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Natural Awakenings North Central New Jersey

Back to School: An A+ in Health!

Jul 28, 2012 09:52AM ● By Melissa Gagne, ND

As summer winds down and fall approaches, back-to-school preparations begin. We’re used topurchasing new clothes, school supplies, and “to-go” lunch treats for our kids, but are we keeping our children’s health in mind when we consider back-to-school essentials? Choosing nutrient-dense foods, promoting good hygiene, and providing supplementation with various immune-boosting nutrients are the best ways to promote health and wellness as our kids’ enter a new school year.

 Good nutrition is essential to boost and strengthenthe immune system, and fresh fruits and vegetables are great immune boosters. Focus on those highest in vitamin C such as mango, strawberries, oranges, kale and green peppers. Foods rich in vitamin D, such as mushrooms, dairy products, and lean meat, are also potent immune boosters. Choose organic products whenever possible. To ward off colds and sniffles, make sure to provide children with foods high in vitamin A (a natural antiviral) such as cantaloupe, mango, tomatoes, kale, carrots, and spinach. Avoid sending kids off to school with processed foods or foods high in sugar, since they suppress the immune system and leave then susceptible to many pathogens.

 Promote good hygiene by making sure your kids wash their hands with soap and water—it’s a simple routine that goes a long way toward preventing the transmission of germs. Avoid hand sanitizers with alcohol bases as they can be harsh to kids’ sensitive skin. Hand sanitizers with herbal bases are better, but even these should be used sparingly, and only when soap and water are not available. Avoid antibacterial soaps, as they contain harmful substances including triclosan, fragrance, and FD&C colors and have also been implicated in creating bacterial resistance and killing the “good” bacteria defenses.

 Supplements such as elderberry syrup, echinacea, ginger, mullein, and probiotics will help prevent viruses and bacterial infections, while chamomile, lemon balm, and fennel aid the digestive system. With a healthy diet and natural supplementation, your kids can start off the school year in the best possible health!

 For more ways to keep kids fit and healthy, call Denville Medical at 973-627-7888 or visit

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