5 routines to implement NOW for immune support
Back to school looks a little different for everyone this year. Whether you anticipate distance learning, homeschooling, or sending kids to school with or without masks, some needs do not change. For example: The need to take care of our family’s general health for immune support and quality learning.
I don’t know about you, but it’s been a bit of the Wild West at our house this summer. After distance learning at home from March through May, we were ready for a bit of a break from rules. ️
❕ Let’s just take this moment to say a big thank you teachers for what you do every single day! We parents have a whole new level of respect for you. ❕
When summer break officially began, we lived our best life: late nights, bike rides, snacks, popsicles, movie nights, fun with water, baking, camping, and so much more. Now that August is here, we are ready to begin with some routines to benefit the whole self. These routines support the immune system and set students up for successful learning, however that may look.
The immune system is complex, intricate, and works throughout the entire body. It utilizes systems already in place which requires balance and communication between the systems. Integumentary System – Skin is one of the most important contributors to the immune system. It provides a physical barrier to the outside world. Immune cells are found in some layers of skin as well.
Circulatory System – Blood vessels are a primary transport for certain types of immune cells throughout the body.
Lymphatic System – This network of vessels, nodes, lymph, spleen, and thymus serve as a transport and communication hub of the body.
Skeletal System – Bone marrow contains stem cells that can develop into a variety of cell type including the variety of white blood cells.
The best way to be a supportive host is to implement a healthy lifestyle. Give grace to your family and yourself in striving for balance. Looking ahead to school, here are a few ways to support the whole body:
1. Make sleep a priority
Committing to a regular bed time several weeks before school begins is the first step to skip the first day of school craziness. The first few nights can be difficult, but reading quietly in your bedroom can be helpful in transition as well as gradually moving up bedtime by 10 – 15 minutes a night.
The second part to this routine is committing to a regular wake-up time, preferably close to the time kids will get up on a regular school day. This helps circadian rhythms to transition to a new schedule.
2. Eat healthfully
Backyard BBQs and summer vacation can take a toll on eating habits. Take advantage of the late summer bounty to try some new recipes with the seasonal fruits and veggies. Entegro Health is located in Iowa, so there is no shortage of fresh veggies for sale at the farmer’s market every day of the week. Support your neighbor and support your health all in one meal! Involving kids in the recipe selection and preparation process can improve buy-in when it comes time to eat. A diverse diet provides the diverse nutrients and fiber needed by the body.
3. Stay hydrated
The human body is composed of 55 – 75% water, depending on age. Cellular homeostasis is dependent on adequate hydration. Without sufficient water intake, many chemical reactions are affected, which can have a trickle-down effect on the body.
The recommended water consumption is half of your body weight (in pounds) in fluid ounces. For example, if you weigh 160 pounds, you should make it a goal to consume at least 80 ounces of water daily.
4. Avoid infections – review hand washing
The best way to avoid infection is to avoid being infected in the first place! Simply reviewing hand hygiene and avoiding face and eye touching can do a world of good.
5. Take care of your gut
Your microbiome and immune system interact with each other regularly through the mucosal lining of the gut. This partnership is involved in the regulation of the immune system. A diet high in fiber and fermented foods promotes a diverse and happy gut. Kids don’t like the funk of fermented foods? Flourish is a simple way to add eleven strains of beneficial bacteria to their bellies daily. The recommended daily dose for children is just 1-2 ml per year of age!
When implementing these new grooves to life, adding one new routine every 2-3 days allows some time to adjust. Splitting a big job into smaller pieces is helpful for both kids and adults alike. These healthy steps are synergistic – while each concept is great on its own, they make an even greater difference when combined together.
Here’s to a great school year, in whatever form it may take on your journey!
Popkin, B. M., D’anci, K. E., & Rosenberg, I. H. (2010). Water, hydration, and health. Nutrition Reviews, 68(8), 439-458. doi:10.1111/j.1753-4887.2010.00304.x
Written by Lorilyn VanDyke, Entegro Health