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PARENTING / K-12

Natural ways to boost your child's immune system

Keep your kids healthy this season

From SheKnows Canada
It's hard for kids to enjoy all the activities this season has to offer if they're coughing and sniffling. So keep them healthy with these natural immune system boosters.

kids playing outside

Keep them active

Sluggish bodies are unhealthy bodies, and that isn't what you want. Dr. Charles Raison at Emory University tells Web MD that "exercise seems to train the stress system to more optimally respond to stressors." And that can mean the next time your kids' bodies come in contact with germs, they are more likely to be able to fight them off. Fortunately kids tend to live active lives without too much prodding. If your children enjoy running around at recess and take part in active extracurricular activities, that may be enough. But if not, consider inviting them to go on an adventure walk with you, play an active game or have a dance party. This will also help tire them out, which will make it easier for them to sleep and strengthen their bodies while at rest.

With just a few easy tweaks you can help boost your kids' immune systems and keep them healthy throughout the year.

Plenty of fruits and vegetables

Between Halloween leftovers and holiday party treats, this time of year can offer kids a lot of unhealthy goodies. Although it's certainly OK for them to indulge in their favourite treats every now and then, you want to make proper nutrition a priority. Immune systems don't run on gummy bears and shortbread, after all! They run on leafy greens, fresh fruits, rich root vegetables, hearty grains and other natural sources. So if you notice your children are consistently handing back untouched bags of baby carrots and sliced cucumber they were meant to eat at school, talk to them about it. Let them know it's OK to treat themselves, but they do have to get the right foods in them first if they want to stay healthy throughout the holidays.

Lots of sleep

Proper shut-eye is the most crucial element of keeping your kids' immune systems thriving. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine reports that studies have shown that "sleep helps sustain the functioning of the immune system, and that chronic sleep loss is a risk factor for immune system impairment."

Not enough sleep puts stress on the body, which can make your child's immune system unable to function properly. Between school, extracurricular activities and playing with friends, kids do a lot throughout the day. And all that activity can wear their little bodies out if they aren't resting up in between days. Sleep patterns and the regularity and quality of sleep are also important, so make sure to put your children to bed at the same time every night, regardless of the day of the week. And if you know they're likely to secretly keep reading or play games after you've closed the door, don't hesitate to check in and ensure they're getting the rest they need.

More on kids' health

Ways to get your kids "health"-conscious not "thin"-conscious
Is your child having body image issues?
Does your child need glasses?

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