Thoughtful Parenting: Staying healthy naturally
For Steamboat Pilot & Today
What a year it has been. When we are stressed by life, our immune system also becomes stressed. There has never been a better time to learn more about how to keep your family healthy and happy.
Here are some simple strategies for staying healthy.
Plenty of time outside
Vitamin D, which our skin makes from the sun’s rays, helps to activate our immune system. Fifteen minutes of exposure between the hours of 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. between spring and fall equinox every day will give you enough Vitamin D for the year. Sunscreen does inhibit vitamin D production, so it’s good to have 15 minutes daily of direct exposure to the sun without sunscreen.
Eating a whole foods diet
Eat the rainbow. Kids love to help in the kitchen when we make it fun. What colors of the rainbow have we eaten this week? What colors do we still need to eat? The more colors, the more range of vitamins and minerals we will get. Also be sure to eat well-cooked food, like grandma made. Cook those greens, and you will get more bang for your buck. Shop the outside aisles at the grocery store: the fresh vegetables, meats and dairy. The less ingredients and the less processed your food, the more vitamins and minerals.
Exercising regularly can strengthen your immune system by increasing blood flow, reducing stress and inflammation and strengthening antibodies. Step away from the screen and move your body. We are fond of dance parties at our house.
When we smile, our immune system is activated. The natural killer cells and antibodies increase. Also dopamine levels rise which activate certain parts of our immune system. We recently took out a couple joke books from the library and the whole family has been laughing more.
A daily tea is a great way to introduce herbs to children. Tulsi is a mint that helps to build the immune system. We like to drink it most days mixed with other herbs like chamomile, peppermint or lemon balm. Elderberry syrup, a teaspoon a day, is another immune system strengthener, and it is safe from cradle to grave.
I hope that you have found this helpful. Later in the year, look for an article here on ways to counter illness that may come up in your family this winter. Until then, smile more.
Astrid Grove is a midwife with Birthroot Midwifery.
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