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Top 5 Back-to-School Immune-Boosting Strategies:

It’s September, which means that it’s time for the children to go back to school. Any parent that has sent their child off to school for a year of learning, growing, and exploring also knows that they’re in for a year of sneezes, coughs, and other afflictions of a low immune system.

There is often a surge of the sniffles at the beginning of the school year. Whether it’s because the children suddenly need to get up early every morning and are deprived of sleep; going from the cooling fall weather from the hot summer; or they’re feeling confronted by the sudden stress of the classroom’s structure – September creates a need for healthy immune systems in both your children and yourself.

Below are five strategies that will help you and your children boost your immune system so that their return to school is free from trips to the nurse’s office.

1. Eat cruciferous and root veggies

Cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage contain isothiocynates, which help to build the immune system and contain high volumes of vitamin C and other nutrients. Root vegetables – like carrots and yams – contain carotenoids, which are a yellow or orange pigment that are a significant source of vitamin A and antioxidants. They also help to boost the immune system.

Broccoli provides the highest concentration of disease-busting carotenoids. These carotenoids break down in the body to form vitamin A, which helps the proteins that regulate cell-to-cell communication, the foundation of the immune system. Studies have suggested that vitamin A may help keep the respiratory system healthy, which is especially helpful when you have a cold or the flu. So bring on the broccoli for its immune-enhancing benefits!

2. An immune-boosting broth

Cook up a broth of shiitake mushrooms, any kind of seaweed, cabbage, any type of squash, carrots, fresh ginger, oregano, and onion in chicken stock. Shiitake mushrooms (which if dried must first be soaked) contain polysaccharides, sterols, and coumarin, as well as vitamins and minerals that increase your immune function. Seaweed cleanses the body, cabbage has cruciferous properties, ginger supports healthy digestion, and the remaining ingredients promote general health and well-being. If you eat this broth every other day, you will benefit from a strong and healthy immune system.

3. Tap into the power of herbs

Herbs are plants that possess healing powers, and many can be used for prevention and relief from illnesses such as back-to-school colds. The Chinese have traditionally used astragalus, a potent immune booster, and adaptagen in a formula called “Immunity” during the cold season to stay healthy. For temporary relief of symptoms after catching a cold, try honeysuckle, kudzu root, and burdock fruit, part of the traditional Chinese Cold and Flu formula. You can find these and other formulas at The Wellness Store or online at www.taostar.com

4. Avoid sugar

The processed and refined sugars found in beverages, candies, cookies, cakes, and other types of junk food take a toll on the body’s ability to process and digest, which taxes the immune system. Gradually work more dried fruits and natural sources of sweetness into you and your children’s daily diet to promote a more active and functional immune system.

5. Play 30 mins of active games daily

Exercise is found to promote general wellness and health, and it is essential for maintaining the immune system. Find a high-energy activity to do with your child for thirty minutes each day, whether it’s going for a soccer ball kick in the backyard after school or even just wrestling downstairs in the den. This will not only promote the immune function of both you and your children, but may evolve into an enjoyable family ritual as well.

I hope you will take these tips so that your family enjoys a happy and healthy autumn.

May you Live Long, Live Strong, and Live Happy!

Dr. Mao Shing Ni, best known as Dr. Mao, is a bestselling author, doctor of Oriental Medicine and board certified anti-aging expert. He practices acupuncture, nutrition, and Chinese medicine with his associates at the Tao of Wellness in Santa Monica, a Wellness Medicine group that won the “L.A.’s Best” Award. Dr. Mao and his brother, Dr. Daoshing Ni founded Tao of Wellness in Santa Monica over 25 years ago. In addition, he is the cofounder and Chancellor of Yo San University in Venice/Marina del Rey. To subscribe to a free newsletter please visit www.taoofwellness.com To make an appointment for evaluation and treatment please call 310.917.2200 or you can email Dr. Mao at contact@taoofwellness.com

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