We are all preparing for our families to go back to school this month. Some are staying in for ‘at home learning’ and some will be going back into classrooms. This year let’s stay on top of your family’s health. There are some simple things to add to your routine that can keep you healthy during this cold and flu season.
1. Get to bed earlier. I understand it is difficult to get kids to sleep with the sun still up but adequate sleep is essential for our immune systems. Under quarantine many people fell out of their natural sleep rhythms and stayed up to the wee hours of the morning. Getting out of your healthy circadian rhythm is hard on your hormonal system and immune system. Try to get to bed earlier as we head into the fall.
2. Cook at home and make it fresh. It’s harvest time at local farms in your area and there is no better time to eliminate processed foods from your diet. Prepping on the weekend for a busy week can make a big difference in the meals you can provide. Make sure kids are getting enough protein at breakfast and lunch to focus on school. Save the higher carbs for snacks and dessert.
3. Get sunlight each day. Your melatonin and vitamin D levels will improve with some time each morning in natural sunlight.
4. Invest in blue light blocking glasses for online zoom calls or google classroom. Even if your children are attending school most kids spend hours on screens each day. We have partnered with BluBlox blue blocking glasses. You are welcome to use code PRATT15 for a 15% discount on your order. BluBlox glasses cut down on headaches, eye strain, and fatigue when you or your family are stuck on a screens during the school/workday.
5. I suggest everyone get a vitamin D and vitamin A tested this time of year. I often find that although my patients spend a lot of time in the sun, their vitamin D levels are still not adequate. Many of us need supplemental vitamin D and vitamin A during the winter months and it is important to know what your levels are before cold and flu season. The current virus severity seems associated with vitamin D and glutathione status. Talk to your doctor before you supplement with any nutrient to make sure it is right for you.
6. After you clean up your diet by eating unprocessed fresh food, consider adding high nutrient foods and supplements to help your immune and gastrointestinal systems.
- SBI Protect (bovine derived immunoglobulins) is a wonderful way to support you against viruses and can help your immune system regulate itself.
- Eat high zinc foods like pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, hemp seeds, legumes, almonds, pine nuts, and dark chocolate. If you have been taking zinc on a regular basis it might be a good time to check that on regular blood work too. Getting too much zinc can deplete you of another essential nutrient called copper.
- Increase prebiotics in your diet. Prebiotics are foods that feed your good bacteria. Foods that are good for your gut bacteria are: apples, asparagus, banana, dandelion greens, onion, jicama root, chicory root, Jerusalem artichoke, leeks and garlic. (Careful to eat prebiotics if you have Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth)
- Consider growing your own broccoli sprouts. These little powerhouses can increase your master antioxidant. Glutathione is essential to your immune and inflammatory response. You can take the supplemental formula of glutathione too.
- Try to avoid sugar, caffeine, and alcohol to help your immune system stay strong. You may want to add some liver support with dry skin brushing, castor oil packs or supplements. Ask your doctor what would be right for you.
- Ask your doctor for a good probiotic. These are the beneficial bacteria that help your immune system.
7. Consider investing in a good air filtration system. I suggest Austin Air Systems. They can remove 95% of microbes (virus, bacteria, and mold) out of your indoor air. Our homes have some of the worst air quality and we want to make sure we are breathing fresh air while we work and attend school. Our office has 12-15% discounts on the Austin Air Systems. Please reach out to my office to get more information.
8. Stock up on supplements to strengthen your family’s immune systems heading into the school season. My TOP 5 Recommendations for the coming school year: 1) SBI Protect, 2) MegaSporebiotic, 3) Everyday Nutrients, 4) Vitamin D3 (2000 or 5000), and 5) Glutathione (liposomal or caps). Be sure to call our office and ask about our Back to School recommendations.
As we go into the fall, adapting a healthy lifestyle and supporting your immune system is a great commitment to your health and the health of others. Let us know if you need any of the recommended testing, supplements or if you would like to re-evaluate your health program. If you have questions or get sick, I am here to help. Please let us know how to support you.
Dr. Shelese Pratt, N.D.