This August, many students will be returning to the classroom—but this is no ordinary back-to-school season. With the threat of COVID-19 still looming large for children under the age of 12, and run-of-the-mill colds and flus still circulating in the population, many parents are thinking about natural ways to boost their kids’ immunity for back to school. Here are four ways to do it naturally.
Eat a balanced diet
Vitamins C and E, zinc and iron are among the top nutrients the body needs to keep the immune system functional at its peak. Make sure kids are getting enough of these vitamins and minerals as they begin returning to in-person school to help boost their immunity.
Think outside the usual suspects when adding immune-boosting foods. While citrus is always a top pick, other foods high in vitamin C are peppers, strawberries and broccoli. Although meat and fish are high in zinc, so are nuts, seeds and beans. Getting several of all of these foods in kids’ diets every day will help increase back-to-school immunity.
Add probiotic foods
Research suggests that a strong immune system begins in the gut. Bodies that are full of beneficial probiotic bacteria are better able to respond to pathogens that enter the body and fight them off.
For this reason, parents looking to boost kids’ immunity for back to school should consider adding probiotic foods to their diet. Yogurt (try to find varieties without too much sugar), kefir, pickles and tempeh are kid-friendly foods that feature probiotic bacteria. If picky eaters turn up their noses at all these foods, there are also probiotic supplements for children.
Try multi-vitamins or other supplements
Though medical professional urge people to improve their diet rather than relying on supplements for their nutritional needs, adding a multi-vitamin can be a good way to ensure kids are getting all of the nutrients they need to boost their immunity as they head back to school.
Get enough sleep
Getting enough Zzs makes children better able to learn their ABCs—and less likely to get sick. When you sleep, the body releases compounds called cytokines that help it fight infections. Sleep also helps improve mental health and lower stress, both of which can also have an effect on the immune system.
As kids return to in-person school, make sure they get enough sleep for their age. Besides keeping them from getting cranky, it will help boost their immunity.