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How microbes make for a healthy school year

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Do you, like most parents, have a lot on your mind during the busy back to school season? New schedules, new teachers and stocking up on new uniforms. But making sure your kids are ready for the school year goes beyond the best backpack. We hope our kids learn, develop social skills and become independent individuals at school, but it is also an environment where they can easily pick up germs and illnesses. Keeping your child's immune system strong is an important way to help them stay healthy and ward off unwanted bugs during the school year.

Children in classrooms are in close proximity with other children, which makes it easy to transfer infections. Introducing a few healthy habits can help protect your child and their classmates from getting sick. Over 70% of our immune system lives in our gut and there are trillions of microbes in our gastrointestinal system which we need to keep happy so that they, in return, keep us happy. Some healthy habits that will support your child's immune system are:  

Eat a healthy balanced diet

Teaching children, at a young age, the importance of a healthy balanced diet makes a lasting impression and what they eat can help boost beneficial bacteria in their gut. What you eat isn't just nutrition for you, it also feeds the trillions of bacteria that live in your gut. Refined sugar has a negative impact on the immune system, so instead of sweets or processed foods load them up with more nutritious foods. Do you find yourself packing the same thing for lunch every day? It's easy to get into a routine, but we know that when it comes to diversity of gut microbes - which is strongly linked to health - the important thing is to eat a wide variety of food. Trying something different every now and again will expose your kids to more and different microbes.

Get enough sleep

Not enough sleep lowers the immune system so it's crucial that children get a good night's sleep in order to function at their best through the school day. The microbiome is regulated by circadian rhythms which means that, when disrupted by poor sleep, the health and functioning of the microbiome suffers. Sophie Bostock, Sleep Expert, says 'you can probably look at any part of the body and if you aren't getting enough sleep, because of sleep's essential role in recovery, renewal and rebalance, then it's going to mess with it in some way. Your emotions, your immune function, your metabolism, your circulatory system. Sleep is absolutely fundamental to our survival'.

Get more exercise

Research suggests there is a direct link between stress and a weakened immune system. Make sure children have time to play, exercise and unwind in order to destress from their school day. In 2018, one in three children in England did fewer than 30 minutes of physical activity a day - half the amount recommended. Encourage time outdoors as well as creative activities like painting and drawing. Exercise, as well as being an important aspect of destressing, can also strengthen immunity and protect against childhood obesity.

Introduce live cultures

Live active cultures, also known as probiotics, are friendly bacteria found naturally in the body, as well as in food. Maintaining a good balance of these bacteria within the gut plays an essential role in your child's health and is extremely beneficial to their digestive system and overall health. Some children experience problems when swallowing pills and most probiotic supplements are high in sugar which causes a vicious cycle for kids who suffer from yeast issues; sugar feeds candida.

microbz kids (previously Bio-Live Kids) is dairy free, sugar free, gluten free and vegan certified. Our living fermented liquid is packed full of 15 strains of beneficial microbes and over 30 supplements. It is a powerful blend to boost and maintain your child's health and immune system. And as a liquid, it is easy to introduce into your child's daily diet: simply mix with a fruity smoothie, add to cereal, or stir into a delicious yoghurt bowl.

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