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Back to School: a great time to boost those growing immune systems!

An image of kids going back to school in front of a bus

I can barely believe I'm thinking about pencil-cases, new shoes and ironing uniforms again. But the summer is rattling on and it'll soon be back to school time!

Whether you love it or loathe it, the re-introduction of lots of shared spaces and the changing in seasons can often means the dreaded school sickness bugs and germs.

As you prepare for back-to-school, dont overlook preparing your kids (and the whole household's) immune systems so they're strong, robust and ready to take on the new academic year. 

There are several things you can do to strengthen immune systems for your kids, and if done consistently and in combination they can have a huge positive impact on health.

Food: variety is the key

Variety truly is the spice of life, and arguably less catchy but still true: the key to a healthy balance of gut bacteria. Aiming to mix up the meals you have and including a different mixture of fresh vegetables is a great way to support health, and keep kids interested and curious about food too.

Take into consideration different colours, textures, shapes and combinations.

Vitamins

A well-known vitamin for immune defence is what we find in a juicy fresh orange: Vitamin C. This nutrient helps support the immune system by protecting your body's cells. Aside from the usual oranges, other foods abundant in Vitamin C include red and green peppers, strawberries, blackcurrants, broccoli and spinach. The other immune system superhero is one that most people in the UK are deficient in: Vitamin D. Without sufficient levels of this the immune system will not be able to fight off infections in the body. Vitamin D can be sourced through food such as oily fish, red meat and egg yolks, but the best source is through exposure to sunlight. The UK Department of Health recommend that we all supplement vitamin D throughout the winter months, and under 5's to have a supplement all year.

 

Gut Health

Maintaining good gut health is crucial for so many aspects of overall good health, and your immune system is the front line of preventing illness and disease. Around 80% of your immunity resides in your gut, so the two really do go hand in hand. Eating a nutritious, fresh diet is one of the best things you can do to manage your gut microbiome, so consider meal-plans and lunch boxes carefully. As well as this, we suggest using a combination of prebiotics (the food that the good bacteria thrive on like kimchi, yoghurt, tempeh for example) and also probiotics such as our award winning Kids probiotics (Was Bio-Live Kids) which contain live good bacteria delivered directly into the gut, boosting the balance of gut bacteria in favour of the good guys immediately. If your child doesn't like the taste, then it can be added to juice or smoothies. Bio-Live Kids:

  • Delivers beneficial enzymes and bacteria straight to the gut
  • is fermented with Chamomile, Echinacea and Carob to help calm the nervous system, tackle inflammation in the body and support the immune system.
  • 100% natural, gluten free, wheat, sugar, GM and dairy free
  • Has 15 families of bio live active cultures and over 30 herbs, juices and minerals
  • Is vegan and vegetarian approved
Watch a video about how Bio-Live Kids changed this boy's life Sleep & Movement The body's stress hormone cortisol weakens the immune system, so the more we can reduce cortisol the better. Disrupted or minimal sleep results in higher cortisol levels, so it's imperative that as we get back into new routines, all the hard work in terms of nutrition and gut health isnt undone by bad sleep routines. Studies have shown that 9 to 11 hours of sleep is ideal for school-age children. The other way of reducing cortisol can be by getting in plenty of physical movement and fresh air. If you're lucky enough to live in walking or cycling distance to school, try and incorporate it into your routine as much as possible. There are so many ways to contribute to a healthy immune system, and so many benefits to doing so. If you have any specific questions about your child’s health and nutrition before they go back to school don't forget you can always submit your question to be answered by our in-house nutritionist Zara, find out more here.

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