garlic helps the body absorb zinc, which is a potent immunity booster. Use garlic liberally in your family's favorite recipes, and look for garlic in supplement form at your natural market.
Supplement with probiotics.
Did you know that 80 percent of your immune system is located in your gut? A healthy balance of beneficial bacteria is essential for maintaining a strong immune system and overall well-being. Probiotics also stimulate the production of antibodies, which help eliminate foreign invaders like viruses and bacteria in the body. Look for probiotic formulas for adults and children.
In today's fast-paced world, parents are stressed out, kids are bogged down with too many extra-curricular commitments, and everyone suffers. Stress affects children the same way as adults -- when the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline rise, the body's immune response decreases. In order for everyone's immune system to thrive, both adults and children need lots of down time and plenty of rest.
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