Back to School: Boosting Immunity for Your Family

Last days of summer! Everything you need to keep your family healthy for Back to School.

Hand Washing

Most people know this is the best way to prevent illness. Many people don't know however  that "anti-bacterial" products should be avoided. Ingredients such as triclosan have been shown to be endocrine disruptors, meaning they alter normal hormone function, including thyroid and reproductive hormones. There are concerns that anti-bacterial products are linked to cancers, neurodegenerative disorders, infertility and obesity, pediatric obesity in particular. They contribute to anti-microbial resistance, promoting "super-bugs". They also are no more effective than plain soap and water.  These products do not belong in homes for personal use, especially if you have children at home. Also - there are non-antibacterial hand sanitizers made with alcohol that are safe and effective if you like these types of products. Read more.

Nutrition 

Optimal nutrition will give your body the best chance to fight off and recover from illness. Adequate fat and avoidance of sugar is a great place to start. Increase fruits and veggies for the whole family. Consider an Omega-3/Fish oil supplement for everyone too - lots of great brands for kids. We use Green Pasture or Barlean's Fish Oil for Zula. Nordic Naturals is another favorite and a brand that I trust. Consider a vitamin D supplement. I suggest a "clean" one that is just vitamin D and coconut or olive oil. Carlson's makes one, there are several others as well. Probiotics can also be beneficial. I like Bio-kult because of the quality and that they are shelf stable.

Garlic

Garlic is "nature's antibiotic". Allicin, a compound found in garlic is great for keeping your immune system in top shape and fighting infections. To get the most out of garlic, press or chop your garlic, and expose to air for several minutes. Raw garlic is best, as many of the healing properties are destroyed by heat. Actual garlic is preferred to garlic supplements, powders or other forms.

Astragalus 

This is a medicinal root that is used in Traditional Chinese Medicine. I buy the astragalus root slices from Mountain Rose Herbs. They look similar to tongue depressors. Just drop a couple in a pot of soup or beans while simmering and remove prior to serving. You don't actually consume the root, and it does not change the flavor of your cooking. It will infuse your food with immune boosting goodness to help your whole family through the winter. Using a couple times per week is great.  

Elderberry Syrup! 

It's great for acute illness and for prevention. Find recipe and dosing instructions here.  I also love Zand's Elderberry Zinc Drops for sore throats. If you can't find at your local health food store, they are available at Vitacost or Amazon.  

Thyme Honey Cough Syrup 

If you do get sick, start taking this right away. It works best when started early in the course of illness. Thyme is anti-viral and anti-bacterial, and honey helps with coughing. It's quick and easy to make up a batch. Take a dose every couple of hours initially, gradually decreasing as symptoms improve. This is safe for children over 12 months.  Recipe

Essential Oils

Young Living's Thieves oil is great for boosting immunity or for acute illnesses. Many people use diluted Thieve's on the bottoms of the feet nightly during fall/winter, for children or adults. Diffusing Thieve's is also great - it kills 99% of airborne viruses and bacteria, great for fall and winter.  Also makes your home smell amazing. Also see Essential Oils for Children. 

Be well!