7 Ways to Support Your Immune System Today!

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fruit(nutrition)2Are your kids already in the school-time groove or are you squeezing in a last-minute shopping trip for backpacks and new shoes? Either way, summer is winding down. Soon, we’ll find ourselves in the middle of cold and flu season. Here’s seven quick tips to aid your immune system (as well as your family’s) against a germ attack.

Serve more fruits and veggies  Carrots, green beans, oranges, and strawberries contain immunity-boosting phytonutrients which may increase the body’s production of infection-fighting white blood cells.  The goal, for all of you, is to eat five servings of fruits and veggies a day.

Limit the sugar. Studies have shown consuming 75 to 100 grams of a sugar solution reduces the white blood cells’ ability to “seek and destroy.” All the more reason to kick the soda habit (or that 3 p.m. candy break) to the curb.

Don’t forget the Vitamin D. Did you know the “sunshine vitamin” is not actually a vitamin, but a hormone? Vitamin D plays a key role in immune system function. A deficiency can limit our immune system’s ability to function properly. Aim to ingest milk, orange juice, and breakfast cereals fortified with Vitamin D. (Or some ZAMboost!)

Exercise as a family. Routine exercise can increase

momwalkingwithkidsthe number of white blood cells in adults and kids. Why not play together? Fun family activities include bike riding, hiking, basketball, kicking around a soccer ball, and tennis.

Wash hands.  Make sure your kids wash their hands with soap – especially before and after meals, using the restroom, after handling pets, blowing their noses, and getting home from school or daycare. Carry disposable wipes with you for quick clean-ups.

Give old toothbrushes the brush off. A child can’t catch the same cold or flu virus twice, but the virus can hop from toothbrush to toothbrush, infecting other family members. If someone in your house has had a bacterial infection like strep throat, he or she can get re-infected. Toss toothbrushes after colds/flu/viruses.

Boost sleep time. Sleep deprivation can make adults more susceptible to illness by reducing white blood cells. Studies show children’s bodies are affected in the same way. In fact, those in day care might have a tougher time getting the quality sleep they need due to nap times that may be interrupted because of other children’s activities.