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Healthy kids mean a happy mom and dad. Part of growing up is getting sick and strengthening your immune system. In fact, if we didn't actually get sick we would not challenge and teach our immune system to fight off that cold. I often hear parents getting a little obsessive over cleanliness, so if you are one of those parents, rest assured it's totally okay NOT to use strong cleaners and instead, focus on prevention and keeping your kids healthy.
"A FULLY FUNCTIONING IMMUNE SYSTEM is what keeps your children healthy", says Alan Greene, M.D. and author who recommends these strategies for healthy kids.
Skip the Antibacterial Soap and Kitchen Sprays
Did you know that studies prove antibacterial soaps that contain harsh chemicals and potential hormone disrupters are NO MORE effective than good ol' fashioned hand soap? In fact, according to a 2006 study by Southern Illinois University, concluded that children who use antibacterial soap actually get sick MORE often, than children who do not. I have noticed whenever I use antibacterial soap my skin gets dry, flaky and cracks because it is so harsh, it is literally peeling my skin off. For years, I was told I had eczema and given various prescription creams for my hands as a child. When I switched to regular soap, my hands were like silk and my so-called eczema cleared up.
Make sure your kids get to bed early
M.D. Alan Greene advises (and studies suggest it too) that toddlers and preschoolers need about 12 hours of sleep per day with one nap; school-age children need 10 hours and preteens and teens - just 9. Late bedtimes leave kids vulnerable to infection. In addition to this, I have heard parents say a million that's their kids get a little "zangy/hyper" when they are sleep-deprived. Sleep is important for brain development and growing bones.
Punchy Powerful Probiotics
There are many scientific studies published that prove the power of probiotics in boosting immunity. In fact, 60% of your immune system is in your digestive tract! Give your kids active culture yogurt and kefir to prevent stomach aches, diarrhea, constipation, food allergies, eczema and respiratory problems. Choose from great brands like Organic Meadow and Liberty. Kefir is fermented yogurt that is bursting with beneficial bacteria like lactobacillus acidophilus and your kids will love it because it's tastes sweet and delicious. You can even give probiotic supplements safely to babies. One of my first blogs I ever wrote was on the benefits of probiotics - check it out here.
Think About Zinc
The Journal of Pediatrics advises that zinc is a very important mineral for boosting immunity and preventing infection, diarrhea and pneumonia. Make sure your child's diet includes foods like organic yogurt, peas and organic beef.
Eat well, to live well!
Photo credit: TomyWang