The first day of school is here and along with it comes new clothes and shoes, school supplies and unfortunately this year, new viruses. It has become a fact of life that when your child returns to school, they can’t avoid gatherings of lots of people together indoors day after day and not be exposed to a multitude of both bacteria and viruses, especially COVID 19.
So how do you protect your kids? You may wish that you could put them in a plastic bubble before you send them on their way, but that, of course, is not a reality.
Instead, a more realistic course of action is to boost their immune systems so that their bodies can fight off these bacteria and viral invaders on their own.
There are several approaches to countering things like COVID-19 that you are already well aware of such as:
- Wash your hands before leaving for school, between classes and before returning home
- Social distance when possible
- Wear a washable face mask and clean it daily
- Use hand sanitizer
- Take your child’s temperature before they go to school every day
- Invest in an O2 oxygen saturation monitor that measures the level of oxygen in the blood. One of the things that are an early sign of a COVID infection is a drop in your oxygen saturation, even before you’re symptomatic.
- Avoid cafeteria lines and take your lunch with you, (brown bag it)
How To Strengthen Your Child’s Immune System
All of the above recommendations are good, but none of this helps if your child doesn’t have a robust immune system to begin with. The key to strengthening a child’s immune system is the same as it is for an adult.
To strengthen their immune system, you need to focus on their diet. Certain foods serve to enhance your immune system, while others weaken it.
Foods like garlic, mushrooms, brightly colored vegetables, nuts and berries, wild-caught fish, chocolate, yogurt, and high protein animal products all strengthen the immune system.
Foods that weaken your immune system and should be avoided are:
- Sugar in any form; candy, cakes, and cookies. Sugar causes inflammation, and this has been shown to decrease immunity by weakening white blood cells. White blood cells are responsible for fighting infections.
- Dairy, especially ice cream, is full of saturated fat. This type of fat increases the inflammatory reaction in the body.
- Grains, especially those that contain gluten, have been shown to increase inflammation, which leads to an increase in mucus production.
- Pizza is a combination of both gluten and dairy
- Pasta. Again, loaded with grains and topped with cheese
- Processed deli meats. This type of meat makes your body more susceptible to both bacteria and viruses.
- French fries. Another high fat, inflammatory food.
- Soda is loaded with sugar and weakens your white blood cells.
- Fast food of any kind
Supplements That Strengthen Your Immune System
- Probiotics. Our gut flora and our defense system are in a reciprocal relationship with one another. What happens to one will influence the other. Probiotics restore the good bacteria, and therefore, they automatically restore your immune function.
- Zinc has been shown to keep the immune system from spiraling out of control and keeps inflammation under control. Zinc activates enzymes that break down proteins in viruses and bacteria, so they are less able to spread. Zinc also increases the activation of cells responsible for fighting infection.
- Omega 3’s. Fish oil helps your immune system by reducing inflammation and improving your blood chemistry.
- Vitamin D3 enhances the pathogen-fighting effects of monocytes and macrophages, white blood cells that are essential parts of your immune defense. Vitamin D3 also decreases inflammation, which helps promote an immune response.
- Vitamin C supports the function of various immune cells and enhances their ability to protect against infection.
- DMG, or dimethylglycine, aids in both strengthening the immune system and calming those with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
- L-theanine has been shown to increase immune responses. This amino acid activates and aids in the production of a type of white blood cell called gamma-delta-T lymphocyte, or T-Cells. These cells are a quick-acting immune cell that launches a mighty attack on invading pathogens like the flu virus. Besides, L-theanine has been shown to support concentration and focus while it reduces irritability and low mood states. It directly stimulates the production of alpha brain waves, giving the body a sense of deep relaxation and mental alertness without drowsiness.