Back to School… health tips

Back to school can bring up different emotions for any one of us! Here are a few things I’d like to bring up regarding the beginning of the school year.

  • Traffic (school buses, dropping kids off, picking them up, etc). plan ahead, or change your route – that’s all I can say about this..
  • Immunity – bring a bunch of kids together for 8 hours, and you’re bound to share germs. If you are not siding with the germ theory, then join my club and just take better care of your own immunity. Multiple people touch the same germs, but only a few “random” people will get sick! So, this sometimes is due to your own immune system and how strong it is to fight off those germs (bacteria, viruses, etc) without your body showing symptoms (sickness). Here are a few great, quick, cheap ways to stay healthy:
    1. Probiotics (or fermented foods). A majority of our immunity resides in our gut (lymphatic system takes up so much space here, and that’s where our WBC hang out…), so helping balance “good” and “bad” flora is crucial for our immunity. Some say eating fermented foods (i.e.: kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut, yogurt, kimchi, pickles, etc) or taking probiotics helps to crowd out the “bad” bacteria in our gut, which keeps the healthy balance and is a positive factor in our mood, immunity, digestion, elimination. Get some probiotics daily, from multiple sources!
    2. Sleep – 8 hours of sleep can help our body heal. Sleeping is when we allow our body to recharge and strengthen. Lack of sleep can definitely damage our immune system.
    3. Anti-oxidants berries, dark leafy greens. Eat more, put them in smoothies, blend in to “pasta” sauce… Antioxidants help to stabilize our oxidative environment, thus reducing “free radicals” and harmful effects to our immune system. It’s all about balance, so help your body out by increasing our anti oxidant army daily. Taking Vitamin C can help as well (500mg-2000 mg daily in divided doses). Zinc (15mg to 30mg daily for only 1 week at a time, or as needed can help shorten severity of colds as well)
    4. Sugar – avoid sugars and refined foods as much as you can. Sugar can affect our immune system in a detrimental way. Avoiding sugary foods (not just candy, but also including white breads, crackers, sneaky processed sugars, alcohol) can help your health in so many ways, including decreasing excess weight around the abdomen!
    5. Stress – reducing stress can help reduce excess (or improper production) of Cortisol, helping your adrenal glands to take a chill pill, and helping your immune system all at the same time. If you don’t think you can reduce stress, then find other ways to manage stress. Meditate, light exercise, get out in nature, practice deep breathing, take baths, laugh with friends, etc!
    6. Sunlight – Vitamin D has been shown to improve our immunity greatly! Getting out in the sun can also help our mood, decrease stress (refer to tip#5), and help our body sync to the cycle of day/night, thus helping us sleep better (refer to tip#2)
    7. Protein – eating enough protein can help our body produce the hormones and cells we need to support our immune system. Depending on your body, your fitness level, your dietary needs (maybe even your blood type…), and if your kidneys are functioning well, you should take in 0.5 grams to 1.2 grams of protein per pound of body weight.
    8. Exercise – sweating every day, moving your body, breathing fully, and working out can help your immune system function better. Remember though, that moderation is key. If you are exercising once a week, try to increase one day every week or so, but if you are exercising 9 times a week and you feel tired every day, cranky when you aren’t able to workout, your muscles are too sore and you aren’t feeling better, then maybe it’s time to reduce your exercise frequency and/or intensity. I like working out 6 times a week with 3 of those times being very intense. This is my balance – which changes based on my sleep and nutrition levels! Nothing is set in stone with fitness and nutrition, as we as humans adapt to our environment. Have fun with whatever you do, which can also help exercise become more of a lifestyle staple, and reduce stress, as well as improve sleep (refer to #2, #5)…
    9. Massage – helping your body’s lymphatic system, decrease stress, improve the flow of your immune cells, blood flow, etc. Remember though, if you are not feeling well, if lower than the neck, as in body aches, fever, etc – DO NOT get a massage until you are feeling better. This is about prevention, not treatment. Gua Sha; however, can help a cold’s duration shorten, improving your health faster than without gua sha! Also, essential oils depending on your symptoms can help treat your cold. More about essential oils in a later post.

Thank you for all you all do – teach, learn, and help our children and our future 🙂Probiotics

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