Back-to-school means back to duking it out with the cesspool of germs in every schoolyard or office block hallway.
Here are our five favourite tips to get you and your family fighting fit for the cooler (and wetter) weather ahead.
Vitamin D pills
5. Vitamin D
Vitamin D can help your whole family keep their energy up for the long work/school days ahead – and it could also help maintain your immune system (and mood!) as the days get darker.
Parents could use the extra energy boost for that early morning school run, and it might also help prevent back-to-school colds for your kids.
Because it’s so necessary, our bodies actually produce it – but only in sunlight.
So as autumn arrives, we need to supplement our own supply.
Start taking more Vitamin D now and keep taking it through the winter for long-lasting benefits.
4. Fish oils
The jack-of-all-trades for natural remedies, some claim that fish oils help with everything from cancer to depression.
There is some evidence that the omega-3 fatty acids in fish oils do help with many different conditions, including heart disease, ADHD, and bipolar disorder.
Because fish oil can reduce inflammation, taking it long-term can also help with symptoms of arthritis for older family members – especially useful as the weather worsens.
The oil can be taken daily by the spoonful or in a capsule form for a more palatable experience.
Combine this with the previous remedy and take cod liver oil for all the fishy benefits plus vitamins A and D!
The myriad advantages of probiotics are still being discovered.
But there’s no doubt that these good bacteria work hand in hand with your immune system – most of which is contained in or around the gut.
A healthy gut flora prevents bad bacteria from gaining a stronghold and wreaking havoc in your body, and it can even lift your mood and energy.
Although there are supplements out there, natural yoghurts containing active live cultures of Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacteria work well for both adults and children.
Fermented foods such as kimchi, kombucha and sauerkraut are other favourites – but the strong flavours might put off the kids!
Try taking probiotics with fiber-rich foods to help feed your new bacteria friends.
This remedy comes from Ayurvedic medicine.
Ashwagandha is a small Indian shrub cultivated purely for its medicinal benefits.
Although clinical trials are somewhat inconclusive, it is commonly used to reduce stress and anxiety and regulate energy levels.
There is also some evidence that it can help lower blood sugar as well as improve symptoms for those suffering from ADHD, OCD, or bipolar disorder.
Suitable for adults and college-aged students, it may help with exam and study stress, or simply the stress of daily working life.
And the effects of chronic stress on the immune system are well documented.
1. Vitamin C
Yep, good old fashioned Vitamin C really is your best bet for a great immune boost!
Thought to increase production of white blood cells, our bodies actually need a lot of vitamin C to maintain a healthy immune system – and it’s water soluble, so we can’t have too much.
You might be surprised to learn that bell peppers contain more vitamin C than citrus fruit – about two times as much!
And many other fruits and veggies also have high levels of this vitamin, like spinach, kale, and kiwi.
But there are also plenty of supplements out there to make sure you’re getting the most from your diet.
Kids will probably prefer oral sprays or gummy candy vitamins to pills, and let’s face it – adults will too.
Take some if you’re feeling run down or as part of an every day multivitamin and just see what those white blood cells can do!