Continuing our conversation with our Toronto naturopath Dr. Julia Segal from last week, we are discussing tips to prepare kids for back to school. If you missed the first half of this post, you can catch it here.
Regular exercise is not only stress-busting, it also reduces the severity of covid-19 infection according to preliminary studies. Getting outside to give your children plenty of chances to move their bodies is a fun way to get exercise. Hikes and walks together with your children, riding bikes, sports and games together are going to benefit everyone in the family and are vital for kids. Come winter, being outside regularly (bundled up appropriately of course), helps the body adapt to the change of season and is STILL best for everyone.
In a study of countries in Europe, those countries with high levels of consumption of traditional fermented vegetable foods were found to have low mortality rates from covid-19. Even though this is just a correlation, the difference was great: for every gram per day increase in the average national consumption of fermented vegetables, the risk for covid-19 mortality fell by 35.4%. Sauerkraut, pickles, kimchi and other fermented vegetables are a great way to start the day – including them right at breakfast is great for digestion as well as starting off on the right foot. Kids love the sour crunch (especially if they’re not comparing it to a sugary cereal). In addition, just eating whole foods instead of processed foods is a solid approach to helping children get what they need for immunity as well as mood and learning. Avoid boxed, bagged and industrially shaped foods as much as possible (these should be thought of as treats to have after food occasionally, not as nourishment itself).
Having low levels of vitamin D in the blood is extremely common at all ages, during much of the year. Studies have found that low plasma vitamin D is associated with increased risk of covid-19 infection as well as hospitalization. Give your kids, and everyone for that matter, their vitamin D daily, and consider getting your levels as well as older kids’ levels, tested.
Zinc supplements taken at the onset of the common cold (also a viral illness) was found to reduce the duration and severity of the infection. There are multiple known mechanisms by which zinc is essential for every part of the immune system’s functions, as well as having direct anti-viral effects. Many whole foods are rich in zinc, including high quality meats, pumpkin seeds, spinach, mushroom, chickpeas, cashews, and even cocoa!
Vitamin C supplementation has been found to cut the duration of the common cold. Good to know in a world where kids can’t go to school when they have symptoms!
There are other tools in the naturopathic tool belt, from herbal medicines to humidifiers. Here’s wishing parents and children a healthy start to the school year, no matter how you’re choosing to do it.