Building Up Your Immune system for Back to School - Nutrition
Post 1/4 - Nutrition Focus and Your Immune system
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I cannot discuss how frequently this time of the year parents come into our clinic with sick kids and teens. We continuously discuss illness after illness. Snot, boogers, coughs, and sore throats appear to never end. Night time coughs seem to go on forever. At times, it seems like everyone is wheezing, coughing, and sneezing. Exasperated parents and children have to deal with sinus infections, pneumonia, strep throat, exhaustion, congestion, and school absenteeism. Additionally, parents miss days of work and everyone is super frustrated.
Not only are we all trying to stay healthy at school and work, but holiday travel and holiday gatherings expose all of us to a whole host of viruses and bacteria.
HOW CAN WE PREVENT THIS RECURRENCE OF SNOT, CONGESTION, FEVER, etc??
- Hand washing is very important!! Soap and water people. Lay off the alcohol sanitizers. Teach kids to sing a song while washing hands or counting to 10 to get a good wash.
- Teach kids to cough and sneeze in their elbows.
- Fruits and veggies should be part of every meal. Yes, I can dissect what each fruit or veggie has that specifically builds your antibodies, but we would all get bored to death.
Bottom line: let us teach the kids that when we reach for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or snack - WE CHOOSE to fight against the season's illnesses or WE CHOOSE to feed the grossness, the viruses and bacteria.
When you are tired of seeing us in clinic for yourself or for your kids, when you get tired of antibiotics and steroids, make food a priority for your health. Food should not be a convenience.
- processed foods in containers and bags - yes chips, crackers, lunchables, cereal bars, pop tarts, juices, soda, pretzels, fruit roll ups, fruit gummies, frozen dinners, cookies, fast foods, fried foods, etc - feed colds, snot, fever, flu, sore throats and viruses by increasing your blood sugar fast and steep. When your blood sugar spikes, the insulin spikes as well. This causes that sugar to be shoved into fat cells immediately, thus leaving the body deprived of nutrition. In other words, the organs do not see the high sugar and fat from the food you just ate. The sugar and fat get deposited around the organs, and the organs are left starving. (This is why most people get tired and devoid of energy after a sugary, fatty meal) Your immune system and all the cells it is made up of, needs food, good food as well. If the immune cells are starving, they cannot fight off the invading cold and flu viruses that are everywhere in every classroom and day care. Furthermore, the above mentioned items have a list of ingredients that is long and scary. If you can't read all the ingredients on a box, your body will not be able to understand it either.
- Choose fruits and veggies to build your body's immune system at every meal. Fruits and veggies are filled with sugar as well, but they also are full of fiber which slows down the sugar and insulin release. The body recognizes this slow sugar release and uses it for energy. Furthermore, fruits and veggies are filled with numerous vitamins and minerals that are the building blocks for your organs and your cells. Many people rely on man-made vitamins to supply their bodies with necessary minerals and vitamins, however, man-made vitamins are generally poorly absorbed and do not come close to the benefit of real wholesome food.
Sound hard??! Well so does coughing all night, congestion and fatigue all day, snot and headaches all the time, never ending sore throats, Doctor copays, antibiotics and steroids. Shall I go on??? These symptoms and co-payments are hard. Teaching your children to make the right food choices can be as hard or as easy as you choose to make it.
In Good Health, Ana-Maria